A few days ago, a wave of new subscribers came rolling in, for which I am grateful, even though I don’t know if they’re here to learn more and digest a heterodox lefty viewpoint or to keep tabs on an apostate. Either way: Welcome!
If you don’t yet know, this column is directed at liberal folks who are poorly educated by our own media about the science of gender-affirming care and how best to support gender dysphoric youth. I embrace readers and subscribers of all political stripes (as long as you don’t call me names), but after spending a year trying to get these stories in the mainstream and liberal media, to very little success, I retreated to the wilds of Substack so I could publish the reasonable, nuanced pieces rejected by places that once regularly took my work. My goal was to fill in the gargantuan gaps in data and stories that The New York Times, The Washington Post and others had left (despite my constantly pitching them), so liberals could be properly and accurately informed.
Apparently some new readers have arrived here because a piece I wrote recently was obliquely referred to in an amicus brief, filed by 15 [red] states in support of Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming care—that is, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries for gender dysphoric minors.
I have said multiple times that I am, in general, anti-ban. I prefer the government not dictate what kinds of healthcare individuals can partake of and am staunchly pro-choice—and horrified by the prospect of further erosions of rights intimated by the Supreme Court leak. I’m in favor of socialized medicine. Gay marriage? A resounding yes. Though I encourage bipartisan support of reforming the approach to treating gender dysphoria, I hold few views that could be considered conservative, and I would like the medical and mental health communities and organizations to step up and review the evidence and listen to those who’ve been hurt (as well as helped) and shift policy. The left is usually the pro-regulation party, but they want no restraints on what they call gender-affirming care, and clearly the industry can’t self-regulate. The bans, I believe, are a reaction to this.
In theory, being tagged in such an amicus brief caused me some amicus grief. But then I started to read it and, guess what? It’s factually accurate. It’s quoting the few nuanced pieces in the Post—see this one by Corinna Cohn—and the Times. It’s talking about the exponential rise in cases, especially among teenage girls, the lack of careful evaluation, the systemic reviews in European nations that caused them to dramatically pull back on these medical interventions and shift policy. It’s stating…facts. And it concludes with a version of a thought I often have: “Plaintiffs and their allies are more concerned with politics than making an objective assessment of what is best for Alabama’s vulnerable young people.”
But I would apply that to the right, too. The Republicans may have the facts straight, but I don’t like what some of them are doing with them. Going after parents, criminalizing practitioners—that won’t help us arrive at a humane response to the exponential increase in young people with gender dysphoria. That won’t create an environment in which people feel safe enough to admit that some things are going wrong.