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Some story-makers engage in “retconning” – making new stories continuous with old ones by changing elements of the old one retrospectively. Famously  – at least, for people my age and older – in the soap opera Dallas the character Bobby, previously killed off, was brought back a whole series later, alive, with the explanation that it had all been a dream while he was in the shower.

In transactivism, a form of retconning takes place all the time, as a further means of producing convincing back stories for current fictions. So much of the transactivist story-world depends on trans people having been a permanent feature of human life throughout history, no matter what the surrounding cultural or historical context. And so we find the retrospective fictional transing of notable sex-non-conforming figures from history: for instance, Marsha P. Johnson; Ewan Forbes; James Barry; Joan of Arc; Queen Hatshepsut; Kurt Cobain. We also get the creative reinterpretation of other cultural traditions, with the Hijra, Fa’afafine, Fakaleitī, and Kathoey people all anomalously represented under the essentially Western, relatively modern concept of “trans”.

And then, of course, we also get the fiction of the “trans” child – the most audacious retcon of them all.  Transwomen who are “women” must once have been “girls”, and transmen who are “men” must once have been “boys” – which, by extrapolation, means that there must be “girls” in the population of male children, and “boys” in the population of female children, right now. “Trans” children (so often female, but never mind about that) “know who they are”, and should have the “freedom to be themselves”, we are told; yet this “freedom” may well involve a child’s taking drugs that will make her infertile; or give her premature osteoporosis; or bring about the surgical removal of her breasts, ovaries, and womb before she’s had any chance to reflect on the implications.  Thousands of children and teens worldwide have been encouraged by adults to thoroughly immerse themselves in this fiction – indeed, to start believing in it, full stop –  instead of treating it as one make-believe game among many, as part of a healthy development. Children’s bodies are being used as props in adult dramas they have no way of properly understanding until it’s too late for them.

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