#149: When Kids Say They’re Trans
Ask me to have a conversation about race or sexual orientation, and I can (mostly) hang with you, even when things get hard. Unfortunately, right now, I can’t say the same thing about trans issues. I feel far away. I haven’t done enough listening and learning, and as a result, even pronouns trip me up sometimes. This week’s lead article — a one-hour examination on trans teens — is a solid start. Even though it’s an excellent piece, and I encourage you to read it, I worry that it’s too much for my head, when really my next step should be with my heart.
As of last year, about 150,000 teenagers ages 13 to 17 identified as transgender. For many young people who suffer from gender dysphoria, transitioning is the answer. But some teens say that society’s rigid definitions of gender may lead them to seek hormonal treatments prematurely. This controversial article explores the experiences of trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth. It discusses the nuances of gender affirming care, which aims to “accept and explore a child’s statements about gender identity in a compassionate manner.” And it includes the voices of detransitioners and parents who believe their children’s feelings are just a phase. There’s much to take in — including that everyone in this article is white. (55 min)
Five decades ago, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Myrtis Dightman broke the color barrier in professional rodeo and became one of the best bull riders who ever lived. This excellent profile of Mr. Dightman, now 83, also offers a history of cowboys in Texas (one in four were Black) and the basics of rodeo, in case you want to compete in steer wrestling. (19 min)
Lola, who belongs to loyal subscriber Grace, is very confident on stairs. Nominate your pet to appear in The Highlighter! hltr.co/pets
More than 1 million people die of malaria every year. With genome editing and CRISPR, we can eradicate the Anopheles gambiae mosquito that carries the disease. Shouldn’t we? This article explains why MIT researcher Kevin Esvelt, once a proponent of gene drives, now wants to press pause. Except it might be too late. (24 min)
Growing up, I spent my summers at the San Joaquin County Fair, watching my uncle play donkey baseball and my cousins win livestock competitions. County fairs remain popular today, offering attendees a down-home, rural utopia. But this image comes at a cost. White people are welcome; people of color are not. (13 min)
Thank you for reading The Highlighter #149! Tell me what you thought by using the thumbs below. Also, let’s welcome new subscribers J., Lynn, Jordan, and Mary! If you like this newsletter, please encourage a friend to check out the archives to see if it’s a good match. On the other hand, if you’re not a big fan, please unsubscribe. I’ll see you back here next Thursday at 9:10 am. Have a great week!
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