I am excited to announce that my abstract was accepted to the Trans* Studies Conference in Tucson, Arizona, held on September 7-1oth!
Abstract: Gender-Critical Parenting and Transgender Children: An Analysis of the Blog 4th Wave Now
In the last decade, an increasing number of transgender children have been coming out and are being supported by parents, affirmative therapists, and welcoming school communities. Yet, public debate about what is the right approach in regards to these children’s transitions can be fraught, especially as their stories gain more attention in the mainstream media. In this paper, I examine a blog, 4th Wave Now, which was initially started by a “gender critical mom of a would-be FTM” and has grown into a community of “parents and friends skeptical of the ‘transgender child’ trend.” Using arguments similar to Sheila Jeffrey’s 2010 article on the “transgendering of children,” this blog encourages gender non-conformity and queer sexual identities but is against children or teens transitioning. In this paper I argue that while the author of 4th Wave Now presents a gender-critical framework commonly seen on trans-exclusionary radical feminist websites, what is new to her writing is her detailed attention to psychological research and media narratives about the trans child. Drawing on theory from childhood studies scholars I analyze in particular the anti-transition narratives that are constructed around the idea of the child and childhood: the innocent child needing protection from adult trans activists, the child as not fully developed, the child as easily influenced or confused, and finally, the idea that parents’ “know best.”
[The graphic of dinosaur and the trans symbol is a sticker made by Sophia LaBelle, an amazing comic artist. Check out her comic Assigned Male.]