OP-ED: Trans Kids do Exist, and They are in Danger


Benjamin Newcomb, Contributer

I shall not go your way, O despisers of the body! You are no bridge to the overman!”

  Fredrich Nietzsche

         I had the grave misfortune of going to Matt Walsh’s transphobic “Rally to End Child Mutilation,” a rally to support legislation to ban the types of transgender healthcare provided to children at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Transgender Heath Clinic. I want to write a response to the general argument laid out there. I aim to prove three things to serve as a broader justification for the rights of transgender people and transgender children in particular. One: there are an infinite number of livable human bodies, which include transgender bodies. Two: transgender bodies necessitate a different type of care from cis bodies. And three: the political attacks on trans healthcare, especially for children, constitutes a stupid and cruel attempt to narrow in on the types of livable human bodies allowed in society.

         The “Rally to End Child Mutilation” was under-researched in terms of what care is provided to transgender children. They claimed that chemical castration, mutilation, and other such nonsense are forced upon children the moment they express any sort of gender non-conforming behavior. This is simply incorrect, and shows they have not read the care guidelines actually laid out for trans children and trans people. These guidelines include a relatively long psychological evaluation involving the child’s parents, doctors, and psychologists and does not recommend any medical intervention until adolescence, and no surgery until the late teens, always with full knowledge of risk and in consultation with all the aforementioned medical actors. The rally-goers claimed that many trans kids detransition, which is also misleading, as 97.5% of people who socially transition as kids do not detransition back to their cisgender identity. As such, I do not believe their policy solution of banning transgender healthcare for minors is helpful or well-informed, considering it flouts the available data.

         But I also do not think they base their ideas on data but on the features they believe a proper human body should have. This was supported by the numerous biblical citations that there are only two genders, and the ideological instance on “basic biology” (as though fourth-grade biology was what we should follow in determining policy decisions). If they believe this, data would not matter because it is not about achieving happiness for trans people but is about dictating what human form (Cis, straight, able-bodied, white, etc.) is conducive to happiness. In other words, besides willful and flagrant ignorance, the only way the position described above makes sense is if data conform to the theory and if the particular should come to resemble the universal. Thus, our argumentation over trans healthcare should be about whether or not the trans body is an ontologically possible and desirable body.

         Ok, I’ll bite. Let’s talk about it. Now, because this argument is not reliant on data, it ignores the numerous studies that indicate trans healthcare improves the quality of life of people who claim to be trans. Furthermore, those who designate the trans body as less than the cis body would argue that trans people are delusional and do not deserve to be listened to (a position we shall answer later in the essay) because they do not conform to cis notions of acceptability. Therefore we ought to attempt to establish the variety of the human form without recourse to trans experience. So be it, let us think of the sheer variety of human forms in general: we think of people who are short and tall, who have delicate features and harsh features, who wear their hair long and wear it short., and yet, marvelously, all these people remain human! And, if we move into notions of care, we have people who are hungry and people who are thirsty, and people with broken arms and people with heart conditions, and they are all humans! More importantly, each of their bodies need its own kind of care, and those kinds of care differ between people, and each of these kinds of care has not just a physical component but also a psychical component. The woman with a broken arm certainly feels pain, but she also feels frustration at the loss of the use of her arm, and medical care is designed to treat both of these components. More importantly, given the proper care, the woman with the broken arm will be able to live a good and fulfilling life, one of happiness. Now, if a man has a hormone imbalance that causes him physical and psychical distress, we would say that the treatment is to correct his hormone imbalance. And we should all agree that this would help him live well because we have alleviated his pain. Furthermore, we can imagine a man who needs this treatment because of an accident that has resulted in the loss of his genitalia. But why, may I ask, can we not conceive of that man having two XX chromosomes or having no penis, to begin with? Why is the accident of birth viewed as destiny, but the accident after birth is viewed as simply accidental? It would seem to me that the difference here is just as insignificant as if the man were tall or short. Ergo, the trans body is clearly a type of body that is both conceivable and capable of happiness with the proper care.

         Furthermore, if we know that trans adults exist, and that this type of body is a livable one inside time, then we must also concede that trans children exist. If they did not, then there wouldn’t be people capable of growing into trans adults.. To the argument that children cannot choose to be trans, I reply that there is no choice, but that to be trans is to have a body that requires a certain type of care. Furthermore, if this point is conceded, then to ban trans healthcare, as was being advocated at this rally, is really to make a statement that certain kinds of human bodies should not be allowed in society, and that the state has the ability to deny care based on its own ill-founded ideological arbitrary predilections. This is an anti-human position.