The comment section…

I remember my first exposure to the comment section. I was reading an article from the Toronto Star and noticed they had comments. I eagerly went to read, thinking it would be like the letters to the editor, heavily moderated and edited for brevity. They were no such thing. People were battling it out in the comments, complete with name calling. Later I realized that was the same for almost all sites. The comment section is where you tread carefully because trolls abound.

Then Emma came out as trans. I joined groups and made friends with both trans people and with parents of trans children. And, of course, articles about trans issues began flooding my newsfeed. And the trolls quickly followed. Once the transphobic trolls are weeded out, I find there’s five questions that surface again and again.

  1. The gender nonconforming girl and it’s always a girl. No men ever step up to talk about their gender nonconforming days *cough* toxic masculinity. She wanted to be a boy so badly when she was growing up. Boys had more freedom. So she wore boys clothes and had short hair. She might have even tried to pee standing up. Then she became a teenager and, voila, she because super girly. Loved lipstick and makeup and pretty dresses. Now she’s happily married to a man. If she was born today she would have been labelled trans. But, no, that’s not how it works. Trans children are almost always insistent and persistent. They know what sex they are and say it loud and clear. I’m a boy. I’m a brother. When will I grow a penis? They don’t just want to be a boy, they are a boy. If she was growing up now, she’d be labelled “gender nonconforming” just like countless other children today.
  2. There’s only two genders! Except there’s not. There are cultures all around the world who have more than one gender. Some have as much as five (the Bugis people in Indonesia for example). In North America, the indigenous people had a third gender known as two spirited. They were revered as wise people because they contained both male and female spirits. Our modern culture isn’t the only culture in the world.
  3. Tagging along with two genders comments are the people who say things like “my XX children are girls”. Maybe they think adding a bit of genetics into their argument will make them sound more intelligent. Pro tip, it’s not working. No one seriously thinks you took your children in for genetic testing just so you could rant on Facebook. There are well more than five genetic variants, with things like single X, XXY, XXX for example. If you haven’t tested your child, you don’t know what their chromosomes are. You could be in for a surprise.
  4. There’s always some who trots out the “My kid pretended to be a dog. Should I have changed his name to Rover and let him eat off the floor?” We all know kids love pretend play. They pretend to be cats and dogs and superheros and princesses… and sometimes an amalgamation of several of those. But there’s a huge difference between pretend play and being trans. Trans children are insistent and persistent. They often become withdrawn and confused because nobody else sees them as the gender they know they are. Some, as young as four or five, try to commit suicide. It’s not a game. Pretend play is fun and passes within a few weeks at the latest. Trans stays. The child might pretend to be cis if they’re met with extreme negativity, derision, or threats of or actual violence but they still know they’re trans and most eventually come out, whether it’s in their 20’s, 30’s, or even sometimes in their 80’s.
  5. Last, but not least, are the people who worry about the children changing their minds. How are they going to revert back? The answer is easy and should be obvious. They start using their birth name again and get a new wardrobe and haircut. Reverting back to their assigned gender isn’t very common however and often the child turns out to be non binary rather than being a cis male or female. The people who ask this question are usually quite uninformed and assume that transitioning to male or female in childhood somehow requires surgery. It doesn’t. No one is performing sexual affirmation surgery on children. That doesn’t happen until the late teens at the earliest.

I will sometimes wade into the comment section of articles and dispense answers, not because I think I’m going to get a bigot to think but because of all the people lurking. The people who know nothing about trans people and are willing to learn, the parents of trans kids, and trans people who are getting disheartened by all the transphobic comments. Besides, even if I only change one person’s mind, it could make a life time of difference to their child.


Colin, when he was younger, in some of his favourite dress up clothes


5 thoughts on “The comment section…

  1. While I am not for parents encouraging their younger kids and teens from picking a gender different from the one they are born with, I know that people have the right to choose what they are most comfortable with once they are adults. The reason I disagree with younger kids and teens is that during these periods, we change dramatically. I am not at all the same person I was at that age or even into my 20’s. We have a friend who is trans (male) and while he takes hormones, he has not gone all the way and had a surgical change done. We see Jazz on tv going through all the gender changes while still in her teens. She had always dated boys, but now is deciding she is attracted to a girl, which begs the question, is she actually transgender or is she gay and just enjoys dressing like a girl? There are many men who enjoy dressing in women’s clothing who are heterosexual. Our friend is in a relationship with another male friend of ours. Does that make him gay or heterosexual since he identifies as a woman? Many questions that I can’t begin to answer.

    • Except the parents aren’t picking. The children are insistent about their gender. And, when you get down to it, people accept cis children knowing their gender at two yet refuse to believe trans children at 4, 6, or 8. Nothing dramatic is done at that age and, if the child changes their mind, they can always go back. And there are trans women lesbians and gay trans men as well and bisexual, pansexual, and asexual. Jazz is trans and likes two genders.

      Your friend is a woman who’s attracted to a man so that would make her straight.

      • Thank you for the information and enlightenment. Some of it is head spinning! In the end, all you really can do is love and support your children and you seem to be doing a great job. I applaud you.

    • I am a parent of a trans child and not until our daughter demonstrated her own belief that her gender was not in line with that which was assigned at birth did we encourage and support her social transition. In other words, at the age of two and three, we treated it as a part of typical childhood development and exploration. Many, many parents of trans children proceed the same way. But when trans children consistently insist and persist that that the gender they were assigned at birth is wrong, many times accompanied by anxiety, depression, suicide ideation, etc, you realize that this is not typical child development. You follow your child down their path, as scary as it may seem and find the answers to those questions. Suicide attempt and completion is highest among this group of children so ignoring it has tragic consequences.

      With regard to your other question(s), you are confusing gender and sexuality. People may identify as female, male, trans, gender-non conforming, non-binary and probably others that I’m unaware. This refers to their gender or non-gender. Your friend who identifies as a woman and dates men is straight or heterosexual.

  2. Pingback: Readers, likes and comments | From guestwriters

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