Abigail Shrier on the Left’s targeting of gender issues

June 19, 2022 • 12:30 pm

I suppose it’s only natural that if you consider yourself a Leftist—even a “progressive” one—and you get disemboweled by your side for saying something politically offensive to your side, you will get resentful of your erstwhile allies.  In some cases, I think, these people can be driven rightwards, either on the whole or at least in some attitudes.  One example is the relentless pushing of ivermectin and dissing of covid vaccinations by Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying after they were driven from Evergreen State, but even they haven’t become right wingers. Other people have, I think, but I won’t name names because there’s no point.

You remember Abigail Shrier, a liberal who, two years ago, ran afoul of the Purity Posse when she published her book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. (It was briefly banned from Target).I read it, and it was certainly not nearly as awful as the P.P. makes out: it’s not in the least transphobic. In fact, Shrier’s book was an important warning about the possibility that the exponential rise in girls who wanted to be boys might have substantial social causes (a “fad” of sorts; see the second part of Andrew Sullivan’s latest column), and that the premature treatment of these girls with surgery, hormones, or puberty blockers might be dangerous, either physically or by ruining people’s lives. (Transsexuality, of course, is a necessary procedure for some.)

That warning desperately needed to be issued, and it turns out that Shrier is probably largely right (more on that this week).  But her latest piece, on Bari Weiss’s Substack site, takes out after the “left” as if it were a monolith bent on censoring anything that criticizes trans activism.  But we’re not monolithic; I’m on Shrier’s side and I’m on the Left.  Further, the Right itself is involved in anti-sexuality-information legislation that could ban conversion, or discussions of it, by people who honestly need to hear about it.

Click to read her piece:

Shrier goes after Child Protective Services (CPS) in Florida after Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said he might have CPS persecute parents who take their kids to drag shows. That’s a ridiculous threat, of course, and part of the Right’s fear of any sexuaity that isn’t “cis.”  But she also mentions this pending legislation from the Left:

In California, matters head from bad to worse: a new bill aspires to transform California into a “sanctuary state” for gender-swapping youth, making it possible for even a non-custodial parent to run to California to transition her child against her ex-spouse’s wishes.

The rectitude of that bill isn’t something I’ve pondered, but from these and other issues she raises a question:

Here, then, is the question: If our ultimate goal is returning to a normalcy in which government agencies and corporations treat all Americans fairly regardless of viewpoint, how are we to achieve this? At a minimum, we must acknowledge that these institutions are already weaponized and their artillery points only in one direction: against the opponents of the left. Acknowledge further that an ever-increasing tyranny is ratcheted upon those who dare criticize the encroachment of gender ideology into all spheres of public life. The playing field is about as level as San Francisco’s Filbert Street.

When I first read that, I read it as government and corporations weaponizing their artillery towards the “opponents of the Right”, which is the Left.  but then I realized that Shrier is indicting the Left here. And notice that she says “the left”, not “the extreme left” or the “progressive left”. I’m here to tell Ms. Shrier that there are still a lot of us who agree with her call for caution and are wary of affirmation therapy and other non-reversible incursions into young people’s biology.

Besides describing the demonization of her book and herself, she mentions several other cases of would-be censorship that you may not know about:

This week, conservative writers Ryan Anderson and Alexandra DeSanctis lost the ability to offer pre-orders of their new pro-life audiobook when the book’s distributor dropped them—on ideological grounds, of course. One year ago, Anderson’s critique of the transgender movement, When Harry Became Sally, was effectively vaporized—deleted by Amazon on the specious grounds that it “framed an LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.” (It’s nearly impossible to speak of gender dysphoria without reference to its inclusion in the DSM-5, psychiatry’s most authoritative manual of mental illnesses; indeed, the word “disorder” is in the title of the DSM.) Even third-party sales of Anderson’s book were banned from Amazon and all sites they control. Given that well over half of all U.S. book sales flow through its channels, Amazon’s actions represent an issue entirely different from Masterpiece Cakeshop (the difference is scale), as I’ve written before. An Amazon deletion is a death sentence for a book.

Not to be outdone, this week, PayPal and Etsy shut down the accounts of biological realist and writer Colin Wright for his persistence in arguing that there are only two sexes. Etsy permanently disabled Wright’s account—where he sold his “Reality’s Last Stand” merch promoting his newsletter—on the grounds that Wright “glorif[ied] hatred or violence toward protected groups.”

That’s a lie. Wright never did.

Wright is a biologist who made the grievous error of knowing a thing or two about biology and refusing to genuflect before the Torquemadas who insist he parrot their phony gender science. But of course, while Wright pays this price for his harmless (and, honestly, inoffensive) t-shirts and mugs, Etsy continues to list for sale stickers and pins and other bric-a-brac emblazoned with messages like “Fuck TERFs,” “TERFs can choke,” and “Shut the Fuck up TERF” with an anime creature pointing a semiautomatic handgun at its presumably female interlocutor.

There’s clearly a bad double standard at Etsy and Amazon, and this needs to stop. “Fuck TERFS”? Really? Are J. K. Rowling and Martina Navratilova TERFS? This will stop only when liberals call out this nonsense.

What also needs to stop is the demonization of those who assert the biological truth that there are two sexes in humans, male and female, even if there are many genders. In this respect, we are no different from most vertebrates, and the clownfish be damned (it’s the recurring Woke symbol of sequential hermaphroditism, which proves nothing about humans). It’s a telling sign of the craziness of our times that even biologists are beginning to doubt whether H. sapiens comes in two sexes, and that there’s no “spectrum of sex” between those who can produce sperm and those who can produce eggs.

So while Shrier somewhat unfairly accuses the left as a pure trans-activist monolisth, she is also on the mark about the double standard of Cancel Culture—a standard that’s in place simply because those on the simple “Left” or center Left are afraid to open their mouths for fear of being called racists.


Here is the problem: Almost every liberal will be content to allow our institutions and corporations to punish conservatives as long as they themselves remain unscathed. They may feel a pang of discomfort watching books deleted from Amazon, but until it is a book of theirs, they will continue to show a remarkable disinclination to speak up. (Yes, with the important exception of brave souls like J.K. Rowling, Elon Musk and Joe Rogan. And the moment liberals speak out against such censorship, they are accused of being right-wing and lose the left’s protection.)

As long as Amazon never deletes books by Rachel Maddow, Bob Woodward, Ezra Klein, or Paul Krugman, America’s large and powerful center-left has proven itself all-too-willing to allow the censorship to proceed. As long as only the left weaponizes every available corporation and government agency, America will continue its decade-long shrug.

Well, that’s a bit exaggerated because there are institutions that punish liberals. They’re called “southern and western American states”. Unfortunately, Big Media and corporations like Amazon are largely controlled by the progressive Left, but were they controlled by the Right we’d be in even bigger trouble. Each political extreme has its own double standard, and each wants some education censored, but one can’t just pin everything on just “the left.”  As the old saying goes, “It’s okay when we do it.”

Shrier ends with a depressing conclusion that I reached earlier today with respect to the ACLU:

Those waiting on the mythical pendulum to “swing back,” should stop holding their breath. The gender activists are True Believers, akin to jihadists: no amount of reasoning diminishes their resolve, no appeal to data brings them pause, no urge to consider the sanctity of American liberties will convince them to cool it.

It’s not just the gender activists who are true believers akin to religionists, but Wokies in general. For that point of view, read John McWhorter’s book Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America

39 thoughts on “Abigail Shrier on the Left’s targeting of gender issues

  1. Unfortunately, Big Media and corporations like Amazon are largely controlled by the progressive Left…

    It might be more fair to say they allow themselves to be controlled by the progressive left. I have doubts that the leadership of these organizations are “progressives,” but they are probably liberal, and if progressive activists and cancel culture warriors have done one thing well it is to weaponize well-meaning liberals.

    1. It is very distressing to learn, from the excerpt quoted above, about the highly unethical actions taken by PayPal and Etsy against Colin Wright. Anyone doubting the extent to which corporate America (from Big Tech to BlackRock to almost every other behemoth and leviathan dominating the world of commerce and finance) has been pervaded by “wokeness” would do well to read the excellent analysis by the brilliant young Vivek Ramaswamy in Woke, Inc., published last year.

  2. I have a subscription to Colin Wright’s substack “Reality’s Last Stand”. l link to a recent column of his called, “Sex is Not a Spectrum”. It is columns like this that have brought the digital and social hammer down on him.

    The very notion that sex is not fluid (a spectrum) is now considered by many ipso facto transphobic. Considered by whom? Well, the people in corporations and institutions and activists group who accuse and then take adverse action.

    This is a very good and clearly written column:


    1. The whole “sex is/is not a spectrum” thing is a “look squirrels” tactic. The vast majority of trans-women have unambiguously male physiology – or did before they started medical treatment.

  3. “…the premature treatment of these girls with surgery, hormones, or puberty blockers might be dangerous, either physically or by ruining people’s lives.” Stronger, I consider it close to criminal. I think that before resorting to these basically irreversible ‘therapies’, the case should be evaluated scrupulously. And not by ‘trans activists’.
    I see a clear parallel between the ‘anorexia nervosa’ epidemic of a few decades ago, and this sudden surge in female to male transitions.
    I think the ‘intersectionalists’ and ‘woke’ play a guilty role there. The sanctifying of victimhood: these girls are mostly white, from well to do families. They are looking for victimhood, instead of being painted as oppressors, and hence become ‘trans’ (no that idea is not my own, but Strier pointed that out, and she’s spot on).
    What has been pointed out too little is that if sex is as fluid as ‘gender’ all these (again, IMMO close to criminal) interventions would be superfluous. The interventions obviously presuppose a sexual binary.
    The tragedy is that the trans-activists are trying to convince that a biological female can transform fully to a male, and a male to a female. In mammals for some 160 million years that is simply not possible .

      1. Kinda reminds me of a buddy of mine from first-year law school. He was sitting in a carrel next to me in the law library highlighting every line of text in a casebook. I leaned over and asked didn’t that defeat the purpose of highlighting?

        “Nope,” he said, “it’s all important.” 🙂

        1. Jokes about Highlighters of various colours wielded symphonically by the keeners in the front row were a recurring staple in med school. One morning the class filed in to find the wags had got there early. They had roped off the front two rows and hung a sign on the rope: “You must have at least three Highlighters to enter this area.”

          But, yeah, my “Harrison’s Textbook of Internal Medicine” has a lot of Highlighter in it. And just as the profs warned us, most of what I Highlighted was out of date before I finished residency.

          1. I was a backrow kinda guy in law school. The wankers up front were shocked when I made law review.

            I always tried to buy used casebooks in law school, since I was trying to get by at a private school on scholarship and bartending money. There was a guy a year ahead of me on law review, at the top of his class, who used to sell his books back to the bookstore in pristine condition to get top dollar. (I don’t know how he did it; mine were always full of highlighting, underlining, and marginalia.) I realized I bought a book of his from the bookstore one time, discovered what his game was, and made a deal on the spot to buy his used books directly from him, splitting the difference between what the bookstore would have paid him and what it would’ve charged me.

    1. Where are trans activists arguing that people can change their biological sex (as opposed to gender)? This is a claim which I keep seeing but which has no evidence for it.

      1. I’ve never heard that claim. What they argue is that biological sex is so severed from gender that it places no restrictions on which of many genders a person can adopt on a given day. A biological male who adopts female gender is a woman for all intents and purposes including being a lesbian or a heterosexual woman who thinks gay women or straight men should want her to hit on them. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will need more than a biologist to help her figure that one out if a case comes before her.

      2. No … and yes. The terms “sex” and “gender” are often conflated and muddled. Originally, sex referred to reproductive biology and gender referred to social construct and/or how one identified. A transwoman, for example, would be of the male sex but of the woman gender. But

        1) Why then do they refer to the sex “assigned at birth?” The obvious implication is that the doctor/parents got the sex wrong.

        2.) The definitions don’t reflect that distinction. John Hopkins defines a “transgender woman” as “someone assigned the male gender at birth who identifies on the female spectrum.” Dictionary.com uses the same definition for a “trans female.”

        3.) Referring to a transwoman as male and a transman as female is considered transphobic.

        4.) When explaining trans identities, it’s common for animals which change sex (sometimes called “animals that change gender”) to be introduced as an analogy, or evidence that it’s found elsewhere in nature (i.e. clownfish)

        5) It’s becoming more common for trans ppl to insist they are the opposite sex; Veronica Ivy “I am female — that’s what’s on my birth certificate, passport …” etc.

        6.) Anecdotally, teenagers seem to be convinced that cross-sex hormones or surgery literally changes their sex. This may be reinforced by some trans ppl insisting their constructed opposite sex organs “are almost impossible to distinguish from cis.”

        1. Have to disagree with your first premise, Sastra. Gender never “originally” referred to a social construct of how a human person identifies. It was originally borrowed from languages that are gender-inflected—English is not—to be used as a euphemism for “sex”. “The battle of the sexes” became “gender politics”. It never meant that one’s gender was distinct from one’s sex, just as when Victorian prudes referred to a table’s “limbs” they meant nothing else but its legs, and female homosexual activity was referred to as “tribadism” to avoid snickers among the common folk. Tribads and “lesbians” (originally another euphemism) were never meant to be anything other than what they were: female homosexuals.

          Only later did the idea of gender get hi-jacked to become something else that was not explicitly and completely determined by one’s sex. It is tempting to think that had the linguistic term “gender” not been pressed into service as a way to avoid having to say the naughty word “sex”, especially in corporate boardrooms where one does try to avoid imagining a romp with the Chief HR Officer, transgenderism would never have become a thing.

          Now, of course long before we had gender-balanced Cabinets, meaning only equal representation of the two sexes, there were transsexuals who underwent sex-change operations (not “gender-affirmation surgery”). When the history of all this is written, these questions will have to be tackled: When did gender get divorced from sex (instead of just euphemizing it)? and Did that divorce enable the proliferation and normalization of psychological deviance not grounded in biological reality? Are drag queens still gay men dressing up as women for camp? Or are they now women?

          1. You’re right. My understanding is that term “gender” was originally separated from “sex” in feminist ideology, in that it referred to stereotypical socially-constructed ideals of masculine and feminine. Women’s oppression was grounded in their sex and enforced by gender. Men are strong leaders; women are compliant followers. “Gender” then was something to be minimized (or eliminated) so that boys and girls weren’t constricted by stereotypes. Fairly straightforward and comprehensible.

            Trans ideology originally borrowed that — but confusingly added “gender identity” as part of “gender,” insisting that this had no connection to whether one was masculine or feminine and was a way to break the stereotypes around “men” and “women.” Sex isn’t gender … but then sometimes it is, and sometimes the terms get switched, and sometimes being trans means you adopt the cultural stereotypes of the opposite sex. Muddled.

            1. Roger that. Appreciate the amplification from feminism….which seems to have been rudely shoved aside.

              1. Katy Montgomery claims sex is mutable all the damn time in Twitter and gets thousands of likes and retweets.

      3. One claim I’ve seen bouncing around the Right (With no evidence provided to support it.) Is that trans activists are claiming that humans are born physically androgynous and require surgical intervention to become ‘male’ or ‘female’, hence their preference for the phrase ‘assigned at birth’.

        1. Just…wow. The fact that anyone believes trans activists, let alone anyone who knows anything about human development, would actually argue this is absurd. Sometimes it feels pointless to try and argue with the Right, as they will simply make BS up and their requirement for evidence is nil.

        2. I don’t think you have any evidence to make that claim about the Right. Your statement that it is “bouncing around the Right” could be something that you made up just to troll us.

          Nonetheless, trans-sceptical people do have a point here. “Assigned at birth” is language that is indeed used legitimately for infants born with ambiguous external genitalia (a situation that does not apply at all to people born with completely typical male or female infant features who years later say they have gender dysphoria.). These ambiguous infants are assigned male or female after medical investigation to determine why their genitalia look ambiguous and then discussion with parents about how they would prefer to raise such a child who might, perhaps, not be able to pee standing up or get a penile erection, regardless of chromosomes or internal organs. Great sensitivity is required here and it is much more than merely “assigning” a sex although that is the shoptalk shorthand. It’s not like assigning locker numbers. Because of physical appearance, parents may well choose to raise such an XY child as a girl, less often an XX as a boy. Depending on the specific condition, this choice may become untenable at puberty.

          Trans-activists have hi-jacked the “assigned at birth” language to imply that the doctor and parents “got it wrong” when they observed typical genitalia as the baby was being born (or on ultrasound earlier.). The idea that sex and therefore sex role of raising (which “gender” has recently come to mean) can be so easily “incorrectly assigned” is nonsense yet this is indeed what trans-activists hold: “if only you had looked at me more carefully, you would have realized that I was a girl.” They prefer this language to “natal male” or “born a boy” because they are trying to erase the idea that they were ever anything other than what they know themselves now to be: the girl/woman they always have been. “My penis is someone’s mistake. It was meant to be a clitoris. My TikTok following and my school counsellor say so.”

          Trans activists do indeed make the claim that you can’t tell just by looking at a baby whether it’s a boy or a girl. If you call it a boy because it has a penis and a scrotum and you are wrong, the boy will need (often irreversible) affirmative care (drugs and surgery) ASAP to correct the assignment error. This is very close to making the strawman claim that babies are born androgynous and need mutilation of body parts that only appear to be normal in order to conform to self-selected gender. It is probably close enough for laypeople to conclude that their school boards are run by kooks and vote them out.

          1. Trans activists do indeed make the claim that you can’t tell just by looking at a baby whether it’s a boy or a girl.

            I reckon, if I did that with random new born babies, I’d be right about 98% or 99% of the time. It is above my pay grade to calculate the p-value for that but I reckon it is likely to be small enough to say that gender and sex are strongly correlated.

            1. Anecdote alert- My wife worked in the maternity ward of a public hospital. She assisted and delivered large numbers of babies. Thousands, I guess.
              She never saw an ambiguous one. If there had been one, they would have called her in, as they call the students for any unusual cases.
              Our trans child made a claim similar to the above, and Dr. Blancke pointed out the reality.
              Such births do happen, very rarely. But this is not the 18th century. A child born with what appear to be ambiguous genitalia will be found, just as an example, to have a disorder with a specific name and identified cause, which occurs only in girls, when a certain step of development is disrupted in the womb. There are best practice treatments. Nobody flips a coin and assigns sex.

              This direction of discourse is not really relevant to the trans discussion because almost all trans kids were born with normal genitals, had normal childhood growth, and, critical to this discussion. experienced puberty normally for their natural sex.

  4. I’m a liberal lefty myself, but children shouldn’t be exposed to sexualized drag-queen performances or shows, which are highly inappropriate for them. Even the so-called “Drag Queen Story Hours” in schools and libraries are anything but harmless for children, because the intention behind them isn’t just unobjectionable tolerance education with regard to LGBT people but ideological indoctrination with queer theory. Just read this mind-blowingly nutty paper titled “Drag pedagogy: The playful practice of queer imagination in early childhood”: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03626784.2020.1864621

    “Drag Queen Story Hour provides a generative extension of queer pedagogy into the world of early childhood education.

    DQSH grew from queer author Michelle Tea’s personal desire to connect her toddler with queer culture.”

    Here’s one such event for “AGE GROUP: | Preschool and Kindergarten | Elementary School Age”: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/5093517

    “Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. Drag Queen Story Hour captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity in childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.”

    Houston, we have a problem:

  5. Neither the left or right are monolithic. Politics, unlike sex, exists on numerous spectrums, because left and right are clumsy and imprecise descriptors.

    “the Right itself is involved in anti-sexuality-information legislation that could ban conversion, or discussions of it, by people who honestly need to hear about it.”

    That sounds like a description produced by queer activists, angry that their plan to disrupt bourgeois sexual norms by talking to toddlers about anal sex has been thwarted. I know that is not your intention, but the political bias on how such issues are covered very much influences the conversation.
    Gender activists are absolutely true believers, and our schools are full of them. If the schools were instead full of holy rollers, they would always be finding excuses to steer the conversation towards the Cleansing Blood of the Risen Christ. Parents would demand something be done. First, they would take it out of the required curriculum, but the saved teachers would find ways to keep talking about it.
    As a last civil resort, legislation might be introduced forbidding any discussion of religion. That would be an awkward solution, but the intent would not be about stopping normal discussions of religion, that would just be collateral damage.

    As a parent, I miscalculated badly, by not anticipating the actual threats to my children. They are fully immunized against socialism and communism, having learned of the true nature of those philosophies from their grandfather who barely survived a couple of years in a Chinese prison camp, and having read (and understanding) most of the source material, often in the original language. I assumed that was the primary threat to them in school, as far as hostile ideology is concerned.
    I don’t think teachers or staff pushing religion were going to make much headway with them, either.
    In both those cases, the teacher’s efforts at conversion were a source of amusement for us and the kids.

    The idea of trans recruitment was something I never suspected was going on. We took no action against it, because we had no idea it was even happening. Once we did become aware of the issue, they kept playing us, by pretending sympathy and referring us to professionals that were supposed to help, but were just the next stage in the affirmation process.
    Looking back, I cannot think of any warnings I ignored. At my kids school, whether you were subject to such indoctrination was largely determined by your last name. There are three professional counselors at the school, and the kids are assigned a counselor by last name, A-F, G-O, or P-Z. Two of the counselors do not seem to have produced any trans students. The third, ours, seems to be running at 4% success per class at converting kids to trans. That is one end of the spectrum, but lots of kids seem to have fallen prey to early sexualization or things that might be classified as general degeneracy. I hope some day to ask our counselor, why it was so very important to her to indoctrinate my child into an ideology where attempted suicide is a likely outcome. I would prefer this happen when she is a defendant, testifying under oath.

    If this sort of thing is happening in your kid’s school, and you have been made aware of it, you have no choice but to act. Pushing for changes in school policy or legislation at the state level are pretty mild reactions, in my opinion.
    One of the drawbacks to our two-party system is that it is a restaurant where there are no menu substitutions. I don’t get to order, at the voting booth, a large order of gun rights with a side of universal access to abortion. If I order the gun rights, it comes garnished with religious fundamentalism. If I order the abortion rights, it comes with a side of giving trans activists full access to everyone’s young children, and supporting Hamas in their effort to exterminate the Jews.
    In that sense, I could certainly see concerned parents becoming single issue voters to protect their kids, even if they otherwise support most DNC policies. Nobody is going to say “sure, it bothers me that my preteen daughter has to let boys join her in the shower after gym class, but I think bail reform is a more important voting issue”

    I once again apologize for the length of my screed.

    1. Agree with Mike. Max, everything I write here on this topic is with you and your children in mind.

    2. The queer push is not just coming from teachers and school boards, of course.
      A recent ha-ha from Michigan’s gay Democrat Attorney General Dana Nessel:
      “Drag queens make everything better. Drag queens are fun…
      I’d say this — ‘A drag queen for every school.’”

    3. Looking back, I cannot think of any warnings I ignored.

      Perhaps you need independent input to figure that out. You are already admitting that you miscalculated badly. Is it plausible that you don’t want to admit that you missed a signal? It is good to have someone independent investigate your mistakes.

      1. I am not really sure what such a review would look like. I sort of enjoy time travel stories, where a person keeps returning to a fixed point in the past, and tries to improve on the outcome with knowledge gained from several previous attempts.
        In this case, I am stuck with wondering if there were any signs I missed, with the knowledge I possessed at the time. If I had a do-over with what I know today, I would very likely catch on early in the process.
        What is going to happen, it that I get to spend the rest of my life wishing that I had noticed, and taken appropriate action. And I get to wonder how things might have been different.
        On the other hand, I am very lucky in lots of important ways. My kid is doing really well in an insanely difficult field of study, and has not excluded us from their life. Nothing has yet been done that cannot be mostly undone, beyond the long term effects of hormone therapy.
        Neither the counselor, the Psychologist, or any of the others who played a part in deliberately harming my child are currently in plastic drums buried in the desert, nor am I in jail for having put them there. Instead, I am practicing restraint, and carefully documenting everything for future litigation.

  6. “Given that well over half of all U.S. book sales flow through its channels, Amazon’s actions represent an issue entirely different from Masterpiece Cakeshop (the difference is scale), as I’ve written before. An Amazon deletion is a death sentence for a book.”

    But on the scale of the individual (and his livelihood), the actions of the Left were a death sentence for a baker.

  7. What someone is, what someone does, what someone feels, what someone think, can be (in fact, in a broad sense, always is) a symptom of something else or of a combination of things. That something else, can be trauma, some kind of illness, repression, frustration, false ideas.

    We should be very careful before normalizing everything, considering them to be as natural and free development of human beings.

    What do you think?

    1. Generally, this is true, but it could be applied to anything. Political affiliation, religious belief (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, one’s favourite colour – you name it. And we know from psychological experiments that if people are looking for mental illness, they’ll find it, regardless of the actual evidence.

      This is a common argument from trans-sceptical people – that trans people are mentally ill. And even if they are, then so what? Psychiatrists mostly agree that the best treatment for gender dysphoria is affirmative care, which usually involves transitioning. Do you have an alternative treatment which would be effective?

      The problem I have with these sorts of arguments is that they make vague statements which are often true, but implicitly argue that mental illness invalidates a person’s identity and beliefs, and those who are mentally ill should not be listened to and instead should be forced into a treatment plan which often serves societal expectations more than them. It side-steps more systemic issues (Republicans love to do this when talking about gun control, for example) and stigmatizes mental illness.

      1. Affirmative care, especially if someone recognizes there is something wrong with the person, is like giving up. Can you imagine if this would be established everywhere? Affirmative care to the addicted person, to the delusional who thinks they are Michael Jackson, to the depressed one, to the obese and so on.

        There is no doubt that a person can suffer additionally because of how other people, society in general, behave towards them. But even if you this will be fixed to the degree it can and should, the suffering which derives from how the person is, still persists.

        I’m not sure what you mean by invalidating person’s identity and beliefs. I do think, though, that someone should be listened to. A lot actually, and carefully. Unless by listened to you mean to satisfy every desire and want they might express. Well that, it would be a bit weird. It would be weird about anyone. Nor do I think that anybody should be forced in a treatment plan. I don’t know how something like that is implied from a comment like the one I did before. I also don’t know how a comment like mine necessarily stigmatized mental illness (a term I personally don’t really like — by illness in my initial comment I mostly had a body illness, a malfunction). But I do not understand how it stigmatizes what it conventionally called mental illness.

        1. I would argue that your first paragraph uses non-equivalent examples. Addiction, depression, delusions, the adverse health effects of obesity – not treating those harms the patient and likely others. Affirmative care for those with gender dysphoria, however, more often than not improves the wellbeing of the patient. And one’s identity not matching the gender role (man or woman) they were assigned to by their biological sex is not the same as a delusion, as it does not contradict objective reality (unless one believes that your gender is entirely determined by your biological sex).

          In general, when trans-sceptical people argue against affirmative care for trans people, they don’t actually care for the well-being of those who suffer from gender dysphoria (I am not saying that this is your position). What they are worried about is the supposed ‘danger’ that trans people pose to society. Did those who deemed homosexuality a mental illness in the 20th century actually care about the well-being of gay people? No. It was just a means of making bigotry against gay people look more scientific and sympathetic.

          I agree that I was a bit harsh in my last paragraph. I apologize for implying that you are claiming that we should not listen to those we consider mentally ill and stigmatize them. And I agree that not every desire stated to a psychiatrist should be satisfied. My caution is against denying someone’s identity just because they could also be classified as mentally ill (not saying that you are doing this, but I have seen others do this, especially when it concerns autism).

          1. If you weren’t so obviously partisan, taking gratuitous swipes at the Right and Republicans in both your recent posts on this topic, and drawing false analogies between anti-gay bigotry and trans-scepticism, I might be more disposed toward giving your views a hearing. Besides, how do you know that including homosexuality as a mental illness was not motivated at all by concern for their well-being? Better a mental illness than a crime. Like everything else, it was more complicated than you partisans admit. I was there.

            I don’t see that trans-sceptics worry about trans people as such doing harm to society, other than the harm that exploitative liars do to women in prisons, shelters, and sports. What people worry about is the harm trans-proselytizers do to impressionable children who aren’t actually trans but can be manipulated into thinking they need their puberty messed with. I think that’s who we are trying to purge, not the harmless effeminate adult men who wear dresses and makeup to feel better about themselves and otherwise mind their own business.

            1. Oh, I am definitely against the Right and Republicans, though I am not here to defend everything that the Left says and does. And I agree that I may have over-generalized about the motives of everyone who viewed homosexuality as a mental illness. However, some forms of concern can be a form of bigotry, when the ‘concern’ infantilizes a group of people and casts them as helpless victims who are not responsible for their beliefs and actions. As two examples from what I’ve seen, autistic people and trans men often face this. But even if some of them were motivated by genuine advocacy and not bigotry, the overall effect was the same; to mask bigotry underneath the language of medicine.

              Based on your comments about trans women throughout the posts on this site, I don’t think you are in a position to tell others that their views are too simplistic, or that they are partisans and therefore their views shouldn’t be considered as much.

              I wonder how dangerous ‘trans-proselytizers’ actually are, and whether they exist in the way you describe them. I can’t say that absolutely none exist, as there could always be one or a few isolated individuals inappropriately pushing a trans identity on those who are not trans. But to say that there is a large influential group trying to force children to become trans sounds more like a conspiracy theory. And when you look at what Republicans are fighting against, they are not just fighting against these theoretical ‘trans-converters’, but rather, they are fighting against the very idea of trans identities being taught at all in school. This is a mistake. There is a difference between teaching children that trans people exist and trying to force children to be trans.

          2. Jake,
            I just wanted to say that I appreciate your insightful and well-balanced (and empathetic) comments (and suprisingly non-defensive when challenged).
            I always cringe when a ‘trans’ issue comes up, because the comments section becomes a bit toxic.
            Anyway, you don’t need my approbation, but you make good points that can be discussed rationally.
            (Seems redundant, I know, but i WAS moved to tell you).

          3. And one’s identity not matching the gender role (man or woman) they were assigned to by their biological sex is not the same as a delusion, as it does not contradict objective reality (unless one believes that your gender is entirely determined by your biological sex).

            Whenever I run across an idea that confuses me, I try to come up with hypothetical examples which I plug in to help me visualize what’s going on. Here, I see Ann, who doesn’t fit into the sparkle princess, girly-girl, meek helpmeet ideal which society often assigns to women. She likes science, and is a truck driver. Her identity therefore doesn’t match the feminine gender role. She’s a female who doesn’t conform, a woman who lives her life as her authentic self.

            You’re right. That doesn’t contradict reality, and there’s no reason to think she’s mentally ill.

            1. Thanks Sastra. I was going to object to Jake’s stranglehold on objective reality. By his lights, Ann’s not mentally ill either. By his objective reality she’s a man. Born with female reproductive organs, alas, and incorrectly assigned female at birth, but a man nonetheless. Look at the gender role she has adopted. OK, she doesn’t feel like a man because gender dysphoria wasn’t a thing when she was 11, or 5, and all her friends didn’t have it. But if we’d had social media back then, we probably could have got to her and convinced her to bind her breasts at least.

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