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Fading Out: Aging and Beyond RSS feed

Being trans in America

In three sections:

Being trans in America (Washington Post/KFF survey and series)

Whistleblower in a small gender clinic

More information, articles



The excellent Washington Post/KFF survey and series (2023)

Contributors: Casey Parks, Emily Guskin, Scott Clement, Annys Shin, Fenit Nirappil, Hannah Natanson, Tara Bahrampour, Laura Meckler, Anne Branigin.


Understanding Trans Identity in the U.S.

  Gender identity differs from sexual orientation.

    Many trans adults don't identify as a man or a woman.

     Most trans adults say transitioning helped them.

  Nearly 8 in 10 trans adults  (78%) say that living as a gender different from the one assigned to them at birth has made them "more satisfied" with their life, including 45% who say they are "a lot more satisfied."
Most trans adults say transitioning made them more satisfied with their lives 

The Washington Post and KFF surveyed one of the largest randomized samples of U.S. transgender adults to date about their childhoods, feelings and lives 
Voices of trans people in America: ‘I’ve always known I was different’

     Four trans people share their stories. With photos.

How historians are documenting the lives of transgender people (Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, 6-24-22) "The term “transgender” wasn’t coined until the 1960s—but people have always challenged the gender binary. Here’s a look at their history, from ancient civilizations to the modern rights movement. "In 1999, trans activist Monica Helms designed a symbol that would come to define a movement: the transgender pride flag. Using blue and pink stripes—colors with deep connections to gender assignment—the flag also featured a white stripe to represent people who are intersex, transitioning, or nonbinary."
•  6 key takeaways from the Post-KFF survey of transgender Americans

      Among them,

        1. Whether a trans person is out to family and friends depends on their age.

        4. Many transgender people knew they were trans from a young age.

        6. Most transgender adults say living as a gender different from the one assigned to them at birth improved their lives.

For trans people, medical visits can be more traumatizing than healing

        Trans patients share stories of subtle discrimination, outright hostility and ill-informed medical professionals

School is a ‘nightmare’ for trans and nonbinary kids. Here’s why.

      In a sweeping Washington Post-KFF poll, 45% of trans adults said school made them feel unsafe
Trans people have never been so visible — or so vulnerable
Six works that capture the complexity of being trans in America:

     'Both Sides Now' by Peyton Thomas; 'One From the Vaults'; 'Veneno'; 'Femme Queen Chronicles';'Big Dad Energy: A Trans-Masculine Comedy Showcase'; and 'Framing Agnes'
Most Americans support anti-trans policies favored by GOP

    Most adults say gender is based on sex assigned at birth. Most Americans say trans women and girls should not be allowed to compete in sports with other women and girls. Etc.
Trans lawmaker Brianna Titone tried not to stand out. Then a gunman killed 5 at Club Q

     This session, she wanted to do more than outvote the Republicans. She wanted to win them over, too.
Trans kids crave acceptance at school in a nation that often resists it

     They had sensed already that something was different about their own gender identity but didn't know what. "I didn't have the words for 'transgender' or 'nonbinary' or any of this."
In middle age, they realized they were trans: ‘A lightbulb went off’

     Roughly one-fifth of trans adults 45 and older have not told anyone they are trans, a Washington Post-KFF poll conducted late last year found
1 in 4 Transgender Adults Say They’ve Been Physically Attacked, New KFF/Washington Post Partnership Survey Finds

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Whistleblower in a small gender clinic

How a Small Gender Clinic Landed in a Political Storm (Azeen Ghorayshi, NY Times, 8-23-23) Washington University’s youth gender clinic in St. Louis, like others around the world, was overwhelmed by new patients and struggled to provide them with mental health care. "But as the number of these patients soared, the clinic became overwhelmed — and soon found itself at the center of a political storm. In February, Jamie Reed, a former case manager, went public with explosive allegations, claiming in a whistle-blower complaint that doctors at the clinic had hastily prescribed hormones with lasting effects to adolescents with pressing psychiatric problems."
      "The reality was more complex than what was portrayed by either side of the political battle, according to interviews with dozens of patients, parents, former employees and local health providers, as well as more than 300 pages of documents shared by Ms. Reed.

     "Some of Ms. Reed’s claims could not be confirmed, and at least one included factual inaccuracies. But others were corroborated, offering a rare glimpse into one of the 100 or so clinics in the United States that have been at the center of an intensifying fight over transgender rights.

     "The turmoil in St. Louis underscores one of the most challenging questions in gender care for young people today: How much psychological screening should adolescents receive before they begin gender treatments?"  This story about the controversy came out after The Free Press first broke the news.

I Thought I Was Saving Trans Kids. Now I’m Blowing the Whistle (Jamie Reed, The Free Press/TFP, 2-9-23)

[In 2018 Reed was a case manager at The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital, which had been established a year earlier.]

      "There are more than 100 pediatric gender clinics across the U.S. I worked at one. What’s happening to children is morally and medically appalling. By the time I departed, I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to “do no harm.”
      "At first, the patient population was tipped toward what used to be the 'traditional' instance of a child with gender dysphoria: a boy, often quite young, who wanted to present as—who wanted to be—a girl. Until 2015 or so, a very small number of these boys comprised the population of pediatric gender dysphoria cases. Then, across the Western world, there began to be a dramatic increase in a new population: Teenage girls, many with no previous history of gender distress, suddenly declared they were transgender and demanded immediate treatment with testosterone.
      "As the center’s website said, 'Left untreated, gender dysphoria has any number of consequences, from self-harm to suicide. But when you take away the gender dysphoria by allowing a child to be who he or she is, we’re noticing that goes away. The studies we have show these kids often wind up functioning psychosocially as well as or better than their peers.'   "There are no reliable studies showing this. Indeed, the experiences of many of the center’s patients prove how false these assertions are."
      "So many critics and media outlets tried to paint not just me but the entire issue of transgender youth as a showdown between the right and left. As a lifelong member of the left, a queer woman married to a transman, I’d clearly been brainwashed or paid off—or probably even both—by conservatives."

     Many of the following articles are linked to in this article.

Jamie Reed's letter to the Missouri Attorney General (1-26-23) 

Missouri AG officially probing ‘disturbing’ whistleblower claim that transgender clinic ‘harming hundreds’ of kids (Lee Brown, NY Post, 2-10-23)

Missouri Anti-trans "Whistleblower" Story Is a Manufactured Controversy - Point By Point (Erin Reed, Erin in the Morning, 2-10-23)

    Disputes Reed's points, one by one, concluding, "In fact, the findings around gender affirming care are so stunningly in favor of proceeding with that care that 29 major medical organizations representing hundreds of thousands of physicians have signed off to that care" (and lists them).

The Courage to Admit You’re Wrong (Jamie Reed, The Free Press, 12-31-23) Jamie Reed became a lightning rod in TFP after she blew the whistle about the mistreatment of minors at The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where she’d worked as a case manager for four years. Her revelations sparked an investigation of the clinic by the Missouri Attorney General, and this helped lead lawmakers in Missouri and other states to pass bans on gender transition of minors.

    "When I blew the whistle on a transgender clinic, some suggested I had been 'brainwashed by the right.'   "As a lifelong member of the left, a queer woman married to a transman, I'd clearly been brainwashed or paid off—or probably even both—by conservatives. I had a 'clear ideological bias.' No. I'm a progressive who follows science.

The Bigger Picture Continues – Denver, Colorado (Genspect, 7-11-23) Jamie Reed spoke at the first U.S. conference for Genspect, an organization that discourages gender transitioning of minors. See YouTube videos from that conference here



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More information, articles
What do I need to know about transitioning? (AARP fact sheet)
The Experiences, Challenges and Hopes of Transgender and Nonbinary U.S. Adults (Anna Brown, Juliana Menasce Horowitz, Kim Parker and Rachel Minkinn, Pew Research Center, 6-7-22) Findings from Pew Research Center focus groups.
Bathroom Bills Are Back — Broader and Stricter — In Several States (Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez, KFF Health News, 2-29-24) State lawmakers — predominantly in conservative, rural states — are resurrecting and expanding efforts to prohibit transgender people from using public restrooms and other spaces that match their gender. Some have sought to ban trans people from “sex-designated spaces,” including domestic violence shelters and crisis centers, which experts say could violate anti-discrimination laws and jeopardize federal funding.
This is me, as I am’: A photographer documents her own gender transition (Allison Lippy, National Geographic, 6-24-22) In 2015, Allison Lippy realized who she had always been—and turned her camera on herself to understand her journey as a transgender woman. Excellent photographs.
How historians are documenting the lives of transgender people(Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, 6-24-22)The term “transgender” wasn’t coined until the 1960s—but people have always challenged the gender binary. Here’s a look at their history, from ancient civilizations to the modern rights movement.
Transgender rights in the United States (Wikipedia entry, full of information and links) Marriage, parental rights, reproductive rights, identity documents (name change, birth certificates, cases, driver's licenses, passports, persons not born in the United States, third gender option, US jurisdictions with "gender X" driver's licences, death certificates), housing, genocide, government list of trans people, physical violence, sexual violence, displacement and sanctuary states, discrimination protections (employment, laws--federal, state and local, chart), cases, education (Main article: Gender identity under Title IX) (local school boards), employment, public factors (social media, politicians, media involvement, grooming conspiracy theory); restroom access (indecent exposure charges for restroom use, schools, workplace); Hate crimes legislation; Healthcare (treatment for adults, treatment for children, bans of gender-affirming healthcare for people under 18--chart, by states ), awareness of providers, discrimination, Catholic hospitals, "trans broken arm syndrome" (common form of discrimination), medical privacy, insurance; Prisoners' rights, V-coding; immigration; military; taxes; sports; Biden administration rule change; references.
What Is Gender Transitioning? (S. Nicole Lane, VeryWellHealth, 7-2-23) Gender transitioning, known more commonly today as gender affirmation, not only involves aesthetic appearances but may also involve changes in social roles, legal recognitions, or physical aspects of the body. Gender transitioning is often described as a binary (male or female) but can also be non-binary, meaning a person is neither strictly male nor female.
Transition Roadmap (UCSF Transgender Care)
Breaking the Silence: The Reality of De-Transitioning (YouTube video, NBCNews Spotlight, 9-11-23)
'I regret trusting' the doctors who pushed me to transition gender (YouTube video, Times Radio, 6-4-23)
Interim Report (The Cass Review, UK, Feb 2022) Children and young people with gender incongruence or dysphoria must receive the same standards of clinical care, assessment and treatment as every other child or young person accessing health services. 
       "The care of this group of children and young people is everyone’s business. Our initial work indicates that clinicians at all levels feel they have the transferable skills and commitment to support these children and young people, but there needs to be agreement and guidance about the appropriate clinical assessment process that should take place at primary, secondary and tertiary level, underpinned by better data and evidence.  At this stage the Review is not able to provide advice on the use of hormone treatments due to gaps in the evidence base. Recommendations will be developed as our research programme progresses."

Youth Access to Gender Affirming Care: The Federal and State Policy Landscape (Lindsey Dawson, Jennifer Kates, and MaryBeth Musumeci, KFF, 3-24-23)

     "Numerous states have implemented or considered actions aimed at limiting LGBTQ+ youth access to gender affirming health care. Four states (Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona) have recently enacted such restrictions (though the AL, AR, and TX laws all have been temporarily blocked by court rulings) and in 2022, 15 states are considering 25 similar pieces of legislation. At the same time, other states have adopted broad nondiscrimination health protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Separately, the Biden administration, which has been working to eliminate barriers and expand access to health care for LGBTQ+ people more generally, has come out against restrictive state policies. This analysis explores the current state and federal policy landscape regarding gender affirming services for youth and the implications of restrictive state laws."

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