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January 31, 2024 46 mins

In part 2 of our interview with Ky and Lee, we discuss how anti-trans groups campaigned to influence medical organizations like WPATH and drew in vulnerable people along the way.

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
All Zone Media.

Speaker 2 (00:05):
Welcome to dig it up in here. This is me
a long back with part two of my interview with
Kay and Lee from Health Liberation Now about the long
origins of anti trans legislation and policy in Ohio. Let's
get right into it, Okay. So the next thing I
wanted to sort of ask about is, so this is

a very very long running I guess, sort of strategy
and campaign of sort of right wing or right wing
and turf de transition like groups advocating for trans healthcare bands.
And I wanted to I wanted to talk about some

of the older campaigns that happened, and I wanted to
talk about specifically some of the campaigns to influence WPATH.
Oh boy, right, right, So we should we should start
by explaining to people what WPATH is, because I think
unless you're trans, you probably don't know. You've probably never
heard of WPATH.

Speaker 3 (01:06):
It's like World Professional Association for Trans Healthcare, I believe,
is what it?

Speaker 4 (01:12):
Double check that.

Speaker 3 (01:13):
Yeah, yeah, World Professional Association for Transvender Health formerly known
as the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Alliance.

Speaker 4 (01:20):
They published the standard care that is usually used to
help inform gender firming care for trans people, and they
have done various versions of this over the course of decades.
We are currently on version eight.

Speaker 3 (01:37):
Yeah, and historically they've they're a way of administering trans
healthcare has involved a lot of like gatekeeping and then
psychological assessments or requiring people to do a real life test,
which is like making someone live as the gender they're
transitioning to for like a year before they can actually
access medical transition. So I guess like social transition, but

it's like a test to prove you're a quote unquote
real trans person or not. And like things have, Yeah,
things have gotten like somewhat better over time, but there's
still a lot of medical professionals in and especially like
therapists in WPATH who like still want to require some
form of gatekeeping basically still don't trust trans people to know,

you know, who we are and what we need and
are like, okay, but we need to make sure they
get therapy. We need to make sure we do like
oh the sype tesks, what if they regret it? And
so yeah, So I used to be a detransitioned radical
feminist back in the day, and I used to know
I mean, I knew Maxim Kitty. I was involved in

that particular group for about like six and a half
seven years, and I used to have a blog called
Crash Chaos Cats where I wrote about de transitioning and
kind of got more more turphy over time. But like
pretty early into my blog, about like three months or
so in this gender therapist who worked for the San

Francisco Department of Health like left a comment on my
blog and was like, I'm interested in talking to de
transitioned people because I think there are too Like well,
she have to comment that she was interested in talking
to de transition people and you know, talking to me,
and then like we started emailing back and forth, and
she opened up pretty quickly and said, like there are
too many f to ms in San Francisco. It was like,

too many f to ms in the San Francisco Bay Area.
There are too many like you know, Quoe unquote, female
people transitioning.

Speaker 4 (03:33):
I know.

Speaker 3 (03:33):
It's just it's like, oh no, It's like, oh wow,
there's It's like it couldn't possibly be that people are
just coming to one of the most trans friendly areas
in the country to transition because they think they'll have
an easier time there. No, there's got to be too
many people. I mean, I think somewhere early in the
conversation she brought up YouTube influencing people towards transitioning. She

thought there was like, you know, pressure to transition in
the trans community. So anyway, shit all this stuff, something
about like you know, people are treating this social problem
as a medical problem. And I you know, immediately kind
of turned around and started talking with this other detrans
radical feminist that I knew, devoras Ahab, and we started
scheming like, Okay, this like gender therapist who works for

the San Francisco Department of Health like thinks there's too
many people transitioning. How do we exploit this, Like how
can we like use this as an opportunity to like
cut down on the number of like people transitioning.

Speaker 4 (04:28):
It wasn't just the connection to the Department of Health.
It was also the w Path.

Speaker 3 (04:32):
Well that that we found out about that I was
just going to go into that, like eventually, first we
found out she was working for the Department of Public Health,
and then we found out that she was in w
PATH and she actually was like you know, talking to
the president of w PATH and that she like so
she made it clear that like, she wanted to use
the stories of detransitioned people to try to get more

clinicians to be to take a more cautious approach, And
she also wanted to try to develop psych assessments that
could supposedly like weed out you know, who the real
trans people were, who was going to benefit from transitioning
and who was supposed to go on to regret transitioning
and d transition.

Speaker 1 (05:07):
No, the thing is, we.

Speaker 3 (05:09):
Didn't actually believe that you could tell the difference between
someone who would end up like state transition or because
we were terms right, we thought everyone could you know,
be saved by radical feminism, like we and we had
a bunch of people in our group who thought that
they were you know, quote unquote true transsexuals, who thought
they fit the criteria of someone who would have a
successful transition, you know, until they you know, decided they

actually were suffering from internalized misogyny or some other kind
of rad fem explanation for gender dysphoria. And like, the
thing is, like Devora also lived in the San Francisco
Bay area, so she actually ended up like meeting up
with this gender therapist. His name was Julie Graham and
was like pretty open with her with their anti trans views.
I mean, she wasn't like completely open with her like

intentions like oh, I'm going to use this person to
try to like work towards ending all transition, but she was.
She did tell you know, Graham, but she didn't think
anyone really benefited from it. And she told her that,
you know, she said she knew people who have been
true transsexuals who had de transitioned and said like lots
of really awful things about like trans women being fetishists

and just like you know, all this very anti trans stuff.
But then you always say, oh, but I think we
don't have to agree on everything. I think we can
like work together, and like, you know, this gender therapist
fell for it like somehow like divorcing all this very
anti trans stuff, like making a close she was opposed
to transition, saying like really nasty trans misogynistic shit, like

none of that was like objectionable enough for Graham not
to like continue to like work with her, to continue
to be like, hey, do you want to talk to
these clinicians about what it is to do transition? And
you know eventually what happened like that Eventually, this relationship
with this gender therapist eventually led to a presentation at

the first us PATH conference by Carrie Callahan, who's like
she's a kind of an odd figure because she never
actually identified as like a radical feminist, but she spent
like years hanging out was like de transitioned radical feminist,
and she's she's de transitioned, but she's kind of more
of like a weird liberal who believes in more gatekeeping,

but she's kind of handy, like we like, like, she
did this presentation at us PATH and she showed some
videos of d trans turfs, including myself, like I made
one of I made a short video, and Max Robinson
also made one of those videos, and Carrie Stella was
the third person, and Carry Stella she did like she

was another like d trans tumbler turf who did this
survey that still gets like it was a it was
a survey monkey survey. It's gets cited by like anti
trans researchers about d transition yeap, which anyways, so we
so there were three of us who made these short videos.
Both me and Max Robinson by that point had gone

like we had hooked up with these weird turfs who
were deanic witches and taking part in these kind of
weird neopagan x trans reclaiming femaleness rituals. We had been
through this kind of like religious neopagan like you know,
conversion practice rituals, which of course that wasn't something that

the USP like those are the people, you know, us
Path knew that, but we hit that. We just you know,
I talked about how I thought I had transitioned due
to like internalized misogyny and trauma on all that. So
I was sort of like spreading a more like kind
of watered down terf ideology to the folks over at
us Path.

Speaker 4 (08:48):
This is this is kind of an intentional strategy if
you think about it, because I want to I want
to point out something from the the emails about how
that presentation was made and then given where Carrie Callahan
noted that her slides were quote unquote decidedly on radical.

She was trying to talk to therapists as a therapist.
What that basically meant was she was taking away a
lot of the more objectionable elements, the things that would
identify folks like Kai in her previously scrambled state as
a turf and being completely opposed to transition and stuff
like that, and then putting on you know, kind of

suiting them up right, like you know, getting getting them
in their in their nice clothes, and then presenting them
to a professional audience who is then able to take
that information and sort of absorb it into their general
thinking and then how that's going to play out in
terms of their changes or implementations of care in the
long term.

Speaker 2 (09:53):
Yeah, and that's something that like, I there's something that's
pretty common with like a trendsuh, like anti transactivists across
the spectrum, Like a lot of people like Clary Cold,
there's a lot of the sort of like just hardline
right wingers who didn't talk about stuff like like' like

some of these people D transition because like the thing
that they're saying now is the d transition because they
got a vision from God, right, And they don't start
with that because I think, right, I mean, I think
I think there should be more skepticism of people who
are like I got a vision from the Christian God
or like the Abrahamic God that told me to do transition.
I think they should be more skepticism of that. But

that's not something that like, I don't know if if
you if you walk into like w Path and you
tell them I was given to vision from God, They're
gonna be like, what whereas this kind of stuff?

Speaker 1 (10:47):

Speaker 2 (10:47):
Like, you know, but the Wpath people like and this
is something that's kind of complicated about this because I
think there's I think there's a lot of people who
see W Path as one of the sort of like
as one of the organizations that's there to protect trans
people and their sort of allies in this sort of
in this battle against handy trends stuff. And it's true
to a certain extent, but they're also like, this is

an organization composed of a bunch of CIS doctors, right,
who can be influenced and manipulated.

Speaker 4 (11:16):
And there's there's trans members as well, a few there's,
but it also is less powerful.

Speaker 3 (11:24):
Well, it also seems like the trans people who do
end up like in a high position at Wpath like
also tend to be like end up believing in gatekeeping
and restrictions that kind of like internalize the general mindset,
and so so it's kind of like they're tokens, right.
It's kind of handy for like CIS medical professionals who
want to like control trans people. To have some trans

people as like figureheads, you know, expressing those views gonna
be like oh well, you know, look this person's saying
it and they're trans, so like yeah, I mean, I mean,
like yeah, at the same like that the first US Path,
I mean, just to kind of show how far things
still need to come, you know, the same us Path

where Carrie did her de transition presentation. Ken Zucker was
there and he got he got protested, I mean, like
there was a protest against him, and I did. I
believe they ended up like canceling at least like one
of his presentations.

Speaker 4 (12:22):
But yeah, so ken Zucker kind of.

Speaker 3 (12:24):
This notorious like conversion therapist to focus primarily on on
trans youth, Like he had this clinic in uh Canada,
you know people, I mean and like going after both
like trans youth and gender non conforming youth. They tried
to like you know, prevent kids from growing up trance,
but they also tried to make you know, non conforming
youth like more gender conforming as well, with the justification,

oh well, it's easier to change individual than to like
make society less bigoted.

Speaker 2 (12:52):
Yeah yeah, but.

Speaker 3 (12:53):
Yeah, but he was the type of like he was
one of the medical professionals that was like you know,
helping to create like the standards of care for for
trans youth for decades, and it took a lot of
work to to change that. And like, yeah, he was
still given a platform by w Path in like twenty seventeen.

Speaker 4 (13:12):
That's not that long ago.

Speaker 2 (13:14):
Yeah, And that's I don't know, it's this is one
of these things where like the history of CIS doctors
treating trans people is really really bleak in ways that
don't get talked about. And the reason, like one of

the reasons they don't get talked about from people who
know about it is that like it's fucking bad. Like
it's a lot, it's a lot of people getting raped.
It's like a lot of like I mean, and like
when we talked about sort of like gatekeeping for healthcare,
like that was the like one of the original things
was like you know, one of the things that would
happen very very commonly was you know it's like okay,

like if you if you want to get healthcare, like
you have to let me rape you.

Speaker 4 (14:04):
Like that.

Speaker 2 (14:04):
That's the thing that happened all the fucking time and
this is the and that's not something that's you know,
extremely long ago, right, And and you could you could look
at like modern w path and be like, well, it's
obviously like yes, it has come a long way from
that ship. But simultaneously, yeah, like I don't know, that's
that's something that you know, like there are living people
who fucking experience that, right and m you know, and

and when when you when you look at why these
kinds of like d trans campaigns, why why these just
like like these sort of d trans anti transactivists have
been so successful in targeting this it's like, well, you know,
it's it's it's it's I think I think it's a
kind of similar thing to like, oh wow, I wonder

why like the third KKK was successful in this South
And it's like hmm hmm, maybe there are things happening.
I mean that that is slightly unfair as being a
bit unfair to them, But you know, there's there's still
a lot of these sentiments that there's a lot of
sort of like transphobic sentiments that are just kind of
like buried beneath the surface. And I think a lot

of what we've been seeing over the past you know,
like like eight ish years. What is time hold on?

Speaker 3 (15:17):
Is that?

Speaker 1 (15:18):

Speaker 2 (15:19):
Okay, I've broken my own rule about not trying to
do bath life on air. People don't figure out that
I can't do subtract. But you know, that's a lot
of what's the topic of the last like eight years
is that people figured out that there's still a lot
of sort of lingering anti transcendiment, and they figured out
where you can target it in ways that are extremely effective.

We need to go to ads were back in a
second with less capitalism, and we're back.

Speaker 3 (15:56):
Oh yeah, oh yeah, I mean like yeah, I mean
I I feel like like in terms of like medical
professionals who want a gatekeeper what like they they've been
using you know, d transition and transition regret as like
an excuse for controlling people for basically since the beginning
of trans healthcare. I mean that, like, like you know
that gender therapist Julia Graham, she went looking for us,

She like went looking for for de trans people to use.
She's like, Okay, this is how I'm going to like
cut down on the number of people transitioning. I'm going
to find some like de transitioned women and then use
their experiences and you know, that's what she.

Speaker 4 (16:33):
Tried to do.

Speaker 3 (16:33):
And like, and I see this happening with other like
clinicians too, like kind of going back to Ohio Scott Leibowitz,
who runs he's a therapist who runs the Thrive Clinic
in Ohio, and he's another one who has used like
de transition to justify like more psych assessments. And I

mean he was actually one of the therapists featured in
one of the New York Times articles that everyone a
lot of trends. People got mad at the one by
Emily Bailon. Was it like I forget what it's called
the giald for gender therapy, where he's like kind of
cast is this like this poor moderate position who's caught

between the religious right that wants to ban all trans
healthcare and these wacky transactivists who just want to let
everyone transition. It's like he's just trying to find this
nuanced approach and make sure that like teenagers don't transition
and regret it. And you know, yeah, I know he
was like, I mean, like he was trying to stop

the healthcare bands in Ohio by pointing out like, oh look,
you know we're we do comprehensive care. You know, most
most youth don't go on to medically transition. Like like
Carrie Callahan was also one of the you know she
and her testimony, and in some op ed pieces that

she wrote, she was like praising his broach, calling it cautious.
You know, people who want to like restrict care implement
more gatekeeping will use like D transition stories to justify that.
And then of course, like you know, the religious right
who wants to completely wipe out all transition healthcare will
also use like D transition stories as well.

Speaker 4 (18:19):
They'll have their set.

Speaker 3 (18:20):
Of de transition people that they bring out, like lucole
to testify for the bands.

Speaker 4 (18:26):
Yeah. Leibawitz was also one of the co leads for
the adolescent chapter in the Standards of Care eight from
w Path. This was also partially reported on in the
Basilon piece since they were given exclusive access to the
draft before the actual final product was officially published. And
so this particular chapter, especially compared to most of the

other ones, was it was basically a dumpster fire, Like
it was a massive rollback in terms of accurate information.
And part of this was actually captured by a white
paper that was written by Kelly Winter's a trans woman.
You know, she's got a PhD and everything like that.
She's been paying attention to this stuff for a really
long time, has been working in aspects of wpath and
trying to like, you know, kind of help reshape some

of the transphobia that's been happening.

Speaker 3 (19:15):
Yeah. I mean she's been finding back against like how
trans people are pathologized and you know, against paternalistic yeah
healthcare for for a very long time now.

Speaker 4 (19:24):
Yeah. So she ended up writing a white paper about
Version eight with a significant section focusing on the adolescent
chapter and some of the weird like pseudoscience laundering that
ended up happening because that chapter not only did it
include like you know, lip service to things like quote

unquote rapid onset gender dysphoria, which is a this is
a bunk pseudo diagnosis that was invented by Lisa Littman
after surveying a bunch of anti transparents, but then within
that chapter you also see the laundering of specific studies
that are focused on predominantly de transitioned women, predominantly gender

critical or radical feminist. These two papers were Litman twenty
twenty one, which surveyed a lot of the kind of
the old D trans turf groups that we had been
connected with right around twenty seventeen or so, So this
was before the ROGD paper was published in twenty eighteen.
But then there was also let's see, there's the Vanderbusch study,

which I believe that was published in like what twenty
I don't remember what year that was published in the
Vanderbusch study. Now, this study was done by Eli vander Busch,
who is basically post trans the half of a gender
critical de transition project, and it had a very similar
kind of like recruitment strategy sometimes an overlapping recruitment pool.

But the difference is that this happened after the rog
D paper dropped RGDS.

Speaker 2 (21:00):
That's wrap it on SUT gender dysphoria, which is distinct
correct to be like all the kids are suddenly Transitioning's
like no, this is yes, yeah, but that's what that
acrid is.

Speaker 4 (21:09):
Yep. When that paper dropped, a shift in some of
the narratives from people who are coming out as de
transitioned was also starting to be observed. More people were
starting to call themselves as having experienced RGD. This is
where the Peak Resilience project came from. And so as
a result, like this Bandibush study was also pulling in

aspects of that kind of narrative as well. Right, and
you know this, none of this actually makes sense. These
are wildly biased sample pools. It's not going to be
generalizable to basically any population. It's only focused on like
a very particular subset of people who end up detransitioning

and then develop some kind of like political belief it's
connected to it, right, And then it's being used as
legitimate data as part of standards of care that is
supposed to be like, yeah, yes, it's just it's particulars.

Speaker 3 (22:08):
Well, it is ridiculous, But I don't feel like like
I feel like the medical professionals who want more gatekeeping
like they just need some de transitioned.

Speaker 4 (22:15):
People to justify it.

Speaker 3 (22:17):
They don't really care if like the people ended up
de transitioning because they like found God or radical feminism
or like or you know, our old group. A lot
of the detrendsmen I think already mentioned this before, Like
a lot of us like talked about how like we
had the same kind of dysphoria than any other transperson
had and we're still fighting it off. That was a

thing too. Most of the people I knew still had
gender dysphoria, and we're just finding like quote unquote alternative
ways to cope with it. And it's just like, I
don't I mean a lot of people were trying to
like talk themselves out of like transitioning again. So I
don't think the issue here is like, oh, transition didn't
work for these people. It's more like they internalized the idea.

You know that no one said transition, but again, like
people don't. It's like people don't. Yeah, they only care
about using de transition in order to reduce the number
of trans people or prevent transition. They don't care about
transition or d transition that you know results from transphobia,
either internalizing it, yeah, internalizing it an anti trans ideology,

or you know, not being able to access transition because
of you know, living in a transphobic society, coming from
a transphobic family, you know, having to go into the
closet to find a job, that kind of stuff. Like
it's never about like, yeah, it's never about preventing due
transition that results from transphobia. It's just about finding excuse

to control us and our access to healthcare.

Speaker 2 (23:45):
There's this perverse incentive structure here too, because you know,
these doctors are trying to find you know, they're trying
to find something that gives them more ability to do gatekeeping.
So it's it's it's in their interest to in order
to in order to preserve and increase their own power,
to find this kind of stuff, which means that they're

not actually doing their job. They're going out and trying
to find ways to like they're trying to find, you know,
whatever whatever like absolutely dog shit studies or like just
stuff that like probably should be considered medical malpractice. Like
they don't really care because again it's it's it's it's
just this like loop because that's the thing that they need.

So they'll they'll find whatever, like crank pseudo scientists just
like cranking this stuff out and they'll use it.

Speaker 3 (24:33):
Yeah, I mean, And also, I mean I also feel
like this is one of the reasons why there aren't
more resources for people who end up transitioning too, because
they want to be able to use as a scar
scare story, right because like really, I mean, like okay,
like you know, Ig transitioned and like it was hard
because there weren't as much like resources and support out there,
and I mean a lot of the supports I did

find were crappy because they were coming from urfs. But
it's like it's really just kind of like transitioning again
and then a.

Speaker 4 (24:59):
Lot of ways.

Speaker 3 (25:01):
So it's like, well, if you can create resources to
make transitioning easier, you could definitely create a lot of
similar resources to make de transitioning easier.

Speaker 4 (25:09):
But that's not there.

Speaker 3 (25:11):
And I feel like like one of the reasons that
is not there is because if like, if it's easy
for someone to do transition, get what they need to
have a good life, and just move on, then it's
hard to use those stories, like you'll have less people
who want to, like, you know who you can kind
of like, uh, you know, indoctrinate into these anti trans
ideologies and then use them, you know, as part of
the anti trans movement. But also just like I mean,

if it's not scary anymore, if you just feel like, okay,
like this is just an issue of like making people,
making sure people get the supports that they need so
they can just get on with their lives. Like we
just treat it as a practical problem. That needs to
be solved instead of using it to feed a trans panic. Like, yeah,
it's just like the the there's actually like less reasons
for gatekeeping. I mean, I feel like like creating like

basically you're kind of like creating a safety dit for
in case, like you know, in case something unexpect did
or negative happens. So you're like, okay, well, if you
transition and things you end up changing your mind or
things don't work out the way you think they would,
here's all these supports you can turn to. So I
feel like that's kind of a better long term thing
to work for, is like okay, like make sure there

are supports for people no matter how their transition turns out,
like if then including you know, de transitioning, or if
people like you know, face health complications, like make sure
that there's like supports in place for that. Don't use
that as an excuse for gatekeeping.

Speaker 4 (26:33):
Yeah, that's unfortunately one that I know all too well
the consequences of.

Speaker 2 (26:41):
Yeah, and I think I think also the everything that's
going on is there's just like all of these groups,
see both trans people and people do transitions as just
not like like they're you know, they're they're they're violating

the content categorical imperative in the sense that they're not
treating people as actual humans or treating them as objects
or tools. Yes, and once you do, when you do that, right,
like everything suddenly you know, like who cares what happens
to these people afterwards, because you don't think of them
as people. You think of them as just a thing
that you're using to do another thing.

Speaker 3 (27:22):
Mm hm oh yeah.

Speaker 4 (27:24):
Absolutely. The unfortunate thing is that unfort like this can
also happen within the community as well. When they are
trying to advocate for certain kinds of things, people will
end up using each other, Oh yeah, as tools in
order to meet their own personal goals.

Speaker 2 (27:39):
Speaking of goals, make it your goal to uh buy
these products and services. Oh no, we're back.

Speaker 4 (27:58):
So let's go back a little bit to about like
twenty nineteen. Some of the bills are starting to go out.
We had the test balloon bill that was happening in
South Dakota that eventually turned into twenty twenty. Right in
this timeframe, an organizing call went out on the Well,
the site previously known as Twitter by Kerrie Callahan that

was looking for people that wanted to advocate for better
healthcare outcomes for trans and d trans people. Right during
that time frame, I had been starting to go off
of my hormones. I started going off of them a
few months prior to that point, and in that time frame,

I started experiencing certain types of what seemed like progressive
vision loss. Right. My brain, I sometimes have a tendency
to panic, I guess, especially when it comes to things
like health anxiety. My brain started to make the internal connection,

did going off of my hormones cause my vision to change? Right?
And unfortunately, as I started to talk about this online
and the likes, I was getting a lot of encouragement
from other folks, usually like you know, gender critical, anti transparents,
that kind of thing. That yes, absolutely like the hormones

were causing me to have vision loss right and it
was really impacting my ability to function in my daily life. Right.
But another part of me at the same time as
all of this was starting to feel like I was
starting to feel aspects of regret and anger, which made
me want to do something. This is a very common narrative, right.

It made me want to do something so that other
people would not end up in the situation that I
was in and so I answered this call. Probably not
the best of decisions that I could have made for myself,
but I decided to go ahead and do so answered
Kerry Calhoun's call, Yes, Yes, I decided to go ahead
and say, yes, I will, I will connect in with this.

I would like to be a part of it. I
had to apparently apologize for talking to the wrong clinician
in public first, but.

Speaker 3 (30:19):
Had to apologize for talking to Jack Turbin because he
was too affirming and she was mad that you would
speak to him because I was too willing to respect
fans kids.

Speaker 4 (30:31):
Yes, yes, because he prescribed puberty blockers. I was talking
to the wrong clinician and therefore this was not allowed.
But anyway, so eventually the actual like organizing committee starts
with four people. So it was me, Carrie Corina Cone
who was later testifying in favor of some of these bills,

and then Grace Leedinsky Smith. There were some other people
that were in and out, but they ended up dropping
off very early on. So it was predominantly the four
of us that ended up being the actual formal board
at any point in the early stages, right, And so
we started to draft a lot of this stuff. But like,
over I was starting to wonder about two things, right, Like,

after some exchanges with other board members about who it
is that we should be predominantly outreaching. Should it be
clinicians or should it be people that are actually impacted,
people who have gone through gender affirming care, regardless of
how they identify themselves currently, Like, what is our main priority?

The other board member at the time wanted to focus
more on the clinician route. I did not. My focus
was on if we are going to be doing a
quote unquote patient advocacy organization, we should be focusing on
the people that we are supposed to be connected to, right, Like,

those are who we are. Why would we want to
put more power into the hands of the clinicians that
supposedly harmed people. That doesn't make any sense, right? And then,
like you know, as these wheels were starting to churn,
another part of me was starting to worry that over time,
the trajectory of this organization at that point was going

to start advocating for more restrictions or full out bands
later on in the future, possibly even partnering up with
some of the some of the more right wing groups.
I believe I Actually, I think I worried about them
becoming like the gender care equivalent to Wolf, which was

unfortunately pretty accurate, I would say in terms of my
my concern that was that was part of my my
formal resignation to the board. I stepped down as vice
president about five months after I had joined on because
I could not see any I could not see any
recourse within the group for for changing directions. I couldn't

be party to them hurting other people, even if I
felt hurt at the time, and so I ended up
taking a step back. My vision was still having problems,
but you know what ended up making that a lot easier. Actually,

it's funny. This is not something that was recommended to
me by anybody that I had been talking to about
this stuff, who had been more exposed to anti trans
rhetoric like I. I talked to blind people. Yeah, I
ended up talking to to blind people. I connected with

folks from the National Federation for the Blind. It was
a group that was recommended to me by somebody I
knew from a from a past job that I had
because she was the daughter of somebody who went blind
later in life due to a genetic condition, and he
was a member of the NFB right, he was part
of the federation, and so that was her recommendation to me.

I hadn't reached out at the time. My brain was
too focused in doing this weird we got to save
people kind of bullshit direction. But like, eventually, after I'm
like taking a step back from all of this stuff,
I decided to go ahead and pursue that suggestion from

you know, this random person in my life, not from
anybody I had been connected to in terms of organizing.
And when when I went there, like the only thing
that I ever got was acceptance. There was no questioning.
Nobody asked what happened, Nobody asked like any sort of

details about like my my personal views. Like I didn't
have to express any forms of like, you know, sorrow
or regret or anything like that. A lot of it
was focused on, Okay, these are the issues that you're
currently dealing with. Here are some of the things that
you can work on to make your life easier. Here
are some supports that you can find within your states

if you need to do things like, you know, get
certain kinds of mobility training using a white cane and
the likes. If you need to learn how to use braille,
all of that fun stuff. Here. Here's even like specific
doctors that you could try to go to who can
like really assess what's going on with your vision. Because
before that point I did not have access to specialists.

I was living in like you know, rural main There
was there was nothing there. I would have had to
travel like over three hours to go to Boston for
me to be able to see as specialist. Instead, like
they were able to point me to people who had
specializations in like retinal conditions, and so when I went there,
you know, they they did their usual tests. They ruled

out some things that were known to run in my
family actually, but they did ultimately decide that like my
retinas are not processing light correctly and that it's actually
likely genetic, so unrelated to horrormone youth conrelated to hormone usage.

In fact, you know, as I was going through that
process and I started to reflect on what my vision
was like before I even took hormones, let alone stopping it,
like certain symptoms were actually there, just at a much
lower degree. Since like at least my teens, I already

had difficulties with my night vision. I had difficulties with
color contrasts. Sometimes my light sensitivity wasn't nearly as bad.
Usually it was only with migrains. But time, like you know,
that started to break out more where like even just
like you know, there being too much sunlight was painful

for me. But like some of this stuff, it definitely
predated when I started my transition. But because I wasn't
really given space to actually unpack any of this stuff,
I didn't really have the ability to make those connections. Instead,

what happened was, you know, I join in on this
organizing board. I connect in with three other people that
were looking to advocate in very particular directions. And like,
my story was not something that was meant to get support,

My story was something that was meant to scare people.
I was also nominated as the spokesperson, which meant I
would have had the responsibility to do things like, you know,
respond to the press or give sound quotes or whatever. Right,
I gave certain kinds of descriptions over to a like

a Democratic candidate that we had been scheduled to meet
with Ryan Starzik at the time down in Arizona, and
you know, give the whole spiel, right, you know, A
visible trans person with a story that for a lot
of people who, like most people, are very connected to
their senses, whether that's hearing, vision, touch, or whatever, they

can't conceptualize a life without them, and so it terrifies them. Right,
But like that doesn't actually help the person be able
to get to a point where this is a livable life,
it's even a frame life. There are certain things that
I can do that other people can't do. I can
navigate inside the apartment without having the lights on because

I know where everything is mapped out of my head,
and I can rely on touch. I can pour myself
a glass of water and not have to worry about
its spilling because I can feel where it like goes up.
But that's not really something that like we're not even
allowed to think about. We're not even allowed to think about. Like, Okay,
so if this thing happens to you and there's documented

evidence of it, not like something that's completely imagined, like
my brain decided it was, here's what we can do
to help m's. That's the kind of things that people
really need to be able to access, right, you know,
if something happens to you, these are the things that
you can do to be able to work through this
and live a more comfortable life in the way that

you are happy with. But I don't really see any
of that happening to be perfectly frank well, no, Like,
I'm also thinking back about the like the standards of
care A because like, you know, there's this you know,
inclusion of aspects of regret and de transition and stuff
like that into things like the adolescent chapter. But you

know what, they don't include a chapter for de transition support. Yes, no,
because they're not serious about that.

Speaker 3 (40:09):
I guess they just want to use it as like
a scary story and a justification for controlling people exact
like you know, putting them through a bunch of assessments
or something like that. Like again, I very much believe
that there's a connection between like a desire for more
gatekeeping and psych assessments control over trans people and not
having support for like.

Speaker 4 (40:28):
Do transition for retransition either, because there's not, like.

Speaker 3 (40:32):
I feel like there's even less talk or resources for
people end up retransitioning after de transitioning because no one's
trying to figure out like, oh, like the idea that
do transition could just be temporary or that a lot
of people, you know, go on to retransition later on
or just confirmed for them that they really are trans
Like that's also a thing that you know, just people
don't really want to touch.

Speaker 2 (40:54):
It's one of these things where you know, like pain
is useful to these people, but like the actual like
people experiencing the pain aren't. And you know, and that
has its own perversion center cycle because like, yeah, if
you want to harvest scare stories, you don't want people
getting actual help. And that is an absolutely terrible, insensive

structure for making sure people actually get the care and
the help that they need. And it absolutely sucks.

Speaker 3 (41:28):
Just yeah, oh I remember realizing, like when I was
still a deed triens radical feminist, like realizing that a
whole lot of like people who wanted to restrict or
eliminate transition like like head an investment in my suffering
because you know, I was, and I was struggling a
lot like I do. It can really be hard to

do transition like right now, because there are you know,
there is a lack of resources and support and understanding.
But the thing is, like I you know, I kind
of slowly realized over time. It's just like, oh, all
these people to use my story, but they need me
to suffer for it to like work out for them.
Like they don't have any interest in making my life easier,
Like they don't have any interest in like helping me
like create a good life and being happy. They want me,

they really do want me to be ruined and miserable
forever because they can use like that's more valuable to them,
Like my suffering matters more than my happiness to a
lot of these people. Yeah, Like you know, that was
definitely one of those moments where I was like, what,
like one of those things that eventually, you know, let
me to get disillusion with the whole thing and be like,
you know what I get myself involved with. But yeah, yeah,

it's just it's it is really like sick and perverse.
How how anti trans people like use suffering, use both
transcendi trans people suffering for their own agenda.

Speaker 4 (42:43):
It's awful.

Speaker 2 (42:45):
Yeah, And I think this is something that you know,
there's this is the sort of it's also that there's
a broader set of incentives here too, which is the
sort of the structure of the media market, right which
at the media that's like the like you know, the
the entire media broadly, like you know, like if it bleeds,

it leads right, Like that's that's that's the that's the
actual media model of you know, everything from like your
like shitty local right wing tabloid to like the New
York Times, right. And the way that this plays out
for trans people and for de trans people is that
like the thing that these people that you know, the
journalists also are looking for is suffering, like they don't

really care, you know, like they like, none of these
people ever report stories that are just like, hey, like
I went to a gender clinic and it was great,
Like nobody's gonna like, I don't think anyone's going to
read that, Like I would read that because you know
that's you know, that's great, but like like they don't
care about that there's there's no sort of sensationalism there.

The sensationalism is like, you know, then this is why
you get like the Washington Post interviewing this light. You know,
like these people who are just like, oh, like I
was I worked at a gender clinic, but I was
secretly doing evil or like you know, or or or
you get all of and this is why a lot
of even protrans like media coverage is about things like

suicide rates and about things like you know, like how
like how likely you are to die if you don't
get the healthcare thing you need, because it's it's the
same as CenTra structure. It's the thing, the thing that's
useful to sell to people is suffering and that I
don't know what the solution is to that, because I mean,

I don't know have have media that's not based on profit,
I guess, but like, you know, to decommodify the news.
But that's one of these things where it's like, you know,
like as long as long as like every single like
shitty local newspaper is making all of their money from

like crime scare stories, they're not going to report. They're
not going to You're not gonna get accurate reporting about
police because they need the police to like give the
like feed them all of these shitty crime stories.

Speaker 4 (45:07):

Speaker 2 (45:07):
And this is the same thing here where it's like
you're not going to get actual good reporting about trans
people and about people who do transition because nobody actually
cares about that because the incentive structure is just suffering,
and that trickles down through through the healthcare system and

through you know through the legislative system, and it trickles
down through social networks and what support networks exists and
don't exist. And it's a absolutely like if you were
just to like ask someone, how do you want a
society to be run? Zero people would answer, we want

it to be based on the production of suffering. And
yet we have done this, but it doesn't have to
be like this. To sort of finish that, Dave a
great quote, the ultimate hidden truth of the world is
that it is something that we make and could just
as easily make differently. So let's go build a world
that's safe for trans people. This has been It could

happen here. You can find more of Lee and Kai's
work at Health Liberation Now dot com. I recommend you
go do it. It is great and go and make
the world otherwise.

Speaker 1 (46:30):
It could happen here as a production of cool Zone Media.
For more podcasts from cool Zone Media, visit our website
cool zonemedia dot com, or check us out on the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
You can find sources for It could Happen here, updated
monthly at Coolzonemedia dot com.

Speaker 2 (46:46):
Slash sources.

Speaker 1 (46:47):
Thanks for listening,

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