The Trans War on Tomboys

“It was totally normal, until quite recently, for girls to be boyish without interference. Some grew up to be gay or bisexual; many didn’t. Quite a few girls dressed boyishly and had interests typically associated with boys—machines, adventure, Dungeons & Dragons, football—but no one had a problem with it. No one would have dreamed of suggesting that such behavior indicated that the tomboy was really a boy trapped in a girl’s body. In fact, no one said anything about it at all.

Though I am now middle-aged, this wasn’t a very long time ago. Of course, it is always tempting to imagine that one’s childhood coincided with the perfecting of history. But honestly, it is hard to imagine a more emancipated moment. As children and teenagers, we experienced what can only be described as a kind of positive indifference, and at the end of history, no less. We were free to wear what we liked, play whatever games we wanted, and hang out with children of the opposite sex—as long as we were home for dinner.

Between then and now, however, something sinister has occurred: an elevation of the importance of gender over character, identity over becoming. Today, the boyish girl is in danger of being told she was “born in the wrong body,” and whisked off to a gender clinic to begin the journey from puberty blockers to breast removal to reproductive surgery and, ultimately, infertility. Setting children on this path—one that many regret—is an obvious, grotesque harm. We have taken a terribly wrong turn in allowing pharmaceutical companies to construct lifelong patients out of healthy children.”