Jesse Singal

This content was last updated Jan. 21, 2024, 9:26 p.m. UTC

Jesse Singal is an American journalist and podcaster, most known for a 2018 article about detransitioners in The Atlantic which was heavily criticized by prominent members of the transgender community. The article was one of the first to highlight the voices and experiences of detransitioners and “desisters” (the latter being people who claim to have at one point experienced gender dysphoria that desisted with time).

Singal hosts a social media drama podcast, Blocked & Reported, with fellow detransition journalist Katie Herzog. He is a committed user of the social media platform Twitter, frequently engaging his critics using an internet discourse tactic known as sealioning. He also has a substack called Singal Minded.

Trans people, like members of any other group, have their own prevalent forms of groupthink. Time and time again my reporting and research has conflicted with what [the biggest-name trans activists have] told me[.] On other issues, of course, I would trust trans people more than anyone else—who better to talk about the humiliation of living in a state with a ‘bathroom’ bill, or the difficulty of getting hormones, or other stuff that only trans people have to deal with? But overall, no, I don’t think trans people are more qualified to write about the tricky science stuff going on here than I am.

Singal, as quoted on Jezebel, 27 June 2018

Education and Work

According to LinkedIn Singal earned a Bachelor of Arts in degree in Philosophy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2006. In 2013, he completed his Master in Public Affairs in Domestic Policy at Princeton University.

Singal was a contributor to The Boston Globe between 2009 and 2011, and a senior editor at New York Magazine between 2014 and 2017. He has also contributed to publications such as The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

In 2021, Singal published the social science book The Quick Fix.

2018 Atlantic Article

In 2018, Singal wrote The Atlantic’s July/August issue cover story When Children Say They Are Trans (original headline: “Your Child Says She’s Trans. She Wants Hormones and Surgery. She’s 13”). The piece received extensive criticism from many journalists and activists who believed that it lent a false impression that detransition was common, understated the medical evidence in support of gender-affirming care, and gave more credence to the theory of social contagion than the evidence warranted. (The social contagion theory posits that many young transgender people are being influenced to transition exclusively by their peers and social media platforms, and is not supported by any direct evidence.)

The Atlantic later published letters from parents of transgender youth rebutting Singal’s article and its claims, expressing that his work “muddies the waters” in discussions of transgender youth care, and that his work was damaging to the transgender community. The Atlantic also published an article decrying the harmful language used to shape discourse about transgender people and medical transition, as part of a series of responses to Singal.

Later that year Singal published a post on Medium acknowledging that the critique of his Atlantic article was fair and expressed in good faith, but insisting that he still disagreed with his detractors.

Current Projects

In March of 2020, Singal and fellow transkeptical journalist Katie Herzog began co-hosting an internet drama podcast Blocked & Reported. The podcast primarily addresses cancel culture, social media incidents, and features discussions of trans people in a negative light. 

Singal also has a substack blog/newsletter called Singal Minded which covers what he feels are the excesses of progressivism and chronicles his social media drama among other subjects. Singal has been criticized for letting his anti-trans views get in the way of his journalism, as when he published an excerpt from the therapy notes of teenage transgender patient whose records had been retained by Jamie Reed, and when he mistakenly claimed in a tweet that a trans teenager had been approved for hormone therapy after a ten minute appointment.

Social Media

Singal is a committed user of social media, in particular Twitter, where he has over 81,000 tweets as of June, 2023. Since his account was created in 2010, this means Singal has tweeted an average of seventeen times per day for the last thirteen years. He temporarily deactivated his Twitter account in March of 2023 due to experiencing stress using the website. Trans people have reported that interacting with or even mentioning Singal’s name often results in days of harassment from his follower base. 

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