Transgender issues

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Chaotic energy
Since this keeps coming up in unrelated discussions, I figured it was time for a thread where those discussions could be directed.

As this is a potentially thorny subject, and some people's definition of transphobia is far broader than the dictionary definition, I asked the moderators to weigh in so people would have a better idea of what was acceptable discussion in their eyes, and this was the response:
As for defining what is and isn't transphobic:
It's almost impossible to draw up a definitive list of what is and isn't transphobic. That would be almost guaranteed to overlook or poorly define a particular issue or piece of language, and would also act as a cheat sheet for anyone genuinely bigoted to be abusive while claiming they've done nothing wrong.

The rule, as ever, is that members read the rules and think carefully before posting, being aware that it's possible for posts that aren't openly abusive to be extremely inflammatory and provocative, or effectively promote a bigoted agenda.

The moderator team reserves the right to remove posts as needed

So...not a lot of clarity there. I'm hopeful that any discussion here will be thoughtful and done in good faith, and that the moderators will have the restraint to allow legitimate debate to happen without reflexively deleting any comments that deviate from current progressive dogma on the topic.

For the sake of reference, Webster's defines transphobia as "irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against transgender people", and their relevant definition of discrimination is "prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment". I think we can all agree that comments meeting those criteria should be unacceptable. But for legitimate discussion to happen, there is a lot of grey area between that line and the line of what would be considered non-controversial comments at a Pride event, and it needs to be OK to explore that without overzealous moderation.

@Vaenyr recently offered an informative post for people less familiar with this topic, the bulk of which I'll quote here for convenience:
Gender identity in humans forms around the ages of 2 to 5 and is something we feel very strongly about from the very beginning. Go to a little boy and call him a girl; see how he reacts. Queer kids exist and they often realize quite early that they are queer. It's also not a "trend" or a "fad" because we can look at the studies on transitioning and see that the vast majority of people who transition are happier afterwards. Furthermore, of the people who have expressed regret, the majority has said that they regretted because of the constant harassment and bigotry they received from friends, family, and strangers; not because of the transitioning itself.

Next, about the general process. It's not easy to transition. You don't just have a spur of the moment and change your whole life. It's a multi-year process that is guided by experts every step along the way. Now, every journey is unique, and there isn't one "correct" way to transition, but the following is in broad strokes what is recommended by experts (by the way, the medical consensus is pro-transitioning):

First step (since we're talking about minors) is social transitioning. That's stuff like letting them choose the hairstyle, clothes, pronouns and name that they prefer to use. All of this is immediately reversible since no long term changes are being done. If the youth realizes that they don't want to transition they can stop at any moment.

Next step are puberty blockers, which were developed for cis kids and have been used for them for literal decades. The studies that we have indicate that the benefits from puberty blockers far outweigh any potential negatives. Going through the "wrong" puberty is devastating and irreversible, while puberty blockers are mostly reversible. There's a reason why the suicide rate increases in trans youth who didn't have access to puberty blockers.

After that, when the person reaches adulthood, they can start Hormone Replacement Therapy and if they want they can also get surgeries. At this point the person has been transitioning for years and it is incredibly unlikely that they'd be unsure and regret their decision down the line. Don't forget that by now that person will have had countless evaluations and discussions with healthcare experts, so it's not as if a 5 year old says "I'm a girl!" and immediately gets his "dick cut off" or whatever crude generalization many transphobes are trying to hurl.

Before we finish up, let's remember that gender affirming care is something that isn't exclusive to trans people. Getting a hair transplant is gender affirming care (Dave had some work done, right?); getting any kind of cosmetic surgery is as well. In fact, it's much easier and much more common for cis youth to get gender affirming surgeries (at least in the west).

Depriving trans youth of the possibility of transitioning is downright cruel and anti-scientific. It is immoral and ignorant. It is okay to not understand the topic and to want to learn more, but to deny necessary healthcare that saves lives is monstrous.

We're going to close this thread. While the politics around our evolving understanding of gender are valid topics of conversation, they belong in the appropriate politics threads. What we won't allow is a topic that invites people to argue the validity or existence of trans folks.

As far as we know, there's no openly trans people on Maidenfans. The existence of the thread might discourage people who are trans from joining or becoming active, and it almost certainly will invite bigotry. As a result, we're closing the thread.

We're choosing to close it rather than delete it for two reasons.
1) We want to make it clear that one of the boundaries is that trans people are real and valid and deserve medical care just like anyone else.
2) Vaenyr's summary should stand as a note for anyone with questions.
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