Nicely done, but I suspect not trans-parent enough for many to grasp the analogy.

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Fortunately as technology gets better, the trip from Normoria to Regenera will go from "impossible" to "the hardest thing you've ever done" to "long hard and difficult" to "a large inconvenience" to "kind of annoying" to "pretty easy honestly". Some brave pioneers have already made the journey.

Regenera will be thrilled at the prospect that anyone can figure out which air they are more suited to without being locked into a choice. Normoria will find this new equilibrium extraordinarily distasteful, even if no one regrets their destination.

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As a Regenerian... I don’t think it’s a bad thing? The only struggles I’ve ever had with it being “harsh” have been a lack of acceptance, not the atmosphere itself. But I suppose that’s my own bias, or just my own allergies to Normoria.

Also, a 1% regret rate for transition-I mean, going to Regenera-is so astronomically low compared to other things that it feels weird to make such a point of it. I will admit that more research needs to be done, I just have yet to here a lot about actual regret compared to the things people like to inflate as an excuse for oppression.

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One solution is to figure out which kids should go where, but I also think there are values we could inculcate in parents that would make the decision less fraught. The analogy kind of breaks down here because I think this is analogous to 'make Normoria and Regenera not be different planets' which doesn't make any sense, so I'll just use non-allegorical language:

I was one of those kids who wished I had been born the opposite sex, insisted on playing female characters in make-believe, made friends mostly with girls throughout elementary school etc., and grew up to be happy as a gay cis man. As far as I remember, my parents not only never treated this like a *crisis*, it wasn't even a topic of discussion - my friends were just my friends. There was never so much as an "aren't there any boys you're friends with?" Nothing like that. If my parents had any suspicions about my sexual orientation before I came out, or my gender identity, they didn't share them with me.

Obviously the pro-trans line here is that I'm just cis and have always been cis. It's definitely true that a lot of trans kids experience gender dysphoria as much more distressing than I did - I was upset by the societal expectation to be friends with kids of your own sex and the fact that sleepaway trips for camp and things like that were segregated by sex so I didn't get to stay with my actual friends, but I wasn't constantly stressing out about it. The gender-critical/anti-trans interpretation is that today more adults push gender-dysphoric kids down a path towards transition, so that could have happened to me if I had been born later (even though that's a meaningless counterfactual).

If all parents acted like my parents, and just let their kids make whatever friends they want, play with whatever toys they want, dress however they want, and they just declined to treat kids' degree of living up to gender norms as noteworthy let alone concerning, the pro-trans argument is it would lead to more out trans adults (because trans people, who are going to exist no matter what, would feel freer and more able to come out), and the gender-critical argument is it would lead to fewer trans adults (because fewer people would feel like it's impossible to be a butch woman or a femme man or whatever). I'm more inclined to believe the pro-trans side here, but I'm not completely sure.

More importantly, though, I don't think we have to answer this question in order to make kids happier and better off. Just don't treat their level of adherence or non-adherence to gender norms as some deeply meaningful thing, unless they tell you it is! You don't have to take a position on at what age a kid can really know they're trans in order to do this. Might not solve this particular debate, but if everyone parented in this way it would be a really good thing regardless.

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After 2 hrs: Number of people worrying a Knowingless-reader might not get the story:

2 (first got 9 likes, but Ben's pun was trans-parent-ly perfect.)

Number of readers asking: "What was that about?"


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Nice post. I agree with the take away. I tend to find myself in the same unpopular middle ground, where I'm fine with trans people, but concerned the fervor to protect trans rights is making people reflexively reject any effort to work out the nuances of who actually is trans and how best to help them. I REALLY wish the a-holes like DeSantis and Abboy on the right would chill out on this issue to make room for reasonable discussion.

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Well, the solution is obvious: pollute the atmospheres of all three planets till they're equally unbreathable to everyone.

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May 29Liked by Aella

I agree that we need to figure out which kids should go where. But I also think it would be helpful to develop technology that will allow transportation between Normoria and Regenera for adults who find out they're allergic.

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Overall this is really great thank you for this piece.

As a parent to a tween with very early (2yrs) symptoms of allergies to Normoria I wish there was more of an emphasis/some option along the lines of "you could also just wait and see with relatively low chances of negative health ramifications if you control certain environmental factors (ie let a child, teen, even young adult++ experiment with air solutions similar to the air of both planets, or provide an environment that doesn't conform to highly moralized or fixed ideas around planet choice etc. before permanently "launching" them)-THIS IS A FUCKING OPTION TOO.

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This is where I am happy that medical practice where I am is that parents cannot override the medical decisions if their kids, regardless of age.

Medical association guidance is for the doctor to assess a kid's capacity to show an understanding of the risks and implications of a medical choice. They do that and the parents can go pound sand.

Yeah, most eight year olds are going to have trouble meeting that bar. But some will hit it more easily than many adults. We can have nauced policies on this stuff without it being some arbitrary number.

If someone demonstrates to society the capacity to generally understand and appreciate the risk profile of a decision, we can let them place their bet and roll the dice as they deem appropriate. Especially in instances where passivity will compel a choice anyways.

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One key problem is that medical gatekeeping of who is diagnosed as trans sexual has historically been deeply flawed. Today's progressive trans epistemology, "I'm trans because I say so", exists in large part in reaction to that gatekeeping.

Despite the majority of trans women being bi/pan sexual historical diagnosis criteria excluded everyone except obligate androphiles. Responding to incentives, trans women lied about their sexuality frustrating research ever since.

Subsequently Blanchard's topology, was in turn predicated on assumptions about how trans women lie in surveys, which in turn arguably made it unfalsifiable. Moreover the classification of trans women as either effeminate gay men who wanted to have sex with straight men, or straight men with an autosexual paraphilia, was never popular among the trans community.

As a trans woman I would love better research about who is and isn't trans and why, but I doubt that it will be politically possible in our lifetime.

That's not even getting in to the giant complication that is non-binary people, many of whom don't even medically transition.

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You accept the underlying idea that Regenera & it's benefits are real and that some kids must be sent there. The issue I take with that is an array of weak evidence that makes me wary of every informations on that subject: the unreliableness of some early researchers (here goes the usual mention of John Money, it's a bit of a dead horse, but goddamn, it poison the well of "trust the researchers"), how, afaik, the consumption of psychiatric medication on Regenera is still orders of magnitudes higher than on either earth or Normoria (which begs the question, how fine are these kids, really?), or how your go-to example for "kid on Normoria find out he suppressed his symptoms" is "he took psychedelic drugs which really blew his mind". Maybe I'm really, really old-school, but a drug trip don't sound a very sane way of finding out who you are.

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I think most people will get the analogy. It doesn’t really reflect the whole debate though. After all you missed people who say that the children should turn adult before they take the space ship.

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at the end of the day I don't really trust people to judge their kid's gender that much. Most people who get gender re-assignment surgery are not trans, they're intersex. It sucks when an intersex male who goes on to live their entire life as a man of their own violation gets medically transitioned to a female. Often times the parents are too embarassed to let their kid change from the gender their friends and family originally was labeled. They'd rather have a gay butch daughter than a daughter that became their son because they already bought a prom dress, idk. They're too confused, and it's better to not decide, instead of the current method of just removing the gonads of intersex children.

I am fine with chemical transitioning and puberty blockers though, but those three trans kids in the us that surgically transition every year can weight until they're 18. Nikkie Tutorials seems to be doing fine. She's iconic. If we covered transitioning under healtcare or at least expanded childhood healtcare a few years until a kid isn't under the heavy influence of their parents, and people know themselves better without a ton of peer pressure from people they've known since kindergarten, we'd be fine.

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This analogy breaks down right at the start, because there is absolutely no compelling reason to do the irreversible thing to a child. Especially in a period when it looks very much like there is a social contagion of "allergy" symptoms leading to a great many false positives.

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Love your writing and I appreciate you having a go at the topic, but your conclusion is absolutely the wrong question.

The main thing that makes life on Regenera hard is that Normoria is constantly bombing it. It wouldn't matter so much that exactly the right people go to the right planet if the bombing stopped.

Pro-Normorians have made up their minds that no one belongs on Regenera. They think they already have an answer to the question you pose. People who are concerned about the quality of Regeneran lives reasonably believe that stopping the bombing is more important than your question - particularly when we do have some preliminary evidence that the percentage of the people who mistakenly end up there is quite low, the barriers to accessing a rocket to Regenera are so bonkers high, and the bombing distorts the data so much. Waiting for a large-scale longitudinal study before deciding whether to continue the bombing is pretty inhumane.

There are a couple of things in this piece that suggest a bunch of common anti-trans misinformation,. Most importantly, the suggestion that "we're sending a kid to a planet" permanently with the trans care that we're giving kids at the ages of 10-14 is just incredibly misleading.

The suggestion that increased access to trans health care is increasing rates of regret is not supported by the evidence. Social contagion is recycled anti-gay rhetoric, also not supported by the evidence.

#5 is completely ridiculous. There is no Western subculture where being trans is so awesome and exciting and sexy that kids undergo medical transition to be cooler. If there was some obscure corner of the planet where being trans was super cool, couldn't kids get all the coolness benefits from changes in name/pronouns/presentation alone and skip the heavier-duty medical interventions?

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