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

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Or maybe by the time the post devolves into a series of numbered points, with random ideas about social stigma and religions, parents begin to wonder why they are reading about these two awkwardly named planets instead of Robert Howard's _Tower of the Elephant_ or something rad like that.

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"Into the waving green gardens came the Cimmerian, and as the dawn wind blew upon him with the cool fragrance of luxuriant growths, he started like a man waking from a dream. He turned back uncertainly, to stare at the cryptic tower he had just left. Was he bewitched and enchanted? Had he dreamed all that had seemed to have passed? As he looked he saw the gleaming tower sway against the crimson dawn, its jewel-crusted rim sparkling in the growing light, and crash into shining shards."

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Robert Howard was an interesting writer. I think there was a real sensitivity there that he seemed unable to accept in himself; maybe it was the tense mixture between the invincible man he desired to see in the mirror and the vulnerability he experienced that made his best work so rich.

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huh?

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I lost interest halfway through when the narrative unraveled.

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Same. With your original comment.

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Part 13 was a dead giveaway

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I think it generalizes nicely to other controversies too.

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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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Maybe in 200 years

I really really doubt that the clumsy attempts at high-bio-tech will go smoothy given that the plan to prevent flus was "intentional make rats with human like lungs, get those rats sick, ????, prevent mass illness".

Biological systems seem at least 1000x more complex then computers and we dont know what the fuck we are doing with the computers yet, and who knows how deep the rabbthole goes.

I would bet a substantial amount of money that biotech either slows to a crawl as the raw complexity overwhelms our systems of thought around engineering with static newton like physics with high purity metals with simple shapes and angles, or raw chaos as we discard notions of safety to grow quickly.

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I was half way through reading the post when I started formulating a comment in this vein. Alas, I only have a single +1 to give.

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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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My guess is the Normoria steelman would be "social contagion is very likely going to see that % rise"

(Also, separately, 1% still feels really important and I'm not surprised people are making points out of it.)

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1% is important, of course, but when compared to a general regret rate of all surgeries of 14%, how 10% of people regret having children, or how 52% of people regret student loans, it doesn’t feel very high at all. And all of those things are also very permanent!

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Yeah, totally agree! But I mean a similarly low % of people are transgender; you could be like "bro just letting kids grow up through normal puberty has a 2% regret rate, this is way lower than how many people regret having children, going through college, or having any other surgery"

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I guess that makes some sense, but that makes people who detransition a tiny percent of a tiny percent, and a very small group to be making sweeping restrictive legal decisions based on. I’d rather err on the side of letting people live their lives as they please and not seeing being trans like such a bad thing.

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You have to, indeed. - Otoh, if your only struggle is with lack of acceptance: come and get a cuddle. But you will get no hormones et al. before16/18/21/25/ever - and if ever anything, you pay yourself.

Deal?

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I went through most of the post unclear about what the analogy was (top hypothesis was school vs homeschooling), then gave up and scrolled to the comments to see if they explained it

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But I'd honestly forgotten about the trans kid culture war stuff, I'm not eg on Twitter

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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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There's "who you wanna fuck" and there's "what's in your pants" and gender is somewhere between them. I think in the future there'll be more people who are just GNC; express their gender how they feel, but don't bother with changing anything more permanent.

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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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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?"

Zero.

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Did wonder what the issue was, but the top comment clarified what best fit this description set. I am disappointed by the people taking sides in the comments though, even as I know that’s what people will tend to do

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Ok. Thanks for clearing that up (you really read the whole part and thought till the end: No idea what Aella is talking about? Asthma-screening?) -- What are comments for, if not taking a position (aka "sides")? Agreed, one can do a few other things, but the main use of a car is to drive, right?

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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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May 29, 2023·edited May 29, 2023

What if the answer is almost no kids? Doesn’t seem like people are interested in the actual answer, just the ones that appeal to them.

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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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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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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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Parents can go pound sand is honestly such a terrible take on this. It doesn't scream "nuanced policies" to me.

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Jun 1, 2023·edited Jun 1, 2023

Well, when you strip the statement of context and conditionals, I suppose you are right. It is a terrible take with no nuance.

Thank you for drawing that to my attention.

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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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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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People who start taking hormones as children will often be better-looking than people who start taking hormones as adults (just look at Hunter Schafer!) Plus, teenagers are restless and seldom like to wait. But that might not count as compelling reasons.

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People might be better-looking as adults if they get plastic surgery as kids, too. So what? There are reasons we don't allow people under 18 to sign binding contracts, why there is such a thing as an age of consent, legal drinking age, legal smoking age, and in general, why children are not legally allowed to make permanent decisions about their future. We don't consider them to be competent to make an informed decision. And given how brain development works there's a good scientific basis for that belief. Limiting traffic to Regenera to people whose frontal lobes have fully developed and who are genuinely capable of understanding the consequences seems like the means of least harm.

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That seems like a double standard. Why should we allow people to go to Normoria before their frontal lobes have fully developed?

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It is a double standard, but one that is, I think, socially inevitable. There's just no way to bring the age of consent up to age 25, which is when biological males are likely to have a fully formed frontal cortex. I think people would also buck at the idea that the age of consent for women should be lower. Sexual dimorphism is a bitch. (Which could be the subtitle of this whole discussion, I guess.)

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Sending the kids to N. is just as irreversible a decision as sending them to R.

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See that is where the analogy breaks down badly. You aren’t “sending them” anywhere, they are already there, they start there.

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Nope. N is the default. None of the kids are staying on earth. Re-read.

In our life: none of the kids stay kids. All grow up. Now, we CAN have them all grow up showing them "cis-Normative is the way to be and if you feel different: suffer in silence". Or we CAN tell them kinda early: "listen to your heart, maybe you are a girl/boy deep inside? Oh, you think you may? Quickly, let us do those tests and get you on the treatment, the earlier, the better, insurance covers it. "

The "analogy" of two planets may break down, where it is possible to find a compromise ( I find both approaches wrong, the 2nd worse.). But however this compromise will look like; some kids will lose out. To which I shrug - if we tried our best. Who promised you a rose-garden? (e.g.: ALL our kids are forced into schools-as they-are-not-as-they-should-be, in the US: nearly all.)

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Again a failure of the analogy. Puberty blockers are much more analogous to "staying on Earth" than not. It's a means of suppressing parts of the child's development into adulthood.

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I read the thing, and specifically said that is where the analogy breaks down.

Kids don’t stay kids, but they also don’t stay short. Maybe some people secretly identify as 3foot tall and we should be cutting their long bones or removing their pituitary glands?

You can come with all sorts of things that might be another alternative. Treating that as “well something is going to happen regardless so this isn’t really some major intervention” is absurd.

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We let ppl who want to be a 6-footer lengthen their legs/ give treatment (very young underage Lionel Messie got it paid by FC Barcelona) / use shoes with inlays etc.; don't we? If s.o. should set his/her/whatever mind to be shorter - I am fine with that. - The analogy does not break here or there. Neither the text nor irrelevant me claims " “well something is going to happen regardless so this isn’t really some major intervention”. The text is all about that it is a HUGE intervention and and difficult decision to make - and adds: calling all members of the other group evil does make things worse.

If it helps: I assume most "transgenders" now are fake/made. I oppose most gov.-interventions. And prefer my kids to be not confronted with some stuff early on. - Still, I am aware there are kids and teens who are different and will stay different. And will say at 10 and 20 and 50 years: "I wanted the treatment then, I want it now, Why was I banned from getting it when it had helped me most!?" - if we ban it at 9. (Put whatever age you want.) You and I may be willing to live with that "guilt". ;) But the Jacko is out of the box, https://betonit.substack.com/p/lgbt-explosion

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Again, that's where the analogy breaks down. "Sending the kids to N" is an intervention. In the actual case, it's not. In the real world, you're comparing an irreversible intervention (which can be made when the child has reached adulthood) with no intervention. That's not how the analogy is set up.

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That's not quite right. In the real world, you're comparing a hard-to-reverse action with a hard-to-reverse inaction. Both are similarly hard to reverse, the main difference is action vs inaction. Is potentially harming a person via action worse than potentially harming them via inaction? (If you think the answer is obvious, I'm sure there are people here who agree with you that it's obvious but disagree on the answer).

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Well, actually growing into adulthood is impossible to reverse. That's a one way ticket. And yes, most people who engage with the trolley problem end up concluding that deliberate harm is morally worse than harm through inaction. Perhaps more to the point, the harms from taking action that turns out to be incorrect are far, far graver in the real world. Permanent infertility and sexual dysfunction are pretty obviously greater harms than lesser aesthetic success of transition if it's delayed.

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Good point about fertility and sexual dysfunction. To be honest, I fell for typical mind fallacy and forgot that most people value fertility and sex a lot more than I do 😅.

I think you are underestimating the harms of delaying the transition, but that is not relevant to this specific question because those harms are also present if you transition and detransition.

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I wonder how many of the harms of delaying transition that you are thinking of are essentially social though. And whether addressing social harms isn't a whole separate question?

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Facts

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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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"People shouldn’t be sending anybody to Regenera, they argued. The vast majority of kids were naturally compatible with Normoria’s air. If you send an allergic kid to Normoria, then they can choose to use breathing tubes once they get old enough, once they’re an adult and can decide for themselves if they’re allergic. Kids are too young to be making permanent decisions about their future!"

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That seems unrelated. Instead of sending kids to Normoria and then letting them use breathing tubes if they choose to, we could *delay the launch* until the kids are old enough to decide which planet is right for them. Instead of doing nothing and making the kids to go through puberty that might be wrong for them, we can put them on blockers until they're old enough to decide which puberty they want.

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in this analogy, Regenera *is* delaying the launch; but delaying the launch in itself has permanent effects.

It would be pretty ideal to have puberty blockers without long term side effects though I agree; in that case the 'wait to launch them' analogy would make more sense.

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