On Trans Kids, Ask People Who Know

Try looking where the answers are

Tucker Lieberman
9 min readJan 24, 2023

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Guy looking intensely through magnifying glass
Magnifying glass by Tumisu from Pixabay

The New York Times published an article yesterday with a pronounced slant against trans kids. (There’s the unpaywalled gift link.)

The author interviewed a teenager who said: “When you’re trans, you feel like you are in danger all the time.”

I would have led with that, but that’s why I’m not employed by the Times.

Instead, the article focused on the parents’ feelings and assumptions.

Trans Kids At School

In California, students are entitled to privacy about their gender. If they’re using a new name, pronouns, and bathroom, the school can’t divulge this to their parents against the students’ wishes.

Obviously, this is because not all home environments are supportive. The article acknowledges this only sideways, pointing out how these fears can be a sore spot for the parents who feel unfairly accused or prejudged. The article points out the “internet support groups for ‘skeptical’ parents of transgender children,” because these parents feel it’s normal to be skeptical of their children, but when the children turn the skepticism back at their parents, the parents can’t handle it. The parents have feelings.

The article begins with a 15-year-old trans boy who came out as a boy at school before telling his parents. Can you really blame him? When “the student, now 16,” previously “tried to come out to his parents” — as he recalled, and as the Times paraphrased — “they didn’t take it seriously.” Regardless of what that means, what we know for sure is that his mother’s reaction upon learning of her 15-year-old’s identity was to take her son’s story to the New York Times under the mother’s real name, with her disinclination to be fully supportive (“The school is telling me that I have to …be completely supportive [but] there is only so much and so far that I’m willing to go right now”), and her son argues back in the article, anonymously, via the reporter. Which means his mother is taking it seriously, but I’m guessing not at all in the way the son would have preferred (or will want, when he’s a little older and it sinks in what has happened).

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Tucker Lieberman

Editor for Prism & Pen. Author of the novel "Most Famous Short Film of All Time." https://tuckerlieberman.com/