Year Zero
Year Zero with Wesley Yang
"We're giving these girls mastectomies. You have to be curious about what's going on."

"We're giving these girls mastectomies. You have to be curious about what's going on."

Three writers who witnessed the European Professional Association of Transgender Health conference discuss the event

Year Zero is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

A small group of writers attended two conferences on gender held concurrently in Killarney, Ireland in April. One was the annual meeting of the European affiliate of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health, known as EPATH. The other was the first gathering of an upstart organization called Genspect, which declared itself a rival to WPATH by scheduling a conference right down the road. Genspect urges an open-ended and exploratory approach to gender distress that contrasts with the immediate affirmation and push to medicalize that characterizes the WPATH model.

Eliza Mondegreen wrote two reports on those conferences. Lisa Selin Davis did the same. Corinna Cohn, who began a course of estrogen at 18 and underwent sex reassignment surgery at 19, is the author of a Washington Post op-ed describing transition regret and has been active in seeking a carefully gatekept diagnostic protocol for gender dysphoric patients. Cohn testified before the Texas State Senate in support of a ban on pediatric gender medicine, telling Texas lawmakers “My heart breaks for the young people who are being lied to by well-meaning enablers, as they will need to learn the same painful lesson that I learned.” The lawmakers that Cohn addressed voted to approve passage of the ban on medically transitioning minors that Cohn had urged them to support.

Readers of both Davis’ and Mondegreen’s post on the EPATH conference know they arrived at very different assessments of the event, with Davis finding grounds to be encouraged and hopeful, while Mondegreen came away with a bleaker prospect. I will also be weighing in on what I thought and felt while witnessing the inauguration of a new chapter in the unfolding story of the Twilight Zone-like unreality that has enveloped the Western world. In this chapter, the forces of reason and reality begin to challenge the enormous agglomeration of wealth, power, and influence that has been deployed on behalf of the obscurantism and error that currently masquerades as the vanguard of humanity.

Prior to the composition of those pieces, Davis, Mondegreen, Cohn, and I met on the last night of the Genspect conference to debrief and share our impressions. There is a spontaneity and immediacy to these exchanges worth experiencing even for those who have already read Mondegreen’s and Davis’ posts. Audio is free to listen to; paid subscribers have access to a transcript. I’ll also be releasing an abridged version of the exchange on YouTube and Twitter.


Year Zero
Year Zero with Wesley Yang
An ongoing inquiry into the ideological fever that overtook the governing and chattering classes of America during the Trump years
Listen on
Substack App
RSS Feed
Appears in episode
Wesley Yang
Corinna Cohn
Lisa Selin Davis
Eliza Mondegreen