I posted my best songs of the year list the other day in case you missed it.
My book of short stories A Creature Wanting Form is available for pre-order now.
If you were a consumer of right wing media – or the legacy prestige media which is the same thing more or less – you might be under the impression based on the coverage over the last couple of years that every day thousands of children are undergoing gender-affirming surgery. It must be an overwhelming surge considering how often they talk about it right? (Like in this latest piece from New York mag by Jonathan Fucking Chait of all people.)
But according to a recent study by Reuters and Komodo Health who searched through the insurance claims of 330 million Americans between 2017-2021 the actual number is quite miniscule. Yes the number of children ages 6-17 receiving a diagnosis of gender dysphoria has been on the rise but that does not translate into – as I've written in here before – a revolving door outside of the operating room.
I love this idea by the way that children can just stroll into the transitioning store and there's a doctor there ready to treat them like a used car salesman. We're pricing these babies to move! Do these people have any idea how much of a pain in the ass it is to get the most basic medical care in general?
Here is what they found in terms of actual numbers...
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Even less frequent were genital surgeries. They found a total of 56 among patients ages 13 to 17 from 2019 to 2021.
There are around 50 million children age 6-17 in this country. I'm not particularly good at math but does a couple hundred surgeries and maybe a few thousand kids on hormone therapy a year strike you as a particularly large percentage of 50 million?
Believe me I know from writing this newsletter that we all have to pick and choose from the panoply of pain in this country to find the issues that specifically get up our ass. One simply cannot hold the breadth of American tragedy in their hearts and minds all at once. But if this right here is the issue you are obsessed with and rail about constantly above all else it's a bit suspect as regards what your actual motives are. Considering how many millions of children are harmed yearly by lack of access or under-access to treatment in our more routine for-profit healthcare system I don't think these people are completely sincere in their concerns about child medical welfare writ large.
I am sorry but I just don't fucking believe you.
That isn't to say that something happening to a small number of people can be dismissed out of hand but the outsized salacious coverage of "the trans question" all over the media suggests that there is something else going on here. As I wrote the other day:
The tip of the spear of American fascism at this point in time begins with transphobia and moves outward from there. Journalists who are sincerely concerned about preventing its further spread would do well to figure out in short order exactly which side it is that they are on.
Regarding caring about kids:
There were roughly four million children without health insurance of any kind in the U.S. in 2021 according to the Census Bureau. That number was touted as a big success compared to previous years.
In 2019-2020 almost 11% of children in the U.S. experienced food insecurity according to the CDC.
Millions more suffer from housing insecurity and instability as well. Over 1.3 million children under six were unhoused in 2017 and more than 1.5 million unhoused children were enrolled in public schools that year.
And as I mentioned previously guns have finally overtaken cars as the leading cause of death for people under twenty in the U.S.
We also are one of the few countries in the world that has no form of parental leave on the federal level.
Not to mention this little gauntlet we make hungry kids run through:
Again I am not saying "ah so you talk about this but not that..." which is a lazy form of Twitter hypocrisy-sniffing. I am saying that if you elevate a relative statistical anomaly into the centerpiece of your entire ideology while simultaneously ignoring related problems then perhaps you have an ulterior motive.
This is in fact what is happening here with anti-trans-obsessed freaks. These people are not concerned with the wellbeing of children they are motivated by anger and fear and more than anything else a desire to own the libs. They just couch it all in this shit-eating pose of concern for children as if they think that's an impenetrable defense and we can't see what they're actually doing.
Consider this recent effort by Ken Paxton one of the most vile politicians in the country to put together lists of people who have undergone gender-affirming surgery. Do you suppose he's working on his Christmas card list?
Or Ron DeSantis' continued attacks on trans youth and healthcare.
You would think the leaders of large states like these with all sorts of other problems going on might put this one on the backburner for a while but they sense that there's culture war blood in the water and that is all they know how to do. (Never mind that talking about this shit above all else didn't exactly pay dividends in the midterms.)
Caring about any of a host of other issues causing millions of children to suffer every day in this country would require affirmative and uplifting and generous solutions. None of these people want any of that. They want to be able to enact a separate type of suffering on a distinct minority.
There is no such thing as compassion in the right wing worldview there is only punishment and the delighting in having seen others punished. None of this is about protecting anyone this is about destroying them. Their ongoing conflation of anything to do with trans people – and increasingly LGB people as well – with groomers and pedophiles gives the game away. They wouldn't be satisfied if we came out and said ok fine no surgery for kids of any kind anymore they would simply move further down the line on the project of constricting the rights of trans adults. The number of anti-trans bills in states around the country is already exploding.
So no this isn't about kids.
Again: I do not fucking believe you.
They are simply attempting to clawback some of the losses they experienced that came with broader societal acceptance of LGBT people over the past decade or so and revert things back to a status quo that they are more comfortable living inside of. One with themselves defined as the normal default American. If children have to suffer along the way so be it. It was never about helping any of them anyway.
Alright here's some lighter shit before I go.
That gag reminded me of this from one of the first ever Hell Worlds.
The electrician found the body that morning but I guess it took a little while for the news to spread. It had been waiting there for three days but we didn’t know that yet we just knew all of a sudden that a person was a body now and that was that. It would have been early evening when I found out about it. April. My football coach broke the news to me in a football coach voice because that was how you found out about things back then. You’d walk around not knowing some shit until someone would tell you and then you had to wait to bump into someone else and go ahead and tell them. I don’t remember exactly what he said but it was something like ay your boyfriend Kurt Cobain killed himself. Football coaches don’t like it when you care about anything other than football such as music for example which is for homosexuals. Kurt was twenty-seven years old which everyone remembers as the famous age to be dead at. I remember my coach mispronounced his name as Co-burn which is something a football coach would do on purpose to fuck with you and then we had to go and lift weights. I don’t remember if we listened to Nirvana while we lifted the weights but I hope we did not.
Like fifteen years later a friend of mine was at the state fair in New Hampshire and he took a video of an Army guy at a recruiting tent doing pushups while “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was blasting out of his truck speakers and I sometimes wish he hadn’t shown me that shit.
The other day I was talking about the delight of accidental poetry that pops up on Twitter from time to time. Collections of words you've never seen before.
Landing is a very vulnerable time for an airplane.
lol I am sorry to laugh at my own joke but I got myself here with this next one. We Massachusetts Irish do have very large pumpkin domes.
I know I put a song by Brutus on my top 50 list the other day but I was wrong to not put them much closer to the top now that I've listened to their new Unison Life about fifty more times since then. Dear god.
And then after that I went back and watched a couple of videos of them performing their older song War one thousand times in a row this week. I am absolutely obsessed.
Please watch both of these. I haven't felt this way about a song or a band in a long time.
Alright. Thanks again for being a supporter. See you next week.