Jesse Singal’s piece about “detransitioners” was both well-reported and empathetic — so why is he being attacked?
Singal speaks with Laura Edwards-Leeper, a psychologist who runs Pacific University and Oregon’s Transgender Clinic and trains clinical-psychology doctoral students to conduct “readiness assessments” for young people who want to transition, but who has been challenged simply for doing assessments at all, which trans activists and families of so-called trans kids claim is “traumatizing.” Edwards-Leeper facilitates transitioning for kids, including putting them on puberty blockers when deemed appropriate, but still worries that the field is moving to a place where “we’re maybe not looking as critically at the issues as we should be.”
Singal also interviews clinicians who support the “affirming care” model (including the medical director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development, who rejects mental health assessments when determining whether kids should begin transition, saying, “I don’t send someone to a therapist when I’m going to start them on insulin”), as well as trans activists who believe the “detransitioners” narrative makes it more difficult for trans-identified people to access the services they want.
Though well-reported, the piece itself was not particularly hard-hitting. The idea that kids might change their mind about a trend that is very clearly rooted in the existence of rigid notions about differences in boys’ and girls’ personalities and preferences, as well as the challenges girls face when they go through puberty in a world wherein they are objectified, is common sense. Nonetheless, Singal has been attacked viciously online as “dangerous” and “transphobic.”