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Mar 10, 2023·edited Mar 10, 2023

Jesse says at the end of the interview that once the right wing came in hard against this stuff it became a huge culture war.

I think that prior to a couple years ago conservatives were not engaged much on this issue, but it was a simmering culture war within liberal spaces. And the trans activists were mopping the floor with us. We were effectively silenced. I was afraid of talking about this IRL with the local political groups I was a part of.

I have been commenting mildly and politely and anonymously on trans articles in NYT and WAPO since 2013. I have had TRA's calling me a murderer, terrorist and Terf for years. I have been told ( in comments only, thank God) to suck their lady dick.

The only opponents to the trans ideology I knew of were politically moderate feminist people like myself.

So you had one side saying "Hey, lets look at this issue with some nuance" and the other side saying "That is literal violence you cunts!"

The small, mean part of me doesn't mind that the TRA's are getting forceful pushback in the same style they have employed for years.

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This is the first time I can recall that I have been moved to tears by this podcast (well, maybe tears of laughter on occasion). And it wasn't anything that Jesse or Hannah said during the interview. It was Jesse's earnest appeal in place of the usually silly signoff: Journalists, please do your job and start asking questions. Clearly he's tired of being the only one doing this important work (one of very few anyway) and taking all the heat for it. "Come on, guys!"

P.S. "Too nerdy for the podcast"? Is that even a thing?

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Mar 10, 2023·edited Mar 10, 2023

Since it's relevant but not in the notes (because I imagine this episode was recorded earlier), here is the link to Hannah Barnes' interview on WBUR's On Point, which seems like a pretty significant crack in the dam of denial at NPR:

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2023/03/09/the-inside-story-of-the-collapse-of-the-tavistock-gender-service-for-children

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In regards to whether the increase in people saying they are trans - if it were solely due to an increase in acceptance and visibility, we would see a lot more men and women in their 40s and 50s. There would be an increase in all ages. That has not happened. Though for sure the increase in acceptance plays a role

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Jumped the gun on listening to the whole episode, as I've now read the book, and been following Barnes and colleagues excellent work for Newsnight on this and I would hope that this is now a turning point. arguably it should have been this a couple of years ago when they were initially reporting on issues covered in this book.

But reading the whole story, from inception to closure of GIDS in such excellent detail really does illustrate how badly things went wrong. They should never have allowed themselves to get won over so easily by 'the dutch model', Nor ever allowed pressure groups such as Mermaids to apply the whole 'appeal to emotion' on them because all of this arguably contributed a hell of a lot to the rest of the discourse in an incredibly negative way. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and all that.

What is most staggering though that you could have all the evidence in the world and you'll still have people continue to deny anyone has been adversely affected by the 'affirm first something something second' model. Even after GIDS was closed, a British council spent thousands to create 'trans flag' road crossings as a dedication to them. Please, America, catch up, if only to stop providing the idiots in the UK with 'proof' that Hillary Cass is wrong.

As an aside, here's the latest copy of the British Medical Journal - "transgender medicine for young people - too far too fast?" - 'no debate' is over.

https://www.bmj.com/content/380/8374

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As a pediatrician I’m embarrassed by the idiocy of my colleagues and their utter lack of critical thinking skills. The diagnostic overshadowing is such a huge issue. With the overlap of autistic spectrum disorder and other issues with claiming a trans identity it’s time to really evaluate what’s going on.

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A few thoughts: I thought it was funny that Jesse said, mid-interview: “Would you say it’s complicated?” And by the end, Barnes was saying: “It’s complicated.”

I read the book last week and some of the stories are heartbreaking. One young (gay) man was so severely mentally ill with OCD that he saw imaginary bugs crawling on the walls. He was petrified of leaving his room. The GIDS was so hellbent on transitioning him, they traveled to his home to start the process. Shockingly bad sense. A long-time gender doctor in Scotland said kids like this were common: kids who hadn’t left their rooms in years on hormones. It seems insane.

I also wonder why insurance companies in the US are agreeing to pay for medical procedures and drugs with long-term side effects and complications that someone will also have to pay for, with no good evidence any of it helps patients. That can’t roll on powered by ideological fumes forever.

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Listening to this is the freshest breath of air, really enjoyed this perspective, and I think you both made the moving parts very accessible to the audience.

I was surprised to hear Jesse say in a couple different ways a version of "in any other field, this level of evidence would never be used as evidence to allow for treatment". Indeed "In any other field this wouldn't fly" was a recurring theme and a huge part of the reason why I think the current social milleu plays a bigger part in how the treatment got to where it is than is being let on or is acceptable.

Again, a great listen.

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Jesse,

Thank you for your continued work on this topic. I admire your willingness to speak out against other journalists and activists that have no interest in science.

You and Hannah Barnes are exactly the kind of journalists we need to continue to report on this.

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Mar 10, 2023·edited Mar 10, 2023

I appreciated the author's dispassionate (but analytical) take on this issue that I'm, frankly, *very very very and maybe too* passionate about? It's very important for mouth-frothers like me to hear takes like hers, where the reporter tries hard not to jump to conclusions or go into rant mode, but still, you know...tells you what happened LOL? Like, Wesley Yang sometimes gives me that righteous anger feeling but I don't think I can even *have* this conversation in public if I take his tack, or emulate his tone when I do.

I am trying to get to the point where I can talk about this stuff with fellow media liberals without just making them lose their minds with anger and panic, and I think this episode was a good resource for talking points, but also a terrific model for an aspirational tone to take if you're in discussion with rational people who won't bite you LOL.

Worth noting, I think the way to approach this topic generally, when discussing it with "steeped libs," is approaching it from the strategic standpoint: if there's no good evidence to support medical transition for youth, we need it pronto. And if we continue to pursue it as a cause without that evidence, we are placing bets on the reputation of trans people, who will be the recipients of the cultural backlash if the trans wave rolls back next year. The argument that the brand of allyship being peddled right now, particularly by the young, *is potentially harmful to trans people* is not hard to make, and an argument that I think can be made (at least in the real world) with the steeped. What do you think, though? What are some good ways to introduce this topic among the steeped, tacks we can take, that will not necessarily win someone over right away, but plant the seed of taking a closer look at this issue after the conversation is done? And without convincing them you are a Literal Nazi?

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founding

I really liked her comment near the end about it isn't rational that these people who work at these clinics, don't know each other and represent a range of genders and viewpoints would be motivated in their criticism by transphobia.

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Look at a Slate article by Evan Urquart who is FTM trans and the comments. Most ‘pro medicalization’ don’t even know about Tavistock. Others are in denial. The superficiality of the comments against any kind of deeper analysis is consistent. It’s generally that. 1) the right wing does this so you are right wing, 2) Lia Thomas doesn’t matter becusse you didn’t care about women’s sports before Lia, 3) tjr doctors know what they are doing, and 4) you are just a hater anyway.

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Mar 10, 2023·edited Mar 10, 2023

Jesse, you are my favorite journo, but starting the episode with, “How do you pronounce Hannah Barnes?” was goofy as hell.

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It was interesting to hear that internal alarms were ringing, and being ignored, in 2015. I also happened to listen to a podcast of "You Must Be Some Kind of Therapist" today, in which she interviews a Jungian analyst who has been treating de-transitioners for many years. It's not like there wasn't already evidence that long-term outcomes for transsexual patients were not great. How was this ignored, too?

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An interview with Masha Gessen on trans issues:

https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-new-yorker-interview/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-trans-rights

What do you think?

I have read a lit of her writing, including some books, and I like her work a lot, but this is weak imo. She hits all the talking points, but without any insight. She references people with DSDs and says you can’t tell their sex, which is wrong. She uses a few examples of cross-dressing women as evidence that trans people have existed throughout human history just as gay people have. I am wholly unconvinced by this point, because those women lived in sexist societies where they HAD to live as men if they wanted careers or the freedom to travel freely, etc. And she makes the strange claim that the gender of a female infant and an old woman are not the same. OK, but they are both female.

Anyway, disappointing and unconvincing.

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Great interview. I am halfway through the book, but Barnes strikes me the same in person as she does through her writing; that is, not an advocate but an investigator.

I haven't heard of her being smeared on Twitter as a bigot, transphobe, whatever, but I imagine that if that hasn't started it soon will. Argh.

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