Privilege and the Assumption of Objectivity or “Reasons Why Cis People Should Shut the Fuck Up About Trans* Kids”

I want to preface this by saying Josie seems like an awesome girl and her parents, especially her mom seem like wonderful, incredibly supportive people. I don’t want anyone to think that my criticism of this video has anything to do with Josie, her family or anything they said or did, because it doesn’t.

The people in this video that infuriate me are the the interviewer and the “experts” weighing in on the ethics  of giving a trans kid hormones. One of the very first things Hoda Kotb (the interviewer) asks Josie is, “When you were little, did you feel like you were trapped in the wrong body?”

This cis woman just straight up fed this child the mainstream media’s Universal Trans* Narrative™ with her incredibly leading question. And maybe that really is how Josie feels, but why not let her tell people in her own words?

Then, when they get to the real meat of the story, Josie’s attempt to get puberty blockers and hormones, they devote large chunks of time to interviewing a cisgender doctor and a cisgender bio-ethicist.

The changes are irreversible...” says Hoda Kotb’s disembodied voice, referring to the effects of taking exogenous hormones. Yes, they are and do you know what else is irreversible, Hoda? the effects of so called “male puberty”.

Its so mindbogglingly cissexist to assume that just because “male puberty” is the “natural” course for Josie’s body its effects do not have equal or greater potential to be massively life-altering and incredibly harmful (or “psychologically devastating” as Hoda puts it in the video) for this child. This is cis privilege at its finest, allowing these cisgender doctors to see themselves as neutral parties weighing the ethics of the situation when they are far from neutral. They talk over and over again about the possibility of regret, but the only kind of regret I hear about from other trans* folks is the regret that they didn’t/couldn’t transition when they were younger, that puberty blockers weren’t a possibility for them. These positions are never presented or considered, no adult trans* people are interviewed, we have only the opinions of cisgender medical experts who have “looked at the data” and therefore clearly know more about what is best for trans* people than we do ourselves.

Then there are these lovely gems:

“The few studies that do exist suggest that young kids with gender identity problems often grow out of them.” says Hoda, followed by this sparkling bit of wisdom from the bioethics professor:

 “A lot of those kids that start out as children who are saying I’m in the wrong body end up finding out by the time they’re middle adolescents that they’re actually fairly comfortable with their own gender.” – Dr. Margaret Moon, Pediatrician, bioethics professor and cis woman.

I feel like this is a really problematic and potentially harmful statement, particularly because so many parents are already going to be really resistant to accepting their trans* children and because a lot of kids don’t grow out of it, they learn to lie, to hide it and to pass as cisgender people of their assigned gender only to come out and transition later. Not to mention these psuedo-factoids are included solely for the purpose of  destabilizing Josie’s identity for the sake of dramatic story telling and giving us permission to doubt her and trans* people in general.

“these things are missing in the data…” says Josie’s doctor, Dr. Johanna Olson, referring to indicators that would allow doctors to know for sure who is “truly transgender”.

Yeah, how about you stop fucking collecting data and start having honest conversations with trans people, or stop talking so goddamn much about your “expert opinion” and listen a little or reading the shit WE write about OURselves and OUR lives instead of stuff written about us by other cis people. Any of the above would be more sincerely  useful and informative then “the data” that has been collected,, reviewed and interpreted by cis people, because cis people always get it wrong or use us to support their own beliefs and opinions about gender.

like this guy for example…

fucking cis people

Also, are doctors not aware of how often they are lied to by trans* people? Trans* people lie to their doctors all the time to get access to the medical treatments we want/need.  Which, ya know, we might stop feeling the need to do if doctors weren’t so obsessed with figuring out who’s “truly transgender” and denying treatment to anyone who doesn’t meet their criteria or tell the right story. Your data will always be fucking flawed because you assume that your faulty conception of gender and trans*ness is a fair, balanced, and objective one and trans* people are too afraid of being denied access to medical care to tell you the truth.


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