I’m old. Old enough to remember the 1980s and 1990s and early 2000s, when mainstream media largely ignored trans people.
I’m old enough to remember ye olde “transgender tipping point” in 2014, when the mainstream media suddenly acknowledged that trans people existed and patted themselves on the back for their increasing tolerance of us. At least for that brief moment in time.
I’m old enough to remember the early days of the anti-trans backlash (circa 2015–2019), when about once a month or so, some heterodox-identified writer would publish an article or op-ed suggesting that the whole “trans people (and especially trans kids) existing” thing was not such a good thing after all. In fact, it might even be downright bad! These pieces posed seemingly novel questions and raised seemingly novel concerns intended to raise readers’ suspicions if not outright incite moral panic. (I say “seemingly novel” here because, by and large, these were merely variants of older questions and concerns that had been debunked years ago — see e.g., my 2007 book Whipping Girl.)
Because it was early in the backlash, I (naively, in retrospect) penned thorough rebuttal pieces to these op-eds and articles in the hopes that they might clear up some of the confusion and debunk some of the disinformation. These rebuttals addressed a wide array of topics and anti-trans talking points, including: “biological sex”, “rushing kids into hormones & surgery”, desistance, detransition, “peer pressure”, social contagion, ROGD, AGP, “grooming”, public restrooms, “gay conversion & lesbian extinction”, trans people supposedly “reinforce gender stereotypes”, “concerned parents”, “feminists versus trans activists”, “trans activists censoring scientists”, trans people supposedly “canceling” famous people, and so on.
But today in 2023, as this relentless backlash continues unabated, I’m not just old. I am also tired. Tired of writing these rebuttals when it’s clear that many mainstream media editors couldn’t care less about the readily available facts and counter-arguments to anti-trans propaganda. I’m tired of writers continuing to consider themselves “heterodox” for writing pieces that [checks notes] fearmonger and smear a tiny marginalized community. Most of all, I’m tired of the fact that they keep “just asking questions” about the exact same topics and parroting the exact same talking points over and over and over again. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseam.
I mean, how the fuck am I supposed to respond to this morning’s latest high-profile op-ed: It’s Pamela Paul, in the New York Times, with the JK Rowling. It’s like the game of Clue: just a rotating mix of the same writers and media outlets and anti-trans talking points. What could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said — by me, other trans people and allies, and media critics — a thousand times over already?
So I’ve decided to respond by making the above Anti-Trans Op-Ed & News Story Bingo™ card. You should make one too and we’ll all play along! Because these writers and media outlets are a fucking joke. Not in a funny ha-ha kind of way (especially given that they are publishing their “trans-skeptical” think pieces amidst an all-out assault on trans rights, healthcare, and lives). By joke, I mean that they’re like “the one joke”: so astoundingly repetitive and unimaginative that they’ve become a fucking farce. And I’m laughing along! It’s pure gallows humor at this point.
So let’s play bingo and make memes, because their bullshit is literally not to be taken seriously…
This essay, and all of the anti-trans rebuttal essays linked herein, were made possible by my Patreon supporters — if you appreciate them, please consider supporting me there.