Does anyone have advice for how to discuss trans issues with well-meaning but not fully informed family or friends (w/o sounding conspiratorial or condescending)?

I live in a progressive state/city and the politics of “trans rights” are exactly what one would expect. I suspect the majority of folks aren’t well-informed on the merits and minutiae of trans healthcare, but rather identify as supporters of the LGBTQ+ community and view any modicum of concern r/t trans issues as rooted in bigotry and transphobia. It’s challenging to air concerns (when the topic is brought up) without having others view you as a transphobe / conspiracy theorist on the issue.

I’m a gay man whose politics on most issues fit neatly in the center left. I firmly believe in equal rights for trans adults in terms of housing, employment, broad anti-discrimination protections, and access to medical care. I don’t think the rights & safety of women and trans people are in tension, save for a few noteworthy areas (sports, certain sex-segregated spaces, etc.). So I think people are surprised when I voice concerns about the negative ramifications of trans activism for LGB people, the reality of biological sex differences, or pretty much every aspect of trans / gender stuff as it relates to minors (ex: I don’t think any of this stuff needs to be taught in schools, and I do think parents should be able to opt out of much of these lessons; I don’t think kids should be getting medical treatment; I don’t think ROGD should be dismissed out of hand; etc etc).

Basically wondering if anyone has figured out how to talk about these things (from the perspective of someone with my views) in a way that people are receptive to?

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Aug 28, 2023·edited Aug 28, 2023

Lots of great information is now available online regarding trans ideology and how this belief system affects children, women’s rights, gay and lesbian rights, sports, prisons, safeguarding the vulnerable, etc. Much more so than the 3+ years ago when we started this nausea inducing journey.

Things have settled into “a new normal”. By most measures our daughter seems to be doing well. Who knows if she’ll desist. As a practical matter, what does that explicitly mean? Does she have to reject trans ideology? Or just stop pretending she’s not a girl?

Now, the hardest part for me personally has been losing my tribe.

This whole reality-denying nonsense has had a profound silencing effect on dissenters from the left. We are the apostate. Those of us who have voted in lockstep for Democrats for decades and declared loudly and proudly that we are liberals and still hold classical liberal values now have no home; it is unexpectedly disorienting and profoundly painful. We fear social ostracization, and saying we don’t (or shouldn’t) care doesn’t make us any less lonely.

It sounds superficial compared to what our kids are going through, and our kids remain our number one concern. I’m only writing this so other parents experiencing this will feel less alone. Recently, I read two authors who helped me voice these feelings. Maybe their writings will be helpful to you too.

Monica Harris’ article “Medium Censored My Article Defending the Rights of Women and Lesbians“ on Reality’s Last Stand spoke clearly to the phenomenon of losing one’s tribe.

Stella Morabito was interviewed on Jennifer Bilek’s substack “Defeating “Transgenderism” and Tyranny“ about her book, “The Weaponization of Loneliness” talks to the workings of propaganda.

My high school graduating class was 1984. Many teachers thought it would be clever if we read George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984”.

Life feels Orwellian now.

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Lisa, I want to thank you for opening up comments like this. Of many wonderful things you have accomplished with your Substack is gathering a community of really wonderful people with enormous insight and caring.

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Thank you Lisa, for opening the comments section for folks. I recently read a NYTimes food article that casually mentions anal sex. Bear with me, I have two daughters ages 12 and now 16 who were isolated during the pandemic, the older one was exposed to a group of girls (and one boy) who professed they were trans, and the younger one gained weight during the pandemic then became anorexic after being teased upon returning to in-person school. The older daughter “came out” in a scripted letter to us saying she was trans and wanted to cut off her breasts and please look at the cited resources including GLAAD and the Human Rights Project and now a year and a half after that the twelve year old (who still consumes TONS of influencer content--really, both girls are on unlimited social media/forums, etc., on the internet) is seeming to be trying to get on the trans train now too.

My issue in bringing up the NYTimes food article about Ozempic and psyllium and the little addition to the food article about anal sex, is that I feel our families are just inundated with sexual content and innuendo and that such content can spring up in some rather unexpected places, like an NYTimes food article. What is going on?


Please feel free to have a look (unless I guess if there’s a paywall :(

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All of the Wider Lens podcasts are good but this one I thought was particularly interesting. Ms Abbruzzese demonstrates the mismatch between the cohort studied in the Dutch Protocol and subsequent generations of trans people. We've been watching Dopesick and there's a parallel misuse of scientific studies in the opioid crisis.


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Aug 28, 2023·edited Aug 28, 2023

I hope I can be forgiven for posting links to Erin Reed, but it's a good way to keep up with what activists are doing and thinking....and Reed is a pretty clear writer, though sins of omissions/commissions abound. Anyway, here is this from her latest:

"California Republicans To Try Anti-Trans Ballot Initiatives - Prop 8 All Over Again?"


The article includes this:

"Gender affirming care is associated with a 73% reduction in suicidality and over 50 studies assembled by Cornell University show its benefits. "

That is the Tordoff study which Jesse Singal critques....and you should read it because that study is widely touted (Reed, of course, says nothing about the big shortcomings of that Tordoff study):

"Researchers Found Puberty Blockers And Hormones Didn’t Improve Trans Kids’ Mental Health At Their Clinic. Then They Published A Study Claiming The Opposite. (Updated)

A critique of Tordoff et al. (2022)"



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I was one of the people who asked for advice in the previous thread. Just wanted to thank you for allowing me to ask the question! The answers I got were super helpful. I did end up talking with the principal but unfortunately for now the books will remain in the classroom. I am glad that I spoke up though. Staying silent would have killed me! I used a lot of the talking points mentioned in the comments. Thanks again everyone!

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Does anyone have any ideas on how to pin down how many minors are having surgery in Canada?

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I'm in a back and forth about affirmation with the dean of my daughter's new school (she just entered their freshman class, and is being fully affirmed as a boy) and am trying to decide how to respond to what I perceive as an escalation in our dialogue. Responding to my politely worded concerns about gender ideology being taught as fact rather than as a belief system, the dean wrote:

"We aim to ensure that all of our students feel belonging at <SCHOOL NAME>. As experienced educators, we know that meeting our students where they are, promoting anti-discrimination, and affirming their identity and identity journey are best practices. Research shows that trans, non-binary, and LGBTQIA+ youth are at the highest risk of anxiety, depression, and suicide (see: NIH study, statistics from Trevor Project, U.S. National Survey, Guardian report). Protective factors include positive self-esteem, school belonging, family support, and peer support (see: U.S. Department of Education recommendations, APA recommendations, CDC study, mental health research study). As the statistics show, we are informed by research that using someone’s pronouns and honoring their identity is a form of suicide prevention. It’s worth reiterating that, as minors, students cannot pursue hormone treatment or medical transition without parental permission and oversight."

The dean's response is probably not surprising to anyone who has tried to make their concerns heard in a very progressive high school in a very progressive city but in conversations prior to this email exchange I had felt seen and heard. Would anyone like to offer suggestions for how to respond in a way that addresses the misinformation while also not escalating things further? I feel it is important to address the fact that she brought up suicide risk.

Links to "studies" she cited:

NIH study https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32345113/

statistics from Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/article/facts-about-lgbtq-youth-suicide/

U.S. National Survey: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/research-briefs/2022-u-s-national-survey-on-lgbtq-youth-mental-health-by-state-dec-2022/

Guardian report: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/dec/16/us-trans-non-binary-youth-suicide-mental-health

Links to what she referred to as "protective factors"

U.S. Department of Education recommendations: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/ed-factsheet-transgender-202106.pdf

APA recommendations: https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/programs/safe-supportive/lgbt/risk-factors.pdf

CDC study: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/disparities/protective-factors-for-lgbtq-youth.htm

mental health research study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s44184-023-00029-8.epdf

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FYI, in case you haven’t seen this, it’s an excellent interview with Erica Anderson. I appreciate Anderson’s ability to talk through all the issues calmly, but with absolutely clarity, and thought it a useful model for how to talk about these issues myself. https://www.foxnews.com/media/transgender-psychologist-hubris-blame-harmful-industry-standards-treatment-minors

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Aug 29, 2023·edited Aug 29, 2023

I'm in LA. The "drop me a line" link doesn't seem to work. @BelissaCohen

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