Have you met a concern troll? A concern troll is someone who poses as a potential ally, just seeking information, but they are really a critic. An anti-trans concern troll might say something like, “Transgender people often regret…” or “We don’t know the long term effects of puberty blockers on children… .”

It can be difficult to talk to concern trolls because while they are posing as a seeming ally, their actual goal is to undermine your cause. The anti-trans concern troll will find a way bring up reasons why trans people shouldn’t receive health care, or support, or myriad other negative points.

As a parent, how can you combat anti-concern trolls? The best way to to know how to spot them, and how to respond to their very limited repertoire of arguments. Brynn Tannehill, Director of Advocacy for SPARTA has compiled a handy guide to do exactly that.

From the Huffington Post:

1. Concern Troll says, “Transgender people often regret…”

Any time the subject of regret comes up in the media, it’s usually in the context of denying transgender people affirming care, or preventing them from transitioning. Because concern troll is very worried about the well being of transgender people, and doesn’t want them to rush into anything. Really.

The reality is that the existing guidelines for the treatment of transgender people are designed to prevent people from rushing into transition already, and follow a conservative timeline in order to prevent misdiagnoses. As a result virtually every modern study puts regret below 2 percent. In some other recent longitudinal studies, none of the subjects expressed regret over medically transitioning. When people cited in anecdotes do have regrets, it is mostly because of lack of acceptance, or poor surgical outcomes.

In short, concern troll is more worried about the 1 percent of transgender people who MIGHT not benefit from transition, at the expense of the 99 percent who will.

Read more from Tannehill on how to respond to other anti-trans statements, such as:

“What if society completely accepted gender variance? Then we wouldn’t have to…”

“80 percent of children with cross gender identification desist…”

“Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins…”

“We don’t know the long term effects of puberty blockers on children…”

“The 2011 Swedish study…”

“What if people didn’t have to be transgender?”

“The quality of studies on transgender people are poor…”

“Transgender is really a sexual disorder.”

“We give health care to transgender people, and bad things still happen.”

Have you heard any of these statements from anti-trans concern trolls? How did you respond? 

For more guidance on how to support your children against these anti-trans critics, check out the Resources page.