“Why has it taken you so long if you’re serious?”

This Twitter thread by Helen Belcher, who has been analysing media coverage of trans people for many years, is worth your time. I’ve posted the text below.

Most trans people I know tried for years not to be trans. The personal cost was often thought to be too high. So when some “white knight” rides in to say people like me are “lazy” and basically wannabe gay people, it understandably enrages many.

Waiting lists to see medics are measured in years. Put that on top of the years trying not to be trans, and you start to see how much of our lives can start to feel wasted, just because of the fears imposed by others.

That’s why medics are largely moving to a model where they start to trust the person they see in front of them, rather than the hostile questioning like I got from the first medics I saw. Questions, ironically, like “why has it taken you so long if you’re serious?”

It means that people start to work with the medics rather than learning scripts, such as the one I was encouraged to learn, which run high risks of hiding real dangers.

And, if someone decides that transition is not for them, and I suspect many still do before they get very far, that’s fine. The problem was that the medical model tended to focus on one clear surgical destination, and some now accept that that’s not always appropriate.

All of this turgid, repetitive “debate” is predicated on the basis that being trans is a “bad outcome”, rather than it simply being what it is. There’s no kudos in being trans, and there should be no kudos in not being trans either.

No trans person I know thinks it’s even possible to convert someone to be trans, yet the antis are full of people who want to convert some not to be trans, but never outline their criteria for how they know – just like they can apparently always identify trans women – they can’t.

I also had a few years where I was treated as an issue rather than a person. Consider how dehumanising that is. Yet that’s what this turgid “debate” keeps trying to go back to – replacing pragmatic laws which allow people to live their lives with philosophically pure ones.

If your philosophical debate only harms one group of people, and bears no resemblance to what actually happens on the ground, and relies on fears being whipped up, then it’s not worth the air used to broadcast it.