Katie Herzog wrote an article for The Stranger. It’s our Seattle liberal rag that covers local issues. Over Pride month they had been great, and put up all sorts of great perspectives in their articles.
Then there was this one. http://www.thestranger.com/features/2017/06/28/25252342/the-detransitioners-they-were-transgender-until-they-werent
I’m not saying this article is factually wrong when Herzog says there are transgender people that opt to step back, and not transition. I’m saying that as a people, trans folks are a very small population with poorly recorded statistics. Often the best we can do is discuss our experiences in situations like this because it’s really hard to get good data on a population that is so persecuted, going Stealth and hiding your past is considered a valid goal for many transgender people.
My objection to the original article, was first that it was curious that Herzog didn’t talk to anyone that was big in local transgender issues. We have some amazing transgender resources here in Seattle, and she didn’t reference any of those.
Instead she decided to give time in her article to a discredited doctor. This was an “all sides are equal” tactic. The same ideology that puts flat earthers or climate change deniers up against real scientists and tells us that the views are equivalent.
I didn’t really say much about this article other than to point to it on Facebook.
Others have done a great job of breaking down the issues at play here:
Then yesterday I got hit with signature gatherers in front of the Target by my house, looking to gather signatures to get a bathroom bill on the ballot to prevent mostly transgender girls and women from having access to women’s restrooms.
I called the guy an asshole, and told him I’m transgender. I don’t think he ever understood me when I said I’d have to pee in the ladies room. For him, mostly likely, all transgender people are transgender women. A cop was looking on. I got loud, then I stalked off.
He had the Herzog article on his table. Her article was already being used to attack transgender people.
Still, I was just annoyed, until I saw this new article this morning by Katie Herzog:
It reads like a doubling down to me.
That’s when I decided to write to The Stranger. I don’t really write to newspapers often, because I don’t really think they’d care. This little kerfuffle is a good page view generator right now, as TERFs and bigots flock to the article as well as transgender people and their allies.
In that whole article, the sentence that got my goat was this:
Some were supportive of the article, some weren’t. TERFs and radfems baited trans folks into argument and vice versa.
Herzog writes as if we are all on the same footing here. Once again, this is ridiculous.
I decided to write a letter to The Stranger, for all the good it will do. I am going to post it here as well, because at least someone will see it here:
I’ve never wrote to to a newspaper before like this, so please believe me when I say how incredibly upset I am to even try. I don’t have any hope that anyone at the Stranger even cares, but I am moved to give it a go here.
Katie Herzog wrote a badly researched article, where she either had an agenda, or relied on sources with an agenda. I know this because I am transgender, and I read her original Detransitioning article as soon as it hit my RSS feed.
I talked to my other Seattle area trans friends, and we pretty much were universally disgusted. For me it’s not the first time I’ve seen articles created to discredit transgender experiences.
I would have chalked it up to some cisgendered chic running into the Dunning Kruger effect face first, but then she wrote the second follow up article where she doubled down on her sources. Including a discredited doctor.
You want to know why I am so pissed off? Yesterday I came out of a Target, and was propositioned by the anti-transgender group collecting signatures for a bathroom bill that would legally force my bearded self back into a women’s room.
Guess what article was sitting on their table? Go ahead. Turns out Katie Herzog’s article was a big hit.
So while she is equating TERFs, and anti-transgender bigots as flip sides of a coin in this new article (referencing TERFS and transgender people baiting each other on her FB page.) she has missed a key point.
We, the transgender people, are fighting for our right to exist without being molested, attacked, and killed. Sure there are folks that step back from transitioning. There aren’t any reliable sources for numbers. Many of us see-saw back and forth over time. There was no way to know if that was the final destination or a pause for them.
I was so happy with The Stranger during Pride month. I felt I had an ally. Now I know I shouldn’t have bothered placing my trust in your publication as a transgender man. You were just looking to push an agenda for more page views. Because what other reason could this publication have to float a badly researched article, then have the author double down on that bad research.
There are so many good reputable sources for transgender issues. Katie Herzog chose none of them, and now her work is being used to attack us, and me personally recently.
Well done. It’s not like they needed another weapon in their arsenal to attack my very humanity, but you gave them one.