Jesse Singal is an American cultural critic best known for criticizing progressive movements that benefit transgender people. This Jesse Singal wiki bio format supplements an overview of the harm his work has caused to gender diverse children. Singal’s gender critical allies and gender supportive detractors also illustrate his historic role in harming gender diverse youth and adults.

Biography

Jesse Richard Singal was born November 24, 1983. His hometown is the wealthy Boston suburb Newton, Massachusetts. He has two brothers, Alex and Gabe.

Singal’s mother, Sydney L. Altman (1949–2021), was a psychologist, lawyer, and author who published with Zoe Lazar as BaBoom Press. Her books are humorous takes on the experiences of middle-aged women and include the mock catalogue Victoria’s Rejects and the nursery rhyme parody Mother Goose Tells The Truth About Middle Age.

His father, Bruce A. Singal, is a lawyer best known for helping pharmacist Barry Cadden beat murder charges after his New England Compounding Center killed over 100 patients and injured about 800 more in a 2012 meningitis outbreak traced to the compounding pharmacy. His father is also known for being arrested and charged with attempted human trafficking for commercial sex acts in 2022, but that charge was later amended to soliciting a prostitute. According to reports, Singal paid $40 for oral sex from a sex worker he frequented on Boston’s “methadone mile” and was confronted by police during the act.

Jesse Singal’s lucrative career laundering anti-transgender extremism into mainstream American media prompted left-wing pundit Matt Lech to quip, “Shocked this loser was raised in an environment of cynical mercenary pedantry.”

Singal received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from University of Michigan in 2006. He was an editor at CampusProgress.org for the Center for American Progress from 2007 to 2009, then worked for a few months as a web editor at The Washington Monthly. He then worked as a contract opinion writer at The Boston Globe from 2009 to 2011, later contributing occasional freelance pieces. He then attended Princeton, earning a master’s in public affairs in 2013, followed by a Robert Bosch Fellowship that year. Upon his return from Germany, he began writing for New York Magazine in 2014 and held various roles, mostly writing “hot takes,” or opinion pieces based on his immediate impressions of current topics in culture and social science.

Singal is a compulsive Twitter user who self-published over 125,000 posts in his first decade on the platform, an average of about 35 posts a day for ten years. His interest in internet drama coalesced around his 2014 coverage of the Gamergate controversy, a complex online harassment campaign waged against critics of video game culture and those who covered the controversy.

Singal and gender critical troll Katie Herzog started the “drama” podcast Blocked and Reported in 2020. In 2021, he released The Quick Fix, a book on fad psychology, and began a media column at The Spectator World.

Evolution of gender critical views

In 2015, Singal began taking an interest in the histrionics of intellectual dark web inaugural member Alice Dreger, whose 2015 autobiography Galileo’s Middle Finger featured a section critical of the trans rights movement. After reading Dreger’s book in fall 2015, Singal got involved with criticizing the firing of psychologist Kenneth Zucker, the world’s most prominent proponent of “treating” gender diverse children with a form of aversion therapy he developed. Zucker had published what became Dreger’s book section on trans activism in 2007.

At first, I thought his work defending Zucker was a one-time foray into trans issues. At some point after that, he declared trans issues his beat, and began covering controversies more frequently, most likely because he had been granted access to backchannel communication with sexologists associated with Zucker as well as trans-exclusionary backchannels for journalists.

In the way that I set about getting Zucker fired in 2007, I began focusing on Singal’s historic role in the oppression of trans people in 2018 after his Atlantic article, “When a Child Says She’s Trans.”

Singal’s targeted attack on a child

This page was created on March 31, 2021 to document his role after he made a number of inappropriate comments about a notable person’s gender diverse child on Twitter:

  • “There is a thread going around, being retweeted very enthusiastically by everyone, that I find really disturbing. Kid about to go on puberty blockers who doesn’t appear to have ever had gender dysphoria. That anyone thinks this is good baffles me.
  • 2/ It could be the dad who authored it is leaving something out and there’s more evidence than what he provides, but what sucks is anyone who directly responds will be accused of harassment, despite this being exactly the sort of thing we should probably discuss more openly.
  • 3/ Kid’s a natal male. In the thread Dad explains that her saying, on one occasion, at 5 years old, she was a girl, in direct response to Mom’s priming, helped to explain the fact that she had preferred long hair to that point. If you don’t find that troubling… ¯(ツ)
  • 4/ What really gets me is that if someone asked “Hey, was you kid ever assessed for gender dysphoria by a competent clinician?,” they would be raked over the coals. This is such a deeply fucked up environment in which to discuss children’s healthcare. These are big decisions…”

Singal wants to insert himself into this child’s life, when the medical record of a stranger’s child is absolutely none of his business. My bright line has always been attacking and mocking our children, and this is when Singal crossed it. This section will be expanded as more information comes to light about Singal’s extensive anti-trans activism behind the scenes.

Influence on public policy

Singal’s work is supported by anti-transgender media figures and legislators seeking to shape public policy that restricts healthcare for gender diverse youth.

In May 2019, four faith-based groups and the attorneys general of 7 states cited Singal’s anti-transgender Atlantic cover story in Reply Brief In Support Of State Plaintiffs’ Renewed Motion For Summary Judgement.

The bathroom example highlights the fundamental point that putative intervenors miss. The basis of sex discrimination law, as it currently exists, is biological sex. By contrast, there is no broad consensus—much less federal law—on the proper approach to treating individuals with gender dysphoria, the clinical term for the feeling of disconnect between one’s gender identity and sex at birth. See, e.g., Jesse Singal, When Children Say They’re Trans, THE ATLANTIC, July/Aug., 2018 (describing the “growing number of people” who regret transitioning to a different sex and later detransition).

This is a reasonable reading of Singal’s focus on the ex-trans movement. Ken Paxton, the anti-trans Attorney General of Texas, was one of many people who cited Singal’s Atlantic article to support their case. In February 2022, Paxton released a formal attorney general opinion concluding that the affirmative model of care for trans youth was “child abuse,” and he ordered state agencies to investigate families with gender diverse children. In March, Paxton went on to earn the most votes in the Republican primary of the Texas AG election.

See also

  • Overview of Singal’s harm to gender diverse children
  • Singal’s gender critical allies
  • Singal’s gender supportive detractors

References

Singal, Jesse (July 2018). When a Child Says She’s Trans. [stealth edited online title: When Children Say They’re Trans.] The Atlantic https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/07/when-a-child-says-shes-trans/561749/

Bidgood, Jess (March 22, 2017). Compounding Pharmacy Owner Not Guilty of Murder After 60 Meningitis Deaths. New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/22/us/meningitis-new-england-compounding-center-barry-cadden.html

Chow, Andrew R. (March 25, 2018). Photographer Nicholas Nixon Leaves MassArt Following Allegations. New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/25/arts/design/photographer-nicholas-nixon-massart-allegations.html

Scocca, Tom (January 29, 2023). The Worst Thing We Read This Week: Why Is the New York Times So Obsessed With Trans Kids? Popula https://popula.com/2023/01/29/the-worst-thing-we-read-this-week-why-is-the-new-york-times-so-obsessed-with-trans-kids/

Fox, Jeremy C. (April 29, 2022). Prominent attorney charged with soliciting a prostitute after arrest in parking garage. Boston Globe https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/04/29/metro/prominent-attorney-charged-with-soliciting-prostitute-after-arrest-parking-garage/

Staff report (April 29, 2022). Former Assistant U.S. Attorney and prominent Boston lawyer arrested on Methadone Mile by Human Trafficking Task-Force. Live Boston 617 https://liveboston617.org/2022/04/29/prominent-boston-lawyer-former-assistant-u-s-attorney-and-current-b-c-law-professor-arrested-on-methadone-mile-for-sex-crimes-update-2/

Sydney Altman (1949–2021) [obituary] Boston Globe. https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?n=sydney-altman&pid=198401366&fhid=5816

Franciscan Alliance v. Azar, Civ. Action No. 7:16-cv-00108-O, Document 157 (PDF)

Salish Coast Antifascist Action (APT-19.3.161). Deleted tweets for jessesingal. https://github.com/salcoast/deleted-tweets-archive/blob/main/datasets/jessesingal-deleted.md

Attorney General of Texas (February 21, 2022). AG Pax­ton Declares So-Called Sex-Change Pro­ce­dures on Chil­dren and Pre­scrip­tion of Puber­ty Block­ers to be ​“Child Abuse” Under Texas Law. https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/news/releases/ag-paxton-declares-so-called-sex-change-procedures-children-and-prescription-puberty-blockers-be

In 2022 the illustration was updated in response to feedback. In 2023 an uncorroborated statement about his family’s religious background was removed.