Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Leor Sapir On Transing Gender-Dysphoric Kids

Appears in this episode

Andrew Sullivan

Leor is a writer and researcher. He’s currently a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a frequent contributor to City Journal, particularly on issues of gender identity and public policy. I know of few people more likely to provide light than heat in the agonizing debate over treatment for children with gender dysphoria.

You can listen to the episode right away in the audio player above (or on the right side of the player, click “Listen On” to add the Dishcast feed to your favorite podcast app). For two clips of our convo — on the sudden skyrocketing of girls seeking transition, and how the medicalizing of trans kids destroys their ability to have orgasms in the future — pop over to our YouTube page.

Other topics: Leor’s childhood bouncing between the US and a kibbutz in Israel; getting drafted into the IDF and serving in a combat unit; traveling the globe afterwards; getting a BA in Haifa and a PhD at Boston College; doing a Harvard postdoc on the Obama administration’s redefinition of male and female under Title IX; the Dutch protocol; the shift from “transexual” to “transgender”; Stoller and Money; the Reimer twins; how there’s no single definition of “transgender” in Gender Studies; autogynephilia; how “early-onset gender dysphoria” is mostly effeminate boys who turn out to be gay; Jazz Jennings; Marci Bowers; how puberty blockers were originally a “pause button” — not a transition method; the suicide scare-tactic; the Tavistock Center and Time to Think; the US shift from “watchful waiting” to “gender-affirming care”; the shifting rhetoric of “conversion therapy” and “born that way”; trans athletes; the euphoric effect of a T surge; Masha Gessen; Rachel Levine; how “nonbinary” is one of the fastest growing identities; and tales of detransition.

Browse the Dishcast archive for another convo you might enjoy (the first 102 episodes are free in their entirety — subscribe to get everything else). Coming up: Ian Buruma on his new book The Collaborators: Three Stories of Deception and Survival in World War II, the young reactionary Spencer Klavan, and Martha Nussbaum on her book Justice For Animals. Later on: Matthew Crawford, David Brooks and Pamela Paul. Please send any guest recs, pod dissent and other comments to

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