Editors' Note

This article was originally presented on the Hope and Healing Roundtable at the 2021 Gower Symposium as "On Laws and Healthcare: Gower's Transgender Children."


This article examines two of Gower's tales from the Confessio Amantis that deal with trans youths: Iphis and Narcissus. Considering these two tales together, I ask the question: why does one story end with hopeful futurity for the trans masculine youth and the other end with death and the absence of futurity for the trans feminine youth. Connecting these medieval texts to premodern contexts and then with modern contexts, I map the trajectory of centuries long problems facing trans youths. In the end, I conclude that trans youth possess a healthier and more stable future when they receive trans affirming healthcare and trans youths possess less healthy or stable futures when they are denied trans affirming healthcare. This leaves us with the unfinished hope that we may yet provide transgender children with a life that is livable and long.


Enduring love for all of my children and also for my partner in all things.