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Azeen Ghorayshi vs. transgender people

Azeen Ghorayshi is an American writer and anti-transgender activist who has written about transgender healthcare for youth and other trans topics in several publications. Ghorayshi is a key historical figure in the oppression of trans and gender diverse youth.

Ghorayshi is the point person laundering anti-transgender extremism into the New York Times, similar to Times health reporters in the 1970s who helped get adult care shut down as “experimental.”

Ghorayshi believes that affirmative models of care for trans and gender diverse youth are an unfolding medical scandal, echoing Times colleagues and contributors in the late 1970s who helped set the trans rights movement back for 25 years. The real medical scandal is that trans and gender diverse youth have never been able to receive appropriate care, and Ghorayshi’s reporting is a major factor in making this care unavailable to hundreds of thousands of minors.

Each year, thousands of American cisgender youth receive gender-affirming treatments like surgeries for unwanted breast tissue, but Ghorayshi is focused exclusively on banning the same procedures for transgender youth.

Ghorayshi’s anti-trans views are colored by disease models of gender identity, particularly psychopathology models. Ghorayshi is a strong proponent of gatekeeping trans healthcare via psychology and psychiatry, especially for minors.


Azeen M. Ghorayshi was born in October 1988 and earned an undergraduate degree in biology from University of California, Berkeley in 2010. While there, Ghorayshi interned in UC Berkeley’s notoriously conservative and transphobic psychology department and in the neurobiology department. Ghorayshi then earned a master’s degree in science communication from Imperial College London.

Ghorayshi began writing as an Editorial Fellow at Mother Jones, then worked at the weekly East Bay Express in the Bay Area. Ghorayshi freelanced from 2013 to 2015, placing stories in New Scientist, The Guardian, Newsweek, Wired UK, and other outlets.

Ghorayshi co-founded Method Quarterly, a publication about science with Christina Agapakis. Other personnel included:

  • Ellie Harmon (editor in 2014)
  • Rose Eveleth (editor – presence scrubbed from site)

Ghorayshi joined BuzzFeed in 2015 as a science reporter, rising to science editor prior to departing.

Ghorayshi joined the New York Times in 2021, brought in by former Buzzfeed colleague Virginia Hughes.

2016 BuzzFeed piece

Ghorayshi is a big fan of anti-trans activist Alice Dreger’s cover-up of J. Michael Bailey’s “Danny Ryan” fabrication that got Bailey tenure.

In a since-deleted tweet, Ghorayshi expressed admiration for Dreger: [archive]

Shortly after expressing this love, Ghorayshi presented Dreger as a “liberal” academic instead of an inaugural member of the intellectual dark web, a gateway to the far right. In a “both sides” piece about trans healthcare for youth, Ghorayshi also presented transphobic psychologist J. Michael Bailey and geneticist Eric Vilain as objective or centrist scientists in the middle of the non-affirming coalition, and the transphobic American College of Pediatricians as “religious conservatives.” Ghorayshi also uncritically presented Jesse Singal’s false version of why Kenneth Zucker was fired (Zucker’s practices were outlawed in 2015 under Bill 77), and showcases Debra Soh’s claim that the affirmative model of care “reinforces outdated stereotypes.” Ghorayshi then cites a conservative Breitbart piece that quotes Zucker, summarizing their view that affirmative care is a dangerous new fad in parenting.

New York Times transgender articles

In the New York Times, Ghorayshi also published “cisgender person under siege” profiles featuring hospital CEO John Warner, surgeon Sidhbh Gallagher, and gender affirming healthcare critic Jamie Reed.

The Warner piece was about the closure of Genecis Children’s Medical Center in Dallas following abortion clinic protest tactics targeting practitioners and leaders. Ghorayshi had described Genecis in the 2016 BuzzFeed piece.

The Gallagher piece was favorably shared by many fascist, gender critical, and cis journalist accounts, including white nationalist Richard Spencer and Daily Wire writer Christina Buttons, as well as gender critical activists Katie Herzog, Jesse Singal, Kenneth Zucker, Cathy Brennan, Julia Mason, and Helen Lewis.

It was also shared by a number of Ghorayshi’s current and former colleagues, including Virginia Hughes, Cliff Levy, Christina Jewett, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Ken Bensinger, Oliver Whang, Dan Saltzstein, Judy Rudin, Paul McLeod, Kadia Goba, Josh Barro, Ellie Hall, Derek Robertson, Alison Griffiths, Kinnon Ross McKinnon, Tina S. Fondeles, Benjamin Goggin, Yeganeh Torbati, Steven Meiers, Jessica Garrison, Mark Yarm, Shannon Palus, Megan Twohey, and Michael Marshall.

“Low-quality evidence”

Ghorayshi wrote a piece about the American Academy of Pediatrics that prominently featured their critics, including anti-trans activist Julia Mason of the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine. Ghorayshi also parrots the “low-quality evidence” claim put forth by anti-trans activists, based on a scale devised by Gordon Guyatt. Federal judge Sarah E. Geraghty rejected these claims in a 2023 Georgia case where anti-trans activists Paul Hruz, Michael Laidlaw, and James Cantor testified against Yale University professor of pediatrics Meredithe McNamara:

The undisputed record shows that clinical medical decision-making, including in pediatric or adolescent medicine, often is not guided by evidence that would qualify as “high quality” on the scales used by Defendants’ experts. 30 (Doc. 70-1, McNamara Decl. ¶¶ 23–28; Tr. 74:11–75:1 (McNamara Testimony); Tr. 133:614 (Hruz Testimony).) In fact, the record shows that less than 15 percent of medical treatments are supported by “high-quality evidence,” or in other words that 85 percent of evidence that guides clinical care, across all areas of medicine, would be classified as “low-quality” under the scale used by Defendants’ experts. (Doc. 70-1, McNamara Decl. ¶ 25; Tr. 74:11–75:1.) Defendants do not refute Dr. McNamara’s testimony on this point, and indeed they “concede” that “low-quality” evidence “can be considered.” 31

Geraghty (2023) [emphasis mine]

Geraghty also noted the obvious biases of Hruz, Laidlaw and Cantor:

Defendants’ experts’ insistence on a very high threshold of evidence in the context of claims about hormone therapy’s safety and benefits, and on the other hand their tolerance of a much lower threshold of evidence for claims about its risks, the likelihood of desistance and/or regret, and their notions about the ideological bias of a medical establishment that largely disagrees with them. That is cause for some concern about the weight to be assigned to their views, although the Court does not doubt that those they express are genuinely held.

(“Dr. [Paul] Hruz fended and parried questions and generally testified as a deeply biased advocate, not as an expert sharing relevant evidence-based information and opinions. I do not credit his testimony.”); Eknes-Tucker v. Marshall, 603 F. Supp. 3d 1131, 1142–43 (M.D. Ala. 2022) (explaining that the court gave Dr. James Cantor’s “testimony regarding the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors very little weight”); C. P. by & through Pritchard v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, No. 3:20-CV-06145-RJB, 2022 WL 17092846, at *4 (W.D. Wash. Nov. 21, 2022) (noting that it was a “close question” as to whether Dr. Michael Laidlaw was qualified to testify about the medical necessity of gender-affirming care because he has treated only two patients with gender dysphoria and has done no original research on gender identity).

Geraghty (2023)

Ghorayshi also wrote an article centered on Jamie Reed, an activist who supports “a national moratorium on the medicalization of kids” and is represented by anti-trans lawyer Vernadette Broyles, who has stated the transgender movement poses an “existential threat to our culture.”


Urquhart, Evan (September 3, 2023). “You Betrayed Us, Azeen”: A story on the allegations of former St. Louis gender clinic staffer Jamie Reed left parents who spoke with NYT reporter Azeen Ghorayshi crushed. Assigned

Ghorayshi, Azeen (September 26, 2022). More Trans Teens Are Choosing ‘Top Surgery.’ New York Times

Ghorayshi, Azeen (March 8, 2022). Texas Youth Gender Clinic Closed Last Year Under Political Pressure. New York Times

Dugger, Celia (October 14, 2001). Azeen Ghorayshi Joins The Science Desk. New York Times

Ghorayshi, Azeen (August 3, 2023). Medical Group Backs Youth Gender Treatments, but Calls for Research Review. New York Times

Ghorayshi, Azeen (August 23, 2023). How a Small Gender Clinic Landed in a Political Storm. New York Times


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