More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Gender-Affirming


“Gender-affirming” can be used in a couple of ways. One is just generically by itself, suggesting that a male announces he’s a female or a female announces she’s a male, and someone with no qualifications at all to diagnose or treat gender dysphoria, e.g., a school teacher, takes the announcement at face value and encourages the person to “be who they are,” or some such thing.

“Gender-affirming” can also be used in a phrase, often “gender-affirming therapy.” Is that really the job of a therapist, to “affirm” whatever self-diagnosis a patient presents with, perhaps accompanied by a little pat on the head? I thought the job of a therapist was to get to the root of whatever is causing a problem in a patient’s life and to work with them in a way that enables them to move forward.

And the root of the problem may not be what the patient says it is.

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