So, I try to walk a fine line with my blog. I’m transgender, and I don’t shy away from that fact because I feel like visibility is important and I believe understanding who I am is key to appreciating my perspective on certain topics. At the same time, I really don’t want theCarbonFreeze to just be another SJW-heavy, tumblr-esque blog browbeating readers for not being “woke” enough and constantly complaining about how society doesn’t cater enough to what’s admittedly a small minority. At the end of the day, I’m not ashamed to be trans (though I’d have preferred to just be born female) and I don’t care what anyone thinks about that, but I don’t want to throw my condition in everyone’s face and demand they instantly know all the right lingo or constantly walk on eggshells around me. I just want to be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else; I don’t want special treatment, pity, or to win any “oppression olympics” contests.
Ultimately I’m a little at odds with other members of the trans and wider LGBT+ community. I care about representation but it’s really not a big deal to me that there isn’t a quota of XYZ gay/trans characters in blockbuster films. I feel we ought to be able to live in peace and patronize businesses freely but I’m not trying to get someone fired because they said something ignorant on twitter. (To an extent, I’m willing to give people the benefit of the doubt as products of their environment and try to show them by example that trans people are nice and friendly. Beyond a certain threshold though, I just write them off as a jerk whom I’d rather not associate with and leave it at that.) It sucks when someone I meet in person is totally into me until they find out I’m trans and then lose all interest. But, unfortunately, life isn’t always fair; I don’t think the solution is to make a vlog about how “it’s transphobic not to date me!” Frankly, and this may turn off some people, but I think in some ways the social justice crowd shoots themselves in the foot with their methods.
I feel like addressing this topic in any way is such a minefield of controversy and, perhaps disappointingly to some, my views are pretty middle-of-the-road. So I’m sure to alienate the more zealous members of the LGBT+ community along with any social conservatives who hate me no matter what for being trans in the first place. Nevertheless, I saw the image below on social media and thought maybe answering those questions on my blog might be a good way to both educate people and make it clear where I stand with regards to the trend of hot-button trans wedge issues. Might as well get it all off my chest, right? It’s trans awareness week, plus the transgender day of remembrance is coming up on Friday, so now seemed as good of a time as any to do something like this.
So, at the risk of drawing a bunch of negative attention to myself, potentially from both sides of the aisle…here we go.
Since question #1 is a freebie, I’ll fill in my own. And because I had more to address, and 27 is my favorite number, I added an additional question to the end.
1. What do you think about pride and the community?
I think pride is important in general, but (at least in my area) I dislike how commodified it has become. At the most recent pride parade before COVID happened, it just seemed like nothing but a string of virtue-signalling corporations trying to soak up some good press by appearing tolerant. I was a little disgusted by all the “buy our company-brand merchandise…now in rainbow color!” crap.
Personally, I feel the recent trend of giving every minute subset of the community its own arbitrarily designed (and often visually bland) flag is sorta overkill…but hey, you know what? It’s not for me to tell anyone not to make their own symbols of what pride means to them. If it makes other people happy to fly those flags, who am I to say otherwise? As someone who is trans though, the massive glut of “new genders” complete with a convoluted list of symbols, is…not something I understand. Again, I don’t feel like it’s my place to tell other people not to use them, and this is not a hill I want to die on. But on a personal level, I perceive things like this, and the New York ordinance recognizing 31 genders, as well-meaning but counter-intuitive. It confuses the issue for non-trans people, and those of us who are first coming out of the closet alike. Frustratingly, it’s also used as a common strawman argument against other transgender people. Again, I’m not trying to police what people call themselves…I just don’t understand why saying “gender is a continuum; nobody’s purely masculine or feminine in all matters” is apparently anathema to certain elements of the community. Assigning subjective and contradictory labels to every single point along that continuum just seems like the wrong way to frame the issue to the wider world. (At least right now, anyway.) But that’s only my two cents on the matter. To anyone who’s reading this and feels like I’m not being fair to these alternate gender labels: you do you, I’m not advocating against your right to be yourself and I plan to never touch this topic again with a ten foot pole. I just don’t fully understand it, that’s all.
Without getting into too much detail, there are unfortunately enclaves within the wider community who discriminate against bisexual and/or transgender people. I’ve experienced condescension and exclusion on both accounts here and there over the years, and it sucks. Heck, even just within the transgender label you see a lot of infighting. Sometimes MtF and FtM people resent each other for taking for granted what the other desperately craves. Non-passing people resent those who can pass without getting easily clocked in public. Then there’s a debate on whether or not passing trans people should go stealth or be visible. That’s to say nothing of the entire non-binary subset and the 31 genders can of worms addressed earlier. The whole thing is an exhausting mess, and this petty cliquishness is why I’m not as active in the community as other people I know. To a certain extent I feel like people should just worry about themselves as opposed to herding everyone who fits an LGBT+ label into the box they want us to fit in.
2. What are you most excited for in your transition?
I’ve hit most of the big milestones already so really the only thing left to look forward to is getting legal documents in order.
3. How can I make things better for you?
Literally just treat me the same as anyone else. It’s certainly nice when my girl friends who aren’t also trans go out of their way to invite me shopping and when my female cousins invite me to traditionally women-only events like baby showers and bridal parties too. I would just like to feel accepted as a woman and included in the activities that come with it. I don’t care about occasional slip ups regarding my name and pronouns as long as I can tell the person’s making a sincere effort to get it right. I personally don’t care whether or not someone’s hip to all the new lingo. As long as they didn’t mean it in a pejorative way I’ll just kindly tell them that words like tr@nny and shemale are not the preferred word. I feel it’s important not to immediately assume the worst in people with regard to things like that. I really don’t want anyone to feel like they have to walk on eggshells around me, or that I’m one of those people looking for reasons to be offended.
I’m trans but my whole identity doesn’t revolve around it (as I hope the diverse range of topics on this blog proves,) so I don’t enjoy feeling like that’s the only way people can think to relate to me.
4. What’s the best part of being trans?
It really made me feel like I can be anyone I want to be for the first time. I know technically anyone can follow the same mantra, and it’s advice society peddles to kids all the time. But I personally never believed it before because what I wanted to be felt so off-limits and unattainable. Once I came to terms with who I am, and had the courage to just go for it, I felt rejuvenated in so many ways. I really can’t emphasize enough how magical those first few instances of going out presenting female were–I’ve never been so happy in all my life. Once I got my look down (hair, makeup, wardrobe) it felt amazing to see people turn their heads to check me out in public. (I even had a few guys approach me on the sidewalk to ask me out, which was really affirming.)
5. How do you think your life would be different if you’d transitioned at a young age?
If I had been born female, there’s no doubt in my mind my life would have been infinitely better. Without being forced into certain activities, friendships or dispositions growing up, I would have been much happier and more confident. I probably would have had more friendships, and with people whom I could be myself with. From there, with the butterfly effect, the possibilities are endless. I don’t hate the life I’ve had, or where I ended up, but it’s still a depressing thought.
That being said, transitioning young would have been a mixed bag for sure. Even assuming my parents were supportive (which they would not have been) my school environment would have been even more of a living, breathing nightmare. I’m not sure if things would have been better or worse for me if I had transitioned earlier in college. It all depends on whether or not I met the same wonderful girl friends I did presenting as a guy, and whether or not they accepted me as a full-fledged member of their clique or held me at arms length because of my birth-sex.
6. Why not just be a feminine guy?
Because that’s not who I really am. I don’t want to be thought of as “[deadname] the weirdo in the back who cross-dresses,” I want to be “Cassandra, the intelligent woman with eclectic taste in art and topics of conversation.” (I’m sure some people see me as the former regardless, but I can’t control their thoughts–only my own presentation.) Plus, in my personal experience, while people pull that “just be a feminine guy” shtick as a way to dissuade us from transitioning, they’ll just go right back to teasing someone for their long hair, girly clothes and mannerisms regardless. It’s a disingenuous stall tactic, nothing more and nothing less.
I feel that this new petty Hollywood drama with Candace Owens and Harry Styles is a good case study in why the whole “you can just be a feminine guy though” argument doesn’t hold water. Because feminine guys aren’t accepted either, so you still have people acting like they’re entitled to an opinion about your appearance and lifestyle. Anything that bucks social norms, especially with regard to gender, means that some sanctimonious piece of shit with too much free time feels justified in harassing you. So you might as well just be yourself anyway.
7. What’s the hardest part of your daily life?
While I’ve only been publicly clocked once, it is still a daily concern. I worry about having a medical emergency only for the EMS guys or the hospital staff themselves to refuse to treat me for my condition. I worry when I have to show my still-outdated ID to people for any reason in case they make a scene about it. The vast majority of times have gone off without a hitch, but there was one smug woman who made a big show of looking at my card and then said loudly “have a good day, Mr. Burke!” In cases like that, I find it’s best to take the “kill them with kindness” approach and just wish them a pleasant day back without missing a beat. Or smile, wink, finger-gun and say “hey, today you can tell 4Chan you owned one of them transgendereds!” Shitty people are gonna be shitty, and that’s not exclusive to trans issues.
8. How does it feel to transition?
It’s terrifying, exhilarating and liberating in equal measures. Telling my parents was by far the most stressful thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. Beyond all that though, I find it enlightening to know firsthand how the other half lives, how they’re perceived and what they deal with. Along with my ongoing thirst for academic knowledge, dream journaling and experiencing altered states of consciousness, I consider transitioning to be part of my journey as a psychonaut. I know it’s not realistic, but I truly believe if everybody switched genders for even just one year, there would be so much less conflict between the sexes and a greater understanding of the human condition.
That’s nobody’s business, and it’s rude for anyone to even ask. People should never presume it’s their right to ask invasive questions like that of anybody.
10. How do you know you’re trans?
This is a question that bothered me for a long time. I kept worrying whether I was “trans enough” to transition. But really, if you actively want to transition with all your heart I’d say that’s the biggest criterion to meet. Cis people comfortable in their sex don’t constantly fantasize about being the opposite sex, take online “am I trans?” tests and obsessively read about the topic. There’s the classic “if you could push a button and just instantly be a girl, would you do it?” which I feel is a good metric. Another would be “do you want to be feminine outside of a sexual context–do you want to be a woman when you’re ordering fast food, doing your taxes, walking in the park, riding the bus to work?” If the answer is yes, that’s a pretty solid indication it’s not a passing thought or a sexual fetish.
11. What has been the hardest part?
Having to essentially start my life all over from scratch at 22, pretty much. More than half of my friends abandoned me soon after, some after promising to be supportive. I basically had to reintroduce myself to all my friends and family as a new person, and watch as their perspective on me changed, sometimes for the worse. In addition, it makes it very hard for me to reach out to people from my past who only knew me as my male persona. I’d love to check in on certain old friends from my school days, but then I’d have to lead in with a big introduction of who I really am which would be awkward and start the conversation off on a topic I’d prefer to just ignore.
It’s tough in the beginning when you’ve got no female clothes, short hair, a male voice and shaky (at best) support from other people. I publicly came out of the closet before I had all my ducks in a row and I felt very silly telling people I wanted to live as a woman when I still didn’t look or sound like one. Getting legal documents changed has also been a huge pain in the ass, as has paying for hormones and everything else.
12. What would have made it easier to come out?
If society wasn’t so rigidly gendered and conformist. I’m not one of those people who thinks that children should be raised in an enforced non-gendered world or anything extreme like that. I just wish we as a society didn’t place so much emphasis on it in the first place. Why are gender reveal parties a thing, for example? Who cares? And after the genitals have been proclaimed, suddenly everything has to be color-coded pink or blue and the child’s interests are picked out before they’re even born (trucks, sportsballs and guns for boys / dolls, makeup and ponies for girls.) As many guys as possible can sleep over, but god forbid even one girl joins in (or vice versa) because clearly there’s no reason for these 13-year-olds to intermingle unless they’re having sex. (Obvious sarcasm, but that was the honest to god attitude of my and most of my friends’ parents growing up.) Oh, little Jimmy talked to a girl? Clearly they’re dating! Let’s hound him about it for months on end because obviously guy-girl friendships are never platonic. If my boy plays with dolls that means he’s a sissy f@g and we gotta toughen him up–be a man, goddamn it!
I just wish society wasn’t like that. Why can’t we just let kids explore and cross this imaginary boundary if they want to? Not raise them genderless per se, but let Johnny wear pink–even a dress–if that’s what he wants. And if Suzy likes cars, maybe teach her how to change a tire too. I’m not necessarily in favor of kids medically transitioning super-young* but I feel as though it would be less of an issue in the first place if society didn’t have this widespread attitude that “men are supposed to be like this” / “women shouldn’t act like that.” People are diverse and complicated; nobody fits into this unflinching, artificial mold like mainstream society seems to think. Just let people be people, allow them to do what feels right for them as long as no one’s getting hurt.
*ASIDE: I believe medical decisions like this ought to be left up to the respective families and their doctors. Similar to abortion, receiving treatment for any other ailment, and doctor-assisted suicide, it should be a private decision between a patient and their doctor. Self-righteous political pundits and social-influencers don’t get to dictate how other people deal with their own medical conditions. Similarly, with regard to the trans-athletes debate, just let the governing body of the sport meet with relevant medical experts and make their own decision on what’s safe and fair for the players outside of political pressure from either side. I don’t know why this has to be a big stupid polarizing issue for us all to fight about in the first place. I see these debates as nothing more than a distraction from more important problems in society, and I’m trans myself.
Speaking from experience, it was both funny and frustrating how quickly my parents’ attitudes changed from “why can’t you be more like the other boys?” and “boys are supposed to like wrestling, what do you mean you don’t want to do it?” into “but you can still be a man who likes to be feminine, why do you need to transition?!?” The same people who perpetuate the conformity suddenly pretend it doesn’t exist, or no longer has to apply, if it means talking you out of transitioning. The fact that they continuously needled me for my long hair while I was in the “in-between” stage of my life just proved that even these overtures of supposed tolerance for my gender-bending, as a substitute for full transition, were also hallow.
13. How can I be a good ally?
I feel like I’ve already answered this question in #3 with regards to what I would like people to do. So I’ll just use this slot to talk about stuff I’d prefer people not do.
What sometimes bothers me is when someone feels the need to tell me what a great ally they are like they’re expecting a medal. Or immediately talk about trans issues as though that’s the biggest interest in my life. (Far from it.) Or ask me if I follow some random transgender YouTuber or celebrity–as if all trans people are buddies and agree with each other on everything. I dislike these self-important articles written by cis people about how “It’s time to give up Harry Potter” because JK Rowling is too offensive to patronize any longer. For the record, I’m saddened she feels the way she does and I was never a huge fan of the series to begin with. (Although I do have fond memories reading those books at 13–sometimes staying up half the night to do so.) But it’s not for anyone, least of all a well-meaning but overzealous cis ally, to dictate to me whose work I can and can’t enjoy. Nor do I need people to publicly virtue signal about how offended they are on my behalf when stuff like this happens. I can separate the art from the artist, and I make no apologies if that philosophy isn’t “woke” enough.
I’m a little saddened that the keyboard warriors of tumblr and twitter, well-intentioned though some of them way be, have somewhat conflated trans people with the stereotype of the easily offended SJW looking to berate any random passerby for being a white male. (That may be a bit of a strawman but I’ve actually met people like that in real life–ready to drop friends on a dime because they didn’t share all the “correct” opinions. It’s exhausting to be around, even if I agree with their positions.) I feel like these people, again while their hearts may be in the right place, sometimes give the community a bad name. In my experience, most of us are pretty chill and just want to be left alone, not lecturing everyone about their privilege. Frankly, I feel this activist intensity would be better spent tackling economic reform and environmental conservation.
I can’t speak for all of us, but ultimately I would prefer if transgender issues were considered a private matter, not a political one.
14. What’s something you wish cis people knew?
It bothers me sometimes when I mention things like catcalling and sexual harassment from guys at night only for cis women to say stuff like “now you know how it feels” or “welcome to womanhood.” I’m sure some of them meant it endearingly, but it can often come off as patronizing. It’s like they assume that I once thought being a woman would have no downsides, or that I was one of those guys who dismiss how demeaning catcalling is before transitioning, which was never the case. I wish these people understood that I was aware of, and empathetic towards, a lot of women’s issues before I transitioned. I mean, that’s part of what being a closeted transwoman entails. I would always call out my guy-friends in college who catcalled or made unnecessarily crude comments about women. In short, I didn’t do this for fun, to be trendy or because I thought girls have it easier. I knew what I was getting into better than some people seem to think, and accepted the risks to be who I am.
15. Has it been an obstacle with work, friends, family?
Yes. In addition to the relevant comments I’ve already offered, I hated interviewing for a job as Cassandra, having that name on my application and resume, only to come in and be listed as my deadname. (Presumably they went with the name that came up in my background check automatically–but it’s annoying there was no human element in the process to prevent it.) That was humiliating and really took the wind out of my sails on my first day. What’s worse is when the company’s mistake is enshrined in the computer system, meaning my deadname showed up on all emails, skypes, memos, etc for approximately two months before being corrected. It outed me to everyone at the office and while no one was outwardly hostile, I did notice some people’s demeanor towards me change as a result. That whole experience was a lot of fun.
What also sucks is when people suddenly stop honoring my real name and pronouns if they’re upset with me or we’re having a heated disagreement. As if my identity and human dignity are conditional to their current attitude towards me. My trans status should not be used as a weapon to silence me for having different opinions or standing up for myself. It really shows who actually respects you versus the people who are just humoring you until the “phase” is over.
16. How long have you known?
I’ve known I would have preferred to be born a girl as early as age 7 and even said so at times, but the reaction I got from people was always so inflammatory that I stopped being open about it. I knew transgender people were a thing around age 14-16 and empathized with them, but I did not come out then for fear of everyone’s reactions. Finally I couldn’t deny it to myself anymore at age 22. Since I’d already hit rock bottom that year in many ways, I decided to just go for it already. My attitude was “it can’t get much worse anyway, right?”
18. How did you pick your name?
I’ve always thought “Cassandra” was the most beautiful name I’d ever heard for as long as I can remember. I even had it in the back of my mind for what I’d call my future daughter someday. Besides its aesthetic beauty, it means “unheeded prophetess” and I’ve always felt my advice falls on deaf ears. The biggest example is that I said the US was heading for authoritarianism since 2012 only to be called naive, stupid, ungrateful, unpatriotic, and an angsty teen desperate for something to be rebellious against. (Now look where we are.) Less seriously, I said the new Star Wars movies would suck as soon as JJ Abrams was hired to direct, only to be told I was being a hipster contrarian and ruining everyone’s good time. (My friends, and most film-goers, eventually came around and hated them too.)
19. Favorite dinosaur?
Deinonychus. Velociraptor gets all the attention because of Jurassic Park, but Michael Crichton admits he only chose them for the name. The raptors in both the novel and film are actually closer in size to Deinonychus than Velociraptor, which was much smaller and stockier. Aside from that, Deinonychus deserves a lot of credit for whats called the Dinosaur Renaissance of the mid to late 20th century. Before that time, Dinosaurs were thought to be slow, lumbering, ungraceful beasts who walked upright and dragged their tails on the ground. Deinonychus led to the popularization of the theory that dinosaurs were actually warm blooded, that therapods like the raptors and T Rex’s and Allosaurus’ were actually swift, agile predators, and overall that dinosaurs were very active. Not only that, the Deinonychus specimen discovered in the ’60s proved they carried themselves with a horizontally aligned posture and used their tails to balance.
For a long time I refused to accept the idea that raptors had feathers. What I had always seen as cool reptilian monsters would be ruined if they had feathers like a chicken. But thinking about it more carefully, it’s actually just as bad ass if you consider that Deinonychus, Utahraptor and Velociraptor were actually the original birds of prey. They’re like flightless eagles or hawks, with arms instead of wings, teeth instead of beaks and even larger talons. The feathers made them more agile and advanced, as well as more bright and colorful. When you look at it that way, it’s not so silly anymore. Incidentally, I feel this is a good allegory for trans people as well. If people just stop trying to fit us into the mold they expected us to be (“you can still be a guy though!!”) and just accept us for what we are, they might find that it’s not so bad.
20. Why would you want to be a girl?
I have always identified with women more, from the characters in media I consumed to my female family members. In high school and college, almost all of my close friends were women. I was just never interested in the masculine ideal of a big tough macho dude, but the idea of being pregnant and nurturing to others was alluring. I really appreciate the way women like Grace Slick are able to personify a sense of danger and strength (just listen to those powerful vocals) while still appearing so dainty and adorable. I wanted to be like that.
21. What do you feel like you missed in your childhood?
So many things, and I’ll admit I do get depressed sometimes thinking about it:
I wish I could have gone shopping at the mall with the girls in my friend group instead of forced to join the guys shooting hoops. I wanted to go to girl slumber parties, do each others’ nails, play “fuck marry kill” and stuff like that. I got invited to a few boy-girl sleepovers growing up, which would have been the next best thing…only I wasn’t allowed to participate because of my puritanical parents.
I was very hurt not to be included with my sister and girl cousins when they’d hang out just the girls, and when they were bridesmaids for peoples’ weddings. I know it wasn’t a slight by the happy couple, and even if it had been it’s “their wedding, their choice” and all. I just hated to miss out on fun stuff like that so often because of my birth sex, and not getting to share those bonding experiences with the women in my family.
I would have loved to experience mother-daughter talks, makeup tutorials and stuff like that. I tried to ask my mom for makeup and hair care tips after I came out, but she refused. She’s warmed up to my transition since then, but there’s really no time or point to doing something like that now, unfortunately.
When I think of all the time wasted being forced to play catch, shoot hoops and watch golf with my dad, I want to scream. (He also signed me up for wrestling and basketball leagues against my will, even though I never demonstrated any skill or interest in either. It was a disaster and really hurt my confidence for a long time.) I love my dad and wanted to spend time with him…I just hated how it always had to pertain to sports just because I was perceived a male.
22. What has been your favorite part of transitioning so far?
No longer having to pretend to be a guy. It’s great to just be honest about who I am, what I like and how I want to be perceived. I always felt so awkward and inauthentic before, because I was basically stifling a huge part of my personality. I hated having to follow a script as it were, whenever my male relatives asked me about “the game” and I’m glad I’m not expected to know about stuff like that now. It’s great to be able to cross my legs, put my hands on my hips, or pop my foot without someone berating me for “acting too girly!”
23. What worries you most?
The fact that my entire existence is a fiercely debated political topic, and this trend only just began right as I came out of the closet. I would have preferred if we remained obscure and little-discussed like it had been before Caitlyn Jenner. It’s disgusting to see people whipped into a fervor over manufactured issues like bathrooms when there are so many more important issues to talk about. Like, y’know, the fact that our planet is dying and wealth inequality is at an all time high. The powers that be are using us as a political pawn to get the masses to fight each other over trivial nonsense while the big picture is brushed aside. (Other, more intelligent people recognize this as well, but many of them still blame us for it. As if our trying to live authentically is the issue as opposed to every Karen suddenly having strong opinions on a topic they know nothing about and were blissfully unaware of five years prior.)
24. Does your family accept you?
More than they did, but they’ve still grumbled about stuff like getting a legal name change. It took a lot of pain and backslides to even get this far. Multiple times I thought we were on the right track only to be hit with a new round of concern-trolling. (“Aren’t you worried people might beat you up?” , “God has a plan for you as you are already”) Even now, and I freely admit this may be my insecurity talking, I get the impression some family members are just humoring me until I “grow out of this phase” or whatever.
25. How has transitioning changed your life?
Besides everything else I’ve said already, I actually like myself now. I can believe it when people say they like me, or tell me I’m attractive. Before, I hated myself so much I could never see why anyone would want to be around me. I can trust that the people who actually stuck around care about me unconditionally. (Unlike the fair-weather friends who bailed without even trying to understand why I was doing this or what it means to me.)
26. What has surprised you the most?
How most people really don’t give a shit. I was kind of blown away how lax it was going clothes shopping in the early days when I still looked like a guy, for example. There was a time when I was deathly afraid of leaving the house as Cassandra but that passed pretty quickly when I saw that most people are too concerned with their own business to worry either way what someone else is doing. The whole bullshit back and forth on twitter, 4chan and social media only represents a very small portion of the general populace, usually the loudest and most extreme voices from each camp. It does not necessarily reflect reality. So go on and live your best life, be authentically you, go on and get laid. ‘Cause we’re all fucked, anyway. I mean more or less, y’know?
27. What’s next, pedophilia?
I’ve heard this argument used a distressing number of times so I figured it warranted a quick response. To anyone saying “if we tolerate gays, next will come pedophiles! we gotta draw the line somewhere!” I agree. The cutoff should revolve around consent. An adult can consent, a child cannot. Let adults do what they want as long as everyone involved is of sound mind and freely agrees to participate. That applies to gay, BDSM as well as polygamous sex and relationships. If those lifestyles bother you, then worry about your own life and let them live theirs. Kids should wait until they’re old enough to understand the gravity and consequences of having a sexual encounter–so, the legally recognized age of majority. (Which is usually 18 years old.) No one in the LGBT+ community is advocating for pedophilia, it’s a fear mongering strawman argument used by concern trolls.