Dateline: New York, New York, May 6, 2027
When you look back at it, what’s most striking is how it seemed like nothing much was happening…and then it happened all at once. Like watching a thunderstorm roll in over the prairie: the sky strobes with flashes of far-off lightning and the thunder is a barely audible rumble, the clouds mass slowly, the wind picks up bit by bit, but it seems hundreds of miles away; until suddenly it’s right on top of you and pouring down like there’s no tomorrow.
Was it the emergence of PUFF (Parents United For Fairness), the nationwide group of outraged soccer dads and softball moms, who finally rose up as one to demand that girls be included in sports, once every team at every school became comprised exclusively of males and transwomen? Or was it in 2020, when 57% of all gold medals awarded at the Olympics in women’s events were given to biological men?
Or was it the simultaneous, highly publicized nationwide demonstrations aimed at the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, by mobs of furious gays and lesbians, chanting “no gay eugenics” and demanding their movement back? Was it the Oprah episode featuring 15 de-transitioned adults, which made #HowCouldYouDoThisToMeMom the third fastest trending hashtag in Twitter history? Many thought the death blow came with the sex abuse scandals. Interpol had been on the trail of “transition porn” for years, and when the Boston Globe blew the lid off in 2023, many thought the writing was on the wall.
But even though all this helped lead to the eventual fall of the once all-powerful “pediatric T lobby,” the day the movement died was when the trial lawyers smelled blood in the water.
The first rumblings came when the hospitals started spinning off their gender clinics into separate corporations and classifying clinic workers as independent contractors. Medical schools and teaching hospitals started trying to put as much daylight as possible between their own organizations and the gender crew. Pediatric gender doctors began setting up contingency plans for a hasty exit from the practice and quietly moving assets abroad. Insurance companies, faced by skyrocketing costs associated with transition, were by then doubly rocked by the realization that transition would only be the starting point for years of expensive treatments for chronic illnesses brought on by those same pricey procedures and drugs.
Managers of “gender clinics” belatedly realized that it might have been better to impose a distinction between transgender political advocacy and medical advice. They started cracking down on therapists and doctors who made policy and pursued professional vendettas on Twitter and Facebook, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, it was a case of too little, too late. It took a while to weed out the clinicians who advertised primarily on Tumblr and other youth-oriented platforms, although all of that evidence came in handy later on in courtrooms across the United States. (To this day, the Trial Lawyers of America sends the “Testpocalypse” doctor a bouquet of roses for his birthday.)
By this point, all 50 states had passed legislation that permitted “gender confirmation surgery” and cross-hormone treatment for children as young as six. But by 2021, the first wave began to emerge of frightened, sick, and miserable adults. Few of these individuals were counted or helped by the then-ubiquitous gender clinics, and even though their stories were suppressed by every mainstream and QT media outlet, new underground story-telling techniques started to connect them to each other. The most prominent voice among them was Brayden, a rising star on the once-popular Trans Channel who had begun his transition at age 7 months. By then the permanently disabled victim of years of unproven drug therapies and repeated (and unsuccessful) surgeries, all of which were televised, Brayden became a crusader for the “lost generation,” as the legions of victims began to call themselves. Telegenic and appealing, before he passed away Brayden became the “face” of the movement, and achieved what thousands of previous victims could not: attracting sympathetic news coverage from the many outlets that had once been under the sway of the all-powerful T lobby.
Eventually the stories of the lost generation reached the ears of people who had a tremendous financial interest in seeing to it that they received justice, or at least compensation. The first lawsuits were launched. How could we forget that moment in 2022 when, right after he filed the first of what became dozens of lawsuits, a key plaintiff’s class-action attorney was interviewed on the steps of the Southern District of New York: “Dude, we brought the cigarette industry down. You really think this is going to be hard?”
Although there were several tricky legal problems that had to be resolved first, the plaintiff’s bar sat up and took notice when in 2025 a Texas jury delivered the first successful $10,000,000 verdict for “wrongful transition.”
The verdict was later reduced on appeal, but not until discovery had revealed the astronomically high expenses that would be entailed in providing lifetime care for a young person suffering from fragile bones, peeling and broken teeth, severe mood disorder, cardiovascular disease, and, of course, sterility. It developed that “informed consent” was anything but, since nobody involved with that documentation actually had any idea of what was being consented to. Although practitioners had hoped this paperwork would shield them from liability, one of the earliest cases in the area established that neither minors nor their parents could provide informed consent to unknown, and unknowable, medical consequences. The courts also generally affirmed that patients couldn’t “waive” their care providers’ gross negligence: who knew?
After that, it was off to the races, legally speaking. Everybody left standing got sued (although by then, most of the top “pediatric gender specialists” had re-located or made themselves judgment-proof). Insurance companies were the first to crumble: faced with virtually unlimited future expenses, they imposed a blanket denial of coverage for any “gender therapies” for under-age 18 patients. R.I.C.O. (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) proved a remarkably flexible tool for pursuing groups of affiliated health care providers, surgeons, counselors, drug makers, and the advocates who had encouraged and developed a steady stream of patients.
The NIH finally got into the game when in 2025, it began to finance large-scale studies of young people who had received GnRH agonists at a young age, followed by cross-sex hormones. Unfortunately, there was no shortage of damaged and ill subjects. At the congressional hearings that started later that year, government “watchdogs” were faced with angry speeches in the form of questions. What congress-people from both sides of the aisle urgently wanted to know was why the FDA had permitted human experimentation on, and sterilization of, children, in violation not only of medical ethics but the Geneva Conventions. There was no good answer.
Many of the “transgender reforms” were reversed as quickly as they’d been enacted. For instance, the mandatory “Might You Be Trans? No, Think About It … Really, Might You Be?” psychological screening test administered at the start of the school year for all pupils in all grades was abruptly discontinued. Hormone-suppressing drugs and cross-sex hormones were pulled from the shelves of school infirmaries everywhere. Congress amended Title IX again, and sports authorities everywhere agreed to pretend that the period from 2015-2027 “just didn’t happen.”
Few of these developments healed the victims. However, a portion of the immense liability pay-outs were eventually directed to the establishment of a nationwide fund, from which disbursements could be made to qualified plaintiffs.
As might be expected, no word was ever heard from most in the press. There was a limited amount of soul-searching in academia (Pediatric Transition and Satanic Panic: Did We Really Get It Wrong Again? was one of the most-downloaded papers on PubMed in 2028) but by and large, the majority of the most vocal trans-proponents in the press simply “moved on,” and wished everyone else would, too.
By far the most enduring impact of the rise and fall of trans-mania, as it came to be called, will be its impact on the culture wars. The line between “conservatives” and “liberals” became increasingly blurred, as people on both sides began, first, to realize that they indeed had a common interest and, second, that they could work together effectively despite their differences. People who had once regarded each other with horror and fear learned that they could advocate for the same outcome, and that joining forces made their voices stronger and more credible. The respect, tolerance and cooperation that pervaded the “trans lib” movement eventually affected social issues beyond trans-mania: working together, it was not difficult to find solutions to other social justice issues that took into account and respected personal rights and religious freedoms. Life became much easier when one side did not have to lose so the other side could win. At last, the war over Planned Parenthood was ended when representatives of all viewpoints were able to hammer out compromises that satisfied all (okay, most) concerns.
Once the culture wars were finally settled, people of all political persuasions realized the tremendous amounts of energy and time that had been wasted in fighting them, and turned, at last, to solving larger and more systemic problems. Environmental, educational, economic and social problems became much more susceptible to solution once ideology was out of the picture and the goodwill of both sides was assumed.
Even with all these positive changes, I still mourn the victims, and their faces and stories will haunt me forever. But at least I can sleep at night, knowing that I did what I could, when I could do it.
How about you?
Worriedmom is a mother of four (allegedly) adult children, who lives in the Northeastern part of the United States. She practiced law for many years and now works in the non-profit area. She is available to interact in the comments section of this post.
Graphics by Lily Maynard