Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are We Becoming Obsolete?

Is coming out in your 40s, 50s and 60s becoming outmoded?

I came across a commentary (Op-ed: Transgender Dinosaurs and the Rise of the Genderqueers) in the Advocate by Riki Wilchins asking that question, now children who questioning their gender can take androgen blockers to prevent puberty and never develop secondary sexual characteristics. Riki asks a valid question will trans-people who do not pass becoming like the dinosaur?

When I was little there was never any question about transitioning, there were never any positive role models. If you said that you felt that you should have been born the other gender they probably have giving you electroconvulsive shock therapy and zapped your brain a couple of dozen times. Now I know of over a dozen trans-kids who have transitioned in schools here in Connecticut and some of them even in elementary school.

In the article Riki asks are we going to be the last of the activists?  That it is the trans-people who went through puberty in their birth gender that are having the hardest time passing and it is because of us not passing that we became activists to stop the discrimination. In a way Riki is right, we never had the option when we were kids to transition before puberty and that is why we have such a hard time transitioning as adults. Trans-kids now pass so much easier; it is unbelievable how much better it is to transition when you are so young.

In another way Riki was wrong, kids still face discrimination, harassment and bullying and in a way it is worst for them. As adults we have developed coping skill but the kids have not had time to develop those skills. Also they will still need the laws we have worked to pass, not only in school but throughout their lives. They will always run the risk of someone finding out their past and I feel they will have a harder time passing laws to protect them when there are less “out” trans-people.

Yes we are going the way of the dinosaurs but in our path we have smoothed the ground for those who follow.


  1. Yes, we may be dinosaurs. But they ruled the world for many a year, and took a long time to die off.

    I expect that there will always be a few of us who transition later in life. There will always be families who see their children in the gender binary, and who will not be able to adapt to one (or more) of their children being diagnosed as trans. As a result, these people will end up transitioning later in life.

    And I think the society as a whole is much more accepting of trans people now. We may have a long way to go, but it is the efforts of those who came before us that we can be thankful for....

  2. Depends on how you take the trans narrative. If one goes along with the same old 'gender doesn't change' and 'I was always a woman' etc then possibly. But frankly there are more than enough cases of late transition based on changed gender self id to render that less than universal.
    Additionally I would tend to dispute the notion that genderqueerness is necessarily a trans qualification.

  3. I didn't mean to imply that no one would be transitioning later in life, but now the stigma that inhibited many trans-people from transitioning early in life have been lifted more trans-people will transition in their youth. However, I feel that number who transition latter in life will drop significantly.

    I wasn't make the point about genderqueerness, but only about transitioning earlier in life.