There has long been resistance against children who try to come out as trans — or more precisely, resistance against listening to a young trans person who voices that they’re a girl or a boy in spite of how they were (coercively) assigned at birth.
This resistance, however, is becoming more publicly discussed. We are seeing the emergence of a new variation on an old, cissexist theme: “No, it’s not a good time for you to transition. This is going to be so hard on us. Oh won’t you wait or reconsider this choice for us normal people?”
With this sentiment now being openly directed at trans people during their childhood — now that trans children have been magically made ‘real’ within the cisnormative imagination — it is finally possible now to reveal to cis people plainly that saying, “Maybe you shouldn’t transition right now,” to a trans person is a message which does occur at every age and at every turn.
Their subtext is plain and unambiguous to nearly every trans person: “Maybe you should never transition.”
There are several variations on this overarching theme for obstructing a trans person’s agency to transition.
Each variation is dependent on which corridor of one’s life a trans person finds themselves once they are ready to assert their agency over their future and over their body. These corridors are developed from a cisnormative world view on when a body should develop and how a person should be socialized. These corridors are not necessarily the choosing of trans people, but trans people are nevertheless bound to those terms when cis people direct them on what they should not be doing for themselves.
“Corridor” — while impressing the idea that time is somehow synonymous with space (yes, there is spacetime, but let’s keep it simple) — offers a useful metaphor to visualize the one-way directionality of growing older and how messages directed at someone are discrete and distinct based on how old other people believe them to be.
For trans children, often under the age of 10, to now be publicly berated and to be told that their coming out and transition as children is abominable — the Girl Scouts in Louisiana comes to mind, as does a certain washroom case in Maine — it is now possible to recognize that there are four discrete corridors of cisnormative resistance toward trans people’s readiness to transition.
First corridor, pre-adolescence: “You don’t know any better. You’re too young to understand”;
Second corridor, during adolescence: “It’s a confusing time. Wait until after puberty’s done”;
Third corridor, late development: “You should wait until you’re totally sure. You’ll never pass”; and
Final corridor, maturation: “You’re having a mid-life crisis. What about your kids, spouse, and career?”