Oh Brother

A misleading study claims that transness is just a phase. Trans folks beg to differ.

The Daily Mail has never been the most truthful publication on record, and we’re used to taking the news they put out with a large grain of salt.

But there are levels of untruthfulness—there are the kind of exaggerations that are silly and fun, and then there are the politically-motivated, hate-soaked lies that cloak themselves in plausibility just to sow terror amidst the ignorant. And that, my friends, is exactly what the Daily Mail is peddling this week with the release of a “study” that has almost nothing to do with trans people.

Yesterday, the Daily Mail released an article that purports to summarize the results of a “landmark” transgender study over 20 years in the making. Those results, according to the Mail, show that almost 20% of trans kids “grow out of it” as they get older, contributing to the anti-trans view that transness is merely a phase to be grown out of and that for this reason, trans youth should be more aggressively gatekept from accessing gender-affirming care, including HRT.

Unfortunately, that study’s findings are deeply flawed for several reasons. Pointing out the inaccuracy of the report, trans reporter Erin Reed explained that the study in question didn’t discriminate between kids who identify as trans, kids who have strong opinions about gender but identify as cis, and kids who identify as gender non-conforming but do not identify as transgender.

You may be saying: “okay, but how does that invalidate this study’s findings?” Well, let’s get into it. We’ll begin at the beginning, with the headline. As the article plainly states, this is not a study about trans kids, but instead “gender-confused” kids, which covers a wide variety of identities that could fall under and outside of the trans umbrella. Kids who identified as tomboys and had any kind of non-traditional relationship to their gender were also included—which means that yes, that research pool was pretty useless.

As Reed explained, drawing from a pool of kids who express “gender discontentedness” is wildly non-specific. For instance—discontentedness around whose gender? Their own, or someone else’s? The study—which began in the Netherlands over 20 years ago—was flawed to begin with, basing its findings on definitions that have become, in the intervening two decades, obsolete or inaccurate.

Most important of all, the majority of the children studied never identified as transgender then or now.

It’s not surprising—The Daily Mail has staked out their territory as the UK’s leading source of TERF propaganda for quite some time now, and they’re constantly trying to use trans lives as exploitative content to stoke fear in the hearts of the ignorant. Kind of like the New York Times Opinion section does here!

But everyone agrees that even for the Mail, this is pretty bad.

Bigots will take any excuse to try and pretend that we’re unnatural and somehow anti-science simply for existing.

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