Bias Watch

Marjorie Taylor Greene called out for promoting likely fake trans teen story

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene laughed at the suggestion that monkeypox is a global health threat
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) Photo: Screenshot

While Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has been under fire during Presidents’ Day weekend for calling for secession, she also promoted an unlikely and unverified story about a transgender teenager who regrets taking testosterone as part of hormone replacement therapy.

The eccentric Canadian anti-transgender activist Chris Elston posted a screenshot to Twitter of a story an anonymous person wrote on Reddit. Greene decided to share that with her nearly two million followers and wrote: “This is incredibly heartbreaking. We must pass my bill Protect Children’s Innocence Act.”

“Let kids be kids!!”

The story was posted to Reddit, a largely anonymous social media platform where many users share personal stories as well as “creative writing exercises,” where people make up stories that they claim are from their personal lives. The anonymity means that they can’t be verified.

Last year, for example, an entire subreddit (a section of the site devoted to a particular subject) was found to be populated by people pretending to be parents forcing their kids to be transgender. The story Elston posted to Twitter comes from r/detrans, a subreddit that promotes anti-transgender rhetoric.

In the story, a trans teen claims to be 14 and “on testosterone for 14 months,” which would mean that they started T at the unusually young age of 12 or 13. WPATH guidelines suggest starting T after age 16.

The writer said that they detransitioned early in the COVID-19 pandemic and felt “happier.” Instead of telling their doctor and stopping their transition, though, they said that they felt “a little pressure from my trans peers and family, i felt like i had to start transitioning again because i was scared of what people would say about me being a girl again.”

They say that they “cried when my best friend told me she didn’t see me any differently than a cis man,” but say they can’t stop hormone replacement therapy because they are “SO scared about what my trans friends, my family, people who knew me as a kid, etc. will say about it.”

While the anonymous internet story hasn’t been verified or disproved, it raises a few red flags in addition to the very young age at which the writer claims to have started hormone replacement therapy.

The idea that parents and other transgender people are pressuring cisgender kids to transition is a commonly held belief among transphobic people, as is the notion that healthcare providers are railroading cisgender teens through transitions without even listening to them. In reality, the process of transitioning is long and cumbersome with many opportunities for a patient to opt out. Transgender people generally support other people’s gender journeys no matter where they lead, and it’s far more common for parents to pressure their kids not to transition than to pressure them to transition.

On Twitter, people mocked Greene for sharing the story and claiming to want to protect children while she opposes abortion rights – she even called the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade a “miracle” last year.

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