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.

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 defending pharmacist Barry Cadden after his New England Compounding Center killed dozens of patients and injured hundreds more in a 2012 meningitis outbreak traced to the compounding pharmacy.

Singal’s mother was Jewish and his father is Hindu. He has two brothers, Alex and Gabe.

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’s 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.

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 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.” This page was created in 2021 to document his role after he made a number of inappropriate comments about a gender diverse child on Twitter.

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.

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/

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)

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