The Atlantic

The Loaded Language Shaping the Trans Conversation

To focus on “desisters”—people who experience gender dysphoria and then ultimately decide not to transition—is to focus on the rarest of cases, and to ignore the vastly more common experience of trans teens: that of being second-guessed.
Source: Roy Madhur / Reuters

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of responses to Jesse Singal’s Atlantic article, “When Children Say They’re Trans.”

It’s a scene I know well: the awkward first moments when I’ve just stepped into a stranger’s house. Looking around, taking in the family portraits, the furniture, the smells, placating the family dog. The handshakes and offers of coffee or water. The first, tentative moment of introduction to the young person who knows she’s about to be asked all kinds of personal questions about her identity and desires. Who knows that, at some point, she will leave the room and her parents will tell a stranger all about her childhood, her gender development, how they feel about how she looks, what she likes to play with or do, who she is. In my fantasy, the journalist Jesse Singal felt similarlycover story, “.” Claire, a gender-nonconforming child, for a time considers transitioning before deciding against it. (Claire is a pseudonym used in the article.) She is young, still living at home. Her life stretches before her, and we, the readers, are left to make sense of what she’s said.

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