Canada Research Chair on Transgender Children and Their Families

Midday conference with Mélanie Millette, Olivier Turbide and Edith Paré-Roy

Title: Preliminary analyzes of the coverage of “detransition” in the international press (2017-2020)

Detransition, i.e. the discontinuation of a social, medical and/or legal gender transition, has received increased media attention in recent years. This study focuses on the universes of meaning mobilized in the discourse of the written press on this phenomenon. From a critical perspective, this study aims to map the definitions, characterizations and representations of detransition circulating in the international written press. To do this, a thematic analysis of media framings was carried out on a corpus of 192 journalistic articles dealing with detransition, published between June 1, 2017 and December 31, 2020. These articles, in French or in English, come mainly from the United States. United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and France. Three major news events have influenced media treatment of detransition: the trial of Keira Bell, a detrans woman who sued the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust Clinic, UK, for prescribing hormone blockers to the age of 16; the transphobic tweets of J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, who invoked detransition to invalidate the transition; and Keira Bell’s legal victory. More than the domination of a framing that equates the transition with a misstep, the preliminary results reveal the presence of a typical rhetorical structure that tends, implicitly, to condemn any fluid approach to gender identity.