Here we go again.
As usual, great piece on this topic. This whole thing is maddening. Every single day, I wake up and some mainstream news outlet (NYT, The Atlantic, Washington Post, etc.) will have a new "Look, we're just concerned about the kids!!!" piece. I hate it. I hate how much it gets to me. I do appreciate your push-back on them, though. Thank you, as always, for fighting the good fight.
It boggles the mind how much faux handwringing coverage being trans is getting in the NYT. I'm beginning to wonder if the Times has a Brit in their editorial section.
Okay, rant, hawt taek, whatever, but strap in.
Parenting is HARD, yo. Not just being a caregiver and provider, but a PARENT, is not easy. Every little decision, everything you say, every action you take, has the potential to be The Thing That Affects The Kid(s) For Their Whole Life, or at least A Thing. Every decision seems fraught: when to discipline them, how to foster their creativity, where to send them to school, it's all just a big huge clusterfuck. For such a momentous undertaking, there is literally no instruction manual and no trustworthy guidance (parents and in-laws, even the best ones, are not trustworthy guidance, because NO ONE is good at this). Yes, the Bradshaw parents' position on how to deal with their kid is abhorrent, and I completely disagree with how they went about it, but the confusion and fear in the mother's voice is supremely palpable. Here are two people who are just trying their goddamn best, but they have absolutely no idea what to do here, and on top of that they're getting blindsided by their school. It's a whirlpool.
And if you doubt mourning is a real thing here, go back and read Nicole Maines' story (https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2011/12/11/led-child-who-simply-knew/SsH1U9Pn9JKArTiumZdxaL/story.html). Nicole's story is seen as a success, and it's brilliantly told by the Boston Globe (yes, the Times could learn a few things from the Globe), but even Nicole's father, a self-described "former" Republican, had deep trouble accepting Nicole's transition until he realized he was literally mourning the son it turns out he never had. It's a real and deeply emotional thing. The Bradshaws are not mourning their child's death, but there is still a real loss to comprehend.
There are failures here, but it's a larger societal failure in ceding the You've Got Questions About Transgenderism space to religious and/or right-wing crazies. The memes and fear-mongers have completely taken over the conversation, and did it so early that rational voices haven't been able to get loud enough to cut through the din. It's a failure of reporting, like Katie Baker's work here, which hasn't yet accepted that transgenderism is perfectly fine and is not in any way a flaw. It's a failure of leadership that hasn't put any kind of decent protections in place for trans children and, to be honest, adults. And yes, it's a failure of these parents failing to live up to their supposed ideals, and of falling victim to fear instead of putting their child first. But these are real, confused people who are trying their best within a system and society that hasn't given them nearly enough tools to confidently make these kinds of decisions and in many cases (like Ms. Baker here) actively points them in a more destructive direction.
Look, I'm going to try to be the best parent I can, but I know that I'm going to do multiple things to screw them up or make them not like me, because that's what my (otherwise very good) parents did to me, it's what my (otherwise wonderful) in-laws did to my wife, and it's what EVERY parent does to their child. We're all just trying our best. I wholeheartedly disagree with the Bradshaws' approach to parenting their transgender child, but Jesus Christ I feel for them.
Liberals are going to be the force that legitimizes the genocide of trans people. It's Dead Kennedys' "kill the poor", but for the trans community. Fucking sickening.
thank you for this. i hate these articles so much and it’s cathartic to read such a thorough analysis of exactly why they are so harmful