Celebrities and influencers call on social media to remove anti-trans “hatred”

June 28, 2023 • 10:00 am

GLAAD was founded in 1985, with the acronym standing for Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. As Wikipedia notes, the organization has now extended its coverage to transsexual and bisexual people.  That’s presumably why the organization will remain “GLAAD” without the full name being used.

GLAAD (/ɡlæd/[1]) is an American non-governmental media monitoring organization. Originally founded as a protest against defamatory coverage of gay and lesbian demographics and their portrayals in the media and entertainment industries, it has since included bisexual and transgender people.

Yesterday, a whole pile of celebrities and “influencers”, as well as “allies,” posted a demand on the GLAAD site for social media moguls (Zuckerberg, Musk, etc.) to stop allowing disinformation and “hate speech” against trans people on their sites. I wholeheartedly agree with nearly everything on the list of demands, which you can read by clicking below). But I have two significant objections. First, read the statement (you’ll be impressed by the list of supporters):

Here’s the content that the signers want censored by companies like Facebook and Twitter:

  • Content that spreads malicious lies and disinformation about medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth. As described above, such harmful content from high-follower hate-based accounts has resulted in extraordinary real-world harms.13 Specific mitigations on such disinformation must be developed (for instance akin to election and COVID-19 mitigations and rules).
  • Accounts and postings that perpetuate anti-LGBTQ extremist hate14 and disinformation,15 in violation of platform policies, and which target trans and LGBTQ people, including baseless and malicious disinformation of LGBTQ people being threats to children (e.g. the anti-LGBTQ “groomer” conspiracy theory16). Such harmful and dangerous lies must be more effectively moderated and mitigated.
  • Dehumanizing, hateful attacks on prominent transgender public figures and influencers. Online attacks against LGBTQ organizations and individuals are on the rise.17 A recent report from GLAAD, UltraViolet, Kairos, and the Women’s March shows that 60% of LGBTQ people feel harmed not only from direct harassment and hate, but from witnessing harassment against other LGBTQ community members such as celebrities and public figures.18 Directing hate against LGBTQ public figures is a common vehicle for expressing general anti-LGBTQ bigotry. When your companies maintain policy loopholes that allow such hate, this perpetuates harm against entire communities.
  • Anti-transgender hate speech, including targeted misgendering, deadnaming, and hate-driven tropes.19 For example, Media Matters, GLAAD and others have identified multiple YouTube videos — which have accumulated millions of views — that bully, harass, and misgender trans people. In each video, prominent anti-trans pundits use YouTube to demean, target, and misgender young people, their parents, and public figures20 in videos saturated with blatant anti-trans rhetoric. These videos remain active despite these violations having been reported by Media Matters, GLAAD, and other organizations to YouTube.

My first qualification is about “hate speech.”  My view is that, as far as possible, social-media outlets should adhere to the First Amendment principles of free speech, while recognizing that, as private companies, they don’t have to.  But I’m in favor of the open discourse that the First Amendment provides.

Note, though, that the Amendment does not protect all speech: it disallows threats to people, speech intended to promote imminent lawless action , false advertising, fraud, and defamation.  FIRE gives a list of exceptions, noting that “hate speech” and online “harassment” (but not harassment in the workplace) are protected categories of speech.  I’m not sure why, if you take the First Amendment view, transgender people should be protected from legal speech while other groups like Jews, Muslims, or any minority, are not.  (As a First-Amendment hard-liner, and a secular Jew, I am perfectly happy to have people make anti-Semitic remarks on social media, including denying the Holocaust or even, like the Scottish dog, raise their paw when the owner says “gas the Jews”.) But of course I reserve the right to answer that nonsense on the same social media.

Given the tremendous variation in what people think of as “hate speech” which is also legal speech, nobody should be immune on social media from “hate speech”—except the form that violates the First Amendment. For crying out loud, P. Z. Myers called me an “asshole” on his blog the other day, and I’m fine with that, though I won’t engage in the kind of puerile name-calling that occurs during his daily Two Minutes Hate.

But what worries me about this particular issue is that some justifiable discussion of trans matters might fall under the nature of “hate speech” or “disinformation about medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth”, and it this discussion should not be censored on the grounds that it engenders hate.  I’m thinking in particular of criticism of “affirmative care”, which to me includes not just a therapeutic rush to confirm whatever gender identity a young person claims, but also the rush to give gender-dysphoric children puberty-blocking hormones.  This is because the efficacy of “gender affirming therapy” (henceforth GAT), as contrasted with conventional therapy with an objective and empathic counselor has not been demonstrated, and GAT almost invariably leads to hormones: first blockers and then either testosterone or estrogen. (And sometimes surgery.) We know that most gender dysphoric children who aren’t given GAT will resolve their issues, most often either resuming their original gender or becoming gay. In both cases. the possibly damaging effects of hormone therapy and surgery are avoided. Of course some of those children will go on to become transgender, and assuming that they are of age (say 16 or 18) when they decide to take hormones, that is their decision.

But the manifesto above assumes that GAT is always the way to go. At least that’s what I take from the desire to ban “Content that spreads malicious lies and disinformation about medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth.”  Who determines what is “medically necessary” for youth? The assumption here is that transgender youth (including those who are gender dysphoric and feel “trapped in the wrong body”) require medical healthcare. Yet there’s a lot of debate about that, and that debate should not be censored, even if you think social media needn’t adhere to the First Amendment. These issues are ongoing throughout the West, and Europe has dealt with them differently from the U.S., taking a more wait-and-see approach.  Calling for caution about these matters until the data are is is not transphobia.

And there is this claim in the text leading up to the list of demands given above. The bolding is mine.

This disinformation and hate, inadequately moderated on your platforms, plays an outsized role in the sharp increase in real-world anti-transgender targeting and violence.9 As documented by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in 2022,10 this is particularly the case when it comes to the online extremists leading proactive coordinated campaigns of hate and lies about gender affirming healthcare for trans youth.11 Despite the fact that every leading medical and psychological association affirms the safety and necessity of gender affirming healthcare for trans people, including youth, inflammatory disinformation falsely asserting that this healthcare is dangerous is allowed to fester on your platforms because it drives clicks and profit. Trans youth and their families and care providers are being endangered by your negligence, causing many families to flee their homes.

It may well be that all the American associations assert that gender-affirming healthcare is “safe and necessary”, but there are many physicians who dissent. More important, entire European countries have not embraced that affirmation, but are worried about the hormonal aspects of GAT as possibly harmful in the long term, and are using things like puberty blockers only in clinical trials. This is now the case in the UK and Sweden,  while puberty blockers are being strictly limited in places like Finland, Norway, and France.  And just yesterday Ireland’s national health service board (the HSE) ordered a review of puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria.

As the Atlantic noted,

But doctors do not agree [with American claims that GAT is necessary] , particularly in Europe, where no treatments have been banned but a genuine debate is unfurling in this field. In Finland, for example, new treatment guidelines put out in 2020 advised against the use of puberty-blocking drugs and other medical interventions as a first line of care for teens with adolescent-onset dysphoria. Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare followed suit in 2022, announcing that such treatments should be given only under exceptional circumstances or in a research context. Shortly after that, the National Academy of Medicine in France recommended la plus grande réserve in the use of puberty blockers. Just last month, a national investigatory board in Norway expressed concerns about the treatment. And the U.K.’s only national gender clinic for children, the Tavistock, has been ordered to close its doors after a government-commissioned report found, among other problems, that its Dutch-protocol-based approach to treatment lacked sufficient evidence.

Last November, the NYT reviewed the evidence for the harms vs. the value of puberty blockers, concluding that we just don’t have enough data to pronounce them safe and irreversible. Another NYT article by Emily Bazelon last June highlighted the “deep divisions” in America’s medical community about gender-affirming healthcare.  Here’s an excerpt from Bazelon’s piece.

Taking puberty suppressants (or hormones) for gender affirmation is “off-label,” meaning this specific use of the medications is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Off-label prescriptions are common and don’t imply anything improper, but there may be less research about the drug’s effects. If young people continue on to hormone treatments, puberty suppressants “probably” compromise fertility, especially for trans girls, Stephen M. Rosenthal, a pediatric endocrinologist at the gender center at U.C.S.F. who is on the group for the SOC8 chapter on hormone treatments, explained in a review last year for Nature Reviews Endocrinology. The medication can also prevent bone density from increasing as it typically would, and while levels returned to normal in trans boys who went on to hormone therapy, they remained low in trans girls who did the same, according to a 2020 study from the Amsterdam clinic. Little is known about the impact on brain development. “The relative paucity of outcomes data raises notable concerns,” Rosenthal wrote in his review. But he has no hesitation about prescribing puberty suppressants to kids who are deemed ready for them at his clinic. “The observed benefits greatly outweigh the potential adverse effects,” he said.

The problem is that we don’t have a good handle on the “potential adverse effects.” That’s why they’re “potential.”

(See my post on her article and the ACLU’s enraged reaction to Bazelon’s piece).

I’ll draw to a close by saying that the two NYT pieces alone would be considered “hate speech” by the GLAAD manifesto above, yet they’re objective discussions of GAT, both affirming the need for more data before we start a widespread practice of prescribing hormones to kids with gender dysphoria. This is not transphobia, but a necessary and essential debate that has to take place, along with acquiring data, before making GAT any kind of gold standard or requirement for treating gender-dysphoric children. Calling for bans on such discussion is not only misguided, but potentially harmful.

Finally, Jesse Singal has tweeted his take on the manifesto above:

In the response from GLAAD, two physicians are mentioned, and you might want to look up their records. They—especially Turban—are known for being wholehearted advocates of GAT.

60 thoughts on “Celebrities and influencers call on social media to remove anti-trans “hatred”

    1. PZ is still around? His readership had dwindled to practically nothing 10 years ago when i stopped reading.

      It’s no secret that gay civil rights groups have been taken over by trans activists, ut a lot of us still remember trans activists objecting to the fight for marriage equally because it was centering gay people and distracting from their goals. And how they torpedoed the Employment Nondiscrimination Act because it didn’t include them.
      LGB without the T will grow.

      1. Seems like a lot of LGBs want an immediate divorce from the T+s and now want nothing to do with Pride events at all. They seem to be copping a backlash by association.

      1. “Medically necessary” is jargon whose meaning has evolved over the years. Today it means, by definition, any services that government or private insurance system managers will reimburse a doctor (and hospital if one is involved) for doing. (Uniquely in Canada’s system, if the government declares a service medically necessary, the doctor is prohibited from charging privately under any circumstances and must accept the government’s payment.). It is now an insurance term, not a medical term.

        For instance, a plastic surgeon could do double mastectomy and chest-wall sculpting purely for cosmetic purposes, i,e., not for disease of the breasts. Because cosmetic surgery is done “solely to alter a person’s appearance” as the insurance regs put ii, insurance won’t pay and the patient pays out of pocket. But many insurance schemes now pay for this treatment if they deem it medically necessary for the over-all gender affirmation treatment of gender dysphoria in a specific patient. (“Doctor, on a scale of one to ten, how dysphoric is Mr. X about his B cups?” “Eleven.” “OK, he’s good. We’ll pay $500.”). Typically insurance, especially highly constrained systems like Canada’s, pay much less for medically necessary services than cosmetic procedures. So plastic surgeons put the medically necessary “top surgery” at the bottom of their waiting lists of typically two years. If the patient withdrew her “medical necessity” application to the provincial insurance system and was willing to use her credit card, the surgeon would see her next week, as for any lucrative cosmetic operation.

        Medical necessity doesn’t have anything much to do with evidence of medical effectiveness in treating disease. Discussions of medical necessity are rather just strategies to game the reimbursement system.

  1. If one reads the juvenile literature on this topic, it becomes unclear what the objective is and what is “unkind”.

    An example/rant excuse :

    A book instructs the young adult reader that (ca. 2019) “lately, ‘biological sex’ has begun to be debunked [..]”, which “language is more appropriate” (Orwellian), and “the sheer number of variables involved in determining somebody’s sex can be very inconsistent”, then that gets a pass as not “hate speech” – even though it is unkind to lie and misinform minors in their personal gnosis with such a piece of writing. Recruitment of children to clubs is, of course, covered by free speech as well. Sort of.

    It comes down to this perplexing distinction between adult and child. I have no solution to that.

    [ sigh..]

    Ranting complete. I can give a reference if needed for the quotes.

  2. The problem with these demands is that they are transparent. Saying that you think medical intervention for children is wrong, for example, would get you branded as a transphobe. The goal is to end the debate, and it should be a debate, by censoring the critics.

  3. Can anyone point to any actual examples of “anti-trans hate” on social media that should actually be banned?

    Or is the whole thing merely a cover-story for banning any disagreement with any part of their ideology?

    After all, “… malicious lies and disinformation about medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth” would be more-accurately phrased: “true and accurate information about un-necessary medical interventions that are not “heathcare” since the body is in a much healthier state without them”.

    And: “… anti-LGBTQ extremist hate and disinformation, …” would cover statements such as: “trans women, since they are actually men, should not compete in women’s sports”.

    1. I’d say anything written about sex and gender by J. K. Rowling.
      Abigail Shrier’s book “Irreversible Damage,” which ACLU lawyer Chase Stangio called for being banned, and that banning was “a hill he’d die on.”

    2. Is your definition of “hate” only slurs and the like? Anything else short of that would not qualify? I feel there’s an Excluded Middle issue that can’t be dismissed by appealing to extremes. How would you classify someone saying that transgender does not really physically exist and is a mental delusion? Is that “disagreement” or “hate”? Suppose it’s harsher and goes on at length, falling short of slurs, but mocking and derisive? Now let’s take a not-so-hypothetical of a web site which regularly promotes articles that are all variations of saying “This public figure who says they are transgender is really a (man|women), laugh at them for this”.

      This is all Free Speech. But where would you put it on the hate-disagreement continuum? Do you see the problem here?

      1. Given that my question was about stuff that should actually be banned, I’d say that none of your examples should be prohibited on social media. For example, we need to be able to ask whether transgenderism is a mental delusion, if only to argue to against it. Now should it be forbidden to say that a transgender person is really a man/woman in a derisive manner. If we did do that, we’d be giving way too much power to whoever gets to decide what is mocking and derisive.

        1. In 2012 the APA eliminated transgender as a mental disorder. It was also the year that Joe Biden said “Transgender discrimination is the civil rights issue of our time.”

          https://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry/being-transgender-no-longer-mental-disorde-msna16542

          The American Psychiatric Association has revised its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and it no longer lists being transgender as a mental disorder, among other changes announced this past weekend.

          Transgender people will now be diagnosed with “gender dysphoria,” which means emotional stress related to gender identity.”Gender identity disorder” had been listed as a mental disorder since the third edition of the DSM more than 20 years ago.

        2. Coel, I’m trying to get past the repeated knocking down of the weakest and most simplistic case, “any disagreement with any part of their ideology”. It’s very different positions between granting there’s a huge amount of hate on social media but it shouldn’t be banned because of Free Speech values, versus “a cover-story for banning” – i.e. does your objection to banning hinge on defining hate itself extremely narrowly, or that banning of hate defined less narrowly would be wrong due to the potential for abuse? If the latter, you should have no trouble with the idea that there’s a huge amount of hate on social media, and further, it’s far more abusive than “disagreement” (in the normal sense of the word).

          i.e.
          GLAAD: There’s a huge amount of hate on social media and it should be banned

          View1: There isn’t a huge amount of hate, that’s a “cover-story”

          View2: Yes, there’s a huge amount of hate, but Free Speech values mean it shouldn’t be banned

      2. An advocacy organization should not be allowed to define hate speech at all, (as content that a media company should be “required” to remove), for the obvious reason that the advocacy group will define as hate speech anything that is its policy to disagree with. Why debate what you can censor? Any such efforts should be dismissed as self-serving, without further discussion. All those things you think are in the Excluded Middle, plus the use of slurs like faggot or tranny, I would not call hate speech at all. So it ought to be easy. The media company ought not to censor any of that speech you cite, but it actually will knuckle under if it’s good for business, regardless of what any of us think (unless we are major shareholders.)

        Canada actually does criminalize hate speech in Sec 319 of the Criminal Code and violators can go to prison. The offence is narrowly defined. It’s not enough to be hateful. You have to make statements you know to be untrue in an effort to rouse your audience to hate the group enough to want to visit violence on its members. So the screed: “I hate trannies. They are really men just pretending to be women. Gender-affirming mutilation should be illegal,” would not be hate speech under Canada’s Criminal Code. I mention this not because I support hate-speech laws—I don’t; I think our law is misguided and there is a real slippery slope that is starting to tip dangerously in Canada right now on other issues. It’s just that hate speech isn’t just speech spoken by haters that causes people anguish and hurt. If you call for (or allow) a private media company to remove “hate speech” you should have a good understanding of what it really means when someone’s liberty is at stake. Of course a private publisher can chose to ban legal speech. But be careful what you ask for. Your ox will be gored when the other side takes power.

      3. To get out of the hypotheticals, I think transgender does not really physically exist and is a mental delusion. I know a lot of transgender people well and have great empathy and love for them. So no I don’t see the problem here.

  4. It is easy to notice that the label is “LGBTQ” but the complaints are all about the sensitivities of the TQ. More forced teaming from GLAAD.

    Also nice to see Jesse Singal back on twitter after his short spell in jail for violating hippos.

    1. The CBC seems to be cutting loose the LGB folk also, as unreliable team members. This story refers to the plight of “2STNBGD” children and youth in British Columbia who are under government protection. The industry that feeds off them needs more tax money. The LGB kids seem to be doing OK, or at least aren’t clients of government services.

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/children-and-youth-report-expanded-services-1.6885372

  5. Is there a reference to the claim that “every leading medical and psychological association affirms the safety and necessity of gender affirming healthcare for trans people, including youth”? I noted that the manifesto had generously supplied links to sources in every bullet point, but there was no link there.

    1. I think the claim is true. The problem is that the evidence behind those affirmations is thin, poor quality, and self-serving as has been discussed extensively here, probably better than in most medical journal clubs.. So far none of these “leading medical and psychological association[s]” has deigned to acknowledge this, or even that there might be maybe a twitch of controversy. Just last week the Canadian Pediatric Society published guidelines endorsing the whole nine yards like everyone else. (The only real danger of puberty blockers, says the CPS, is that when it comes time to fashion a vagina out of a boy’s scrotum, there may not be enough skin there to work with.

      The only criticism comes from outsiders like regulators and legislatures, such as those who shut down Tavistock, courageous non-physician Substackers, and cranks like us…and of course our host.

      It’s as if the clinical societies are writing their treatment guidelines in such a way to show that doctors and therapists were practising according to recognized standards of best practices, so there!. For when the lawsuits arrive.

  6. I’m not based in the US, so pardon my ignorance. But I’m under the impression that the general discourse regarding trans issues in the US surrounds the validity of gender-affirming care as well as fairness in women sports. No doubt there’ll be transphobic and hateful sentiments as a consequence of this dialogue, but to what degree is that hate the highlight of the discourse?

    Like the ACLU, my impression is that GLAAD has been institutionally captured. For instance, they’ve abused the influence they have to attempt to ruin Jesse Singal’s and Colin Wright’s reputation for their dissenting but legitimate and good faith views against gender-affirming care and gender ideology. Given how GLAAD is acting in bad faith, it’s hard to not see how they’re trying to pull of a motte and bailey here by framing discourses that are legitimate and of public interest as “transphobic” and “hateful”. This is pretty much straight out of the “woke” playbook.

    However things might turn out, I hope the social media companies would publicly acknowledge and address any possible hate on their platform in response to GLAAD’s campaign, while also publicly rejecting GLAAD’s attempt to overreach ideologically. Ultimately, while it’s good that there exist non-profit organisations that hold aspects of society accountable, the cultural influence they might gain from it must still be merited; otherwise, a wolf in sheep’s clothing would get to dictate our social norms and discourses. In this case, GLAAD strikes me as a radical ideological organisation that rejects evidence in favour of ideology, and is pushing their ideology by means of a trojan horse, that being LGBT rights.

    While Trump might have been an awful joke outside of the US, what actually gets exported is “woke”. The cultural institutions and organisations in the US (which are themselves institutionally captured) have a huge reach and influence all over the world. Unless these organisations get called out for the frauds they are (or their fraudulent and ideologically motivated claims and recommendations), this would inevitably influence and screw up the social climate and policies of countries such as mine.

    1. I don’t venture into dark corners of social media, so I can’t provide examples. But I would think that there is a lot of really hateful, bigoted speech out there against trans people, with the view that they must somehow be depraved and immoral and especially dangerous to children. There is an increase in violence toward trans people. That is for sure.

      1. Yes, the chant, “We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re coming for your children!” at NYC Trans-Pride went a long way toward dispelling the notion that trans people are dangerous to children. Great job, guys. OK, sure it was just mocking the moral panickers, but what are you going to do if legislators don’t get your arch New York humour and take you at your word?

        Mark, can you prove your claim that “for sure” there has been an increase in violence toward trans people? Most of the violence associated with trans people I’ve heard of is when they bust up people who disagree with them. And they get away with it. Angry women can’t really punch very hard, right? It’s just a cat fight between girls.

          1. I’m glad the number is so small that the articles have photos and bios of each victim. A nice tribute that the 26,000 cis-gendered homicide victims in 2020 didn’t get. Almost all the trans victims were black, so murderous transphobia directed at effeminate homosexual black men is another cultural pathology the black community needs to work on.

            By comparison, there are 28 deaths due to lightning each year.

      2. “There is an increase in violence toward trans people. That is for sure.”
        Is it? Or is it just that “violence” now means anything that hurts a feeling or goes against the current approved narrative?
        I’m happy to be convinced otherwise, assuming you have some proof to back up your claim.

        1. A women’s martial arts organization holds their yearly convention soon. Organizers want a “safe and welcoming space for people of all identities, and strongly suggested everyone take several trainings before it starts. One is on Microaggressions.

          When I joined 40+ years ago we were more concerned about rape and murder.

      3. Seems pretty one sided to me when it is always women who are violently attacked by the TRAs and never the other way. Thinking of the 70 yo lady who was bashed on the head ( and I believe received a fractured skull but am happy to be corrected) in NZ during a Let women speak rally for example. There are dozen of examples
        Can you provide an example where a TRA is assaulted by women.

      4. This can serve as two examples of queer or transgender outreach to children:

        Have you read the excerpts from the Curriculum Inquiry article I posted? That is for “early childhood” e.g. pre-K at least. In the authors’ own words :

        “It may be that Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is “family friendly,” in the sense that it is accessible and inviting to families with children, but it is less a sanitizing force than it is a preparatory introduction to alternate modes of kinship. Here, DQSH is “family friendly” in the sense of “family” as an old-school queer code to identify and connect with other queers on the street.”

        Is society wrong to be concerned at all with their kids around 5 years old or less being prepared for exploring alternate modes of “kinship”, or seeking out a new family of queers on the street, on the credentials that the authors struggled with their identity?

        Source:

        Keenan, Harper, and “Lil Miss Hot Mess.” (2020)
        “Drag Pedagogy: The playful practice of queer imagination in early childhood.”
        Curriculum Inquiry 50(5): 440–461.

        Did you read the excerpt of the young adult book “A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities” which asserts (ca. 2019) “lately, the entire concept of ‘biological sex’ has begun to be debunked”? What kids can understand how to evaluate such a claim on their own? Is society wrong to find a problem with ignoring facts which might directly bear upon the clear definition of a problem?

        If not, what kind of “danger” do you mean?

  7. They certainly have exercised their right to make claims using wide-open terms and situations. “What ever hurts a person’s feelings should be censored.” That’s what they want. They’ll know it when they feel it, and inform Musk et al to cancel.

    {begin conjecture} Many of the grievances the celebrities want GLADD to police are triggered by those of us speaking out in outrage over the atrocities and recruiting Woke activists are doing, advocating, and fighting to legalize. {end conjecture}

    And yes, there is hate in many of our outrages, such as surgery on minors, permanent infertility, and sexualizing of children. There is zero justification for these things, and we hate these acts. It is free speech for us to scream out that we hate them.

  8. Anti-transgender hate speech, including targeted misgendering, deadnaming, and hate-driven tropes.

    Many people who were originally happy to use trans people’s Preferred Pronouns, refer to them by their Preferred Gender, and agree that “man” and “woman” were gender terms (though “male” and “female” were reserved for sex) have changed their minds. The impulse to be kind and generous to others has been tempered by the recognition that this is a more serious matter, one which not only involves untested medical procedures and damage to women’s sports, but the nature of truth and freedom of dissent. Analyze the claim … first. And then recognize that whatever you grant for the sake of courtesy will be written into law and textbooks.

    The crux of the issue involves multiple problems which stem from the attempt to replace sex with gender. When the only acceptable vocabulary we can use automatically replaces sex with gender this forces the resolution in one direction. Honesty and plain speaking isn’t hate. Enough with the language games.

    Genderists are for the most part seriously convinced that they’re not only right, but that it’s so obvious they’re right that the only reason anyone disagrees is because they’re driven by a deep-seated loathing of those who are different. It’s like the religious assuming atheists “hate God.” Yes, there is genuine transphobia out there, but they fling the accusation around with such abandon that I no longer take it seriously unless they’ve got a clear, specific example.

    1. Sastra,

      I’m curious: what is your attitude to being called “cis?”

      I admit it tends to rub me the wrong way. Not only does it seem an ugly sounding word I’d be disinclined to use, but it does seem to come along with the baggage that accepting the term will be seen as validating some things that I have yet to agree with in the Transactivism.

      So I wonder where you are with that.

      BTW, here’s a page arguing why “cis” folks shouldn’t get all uptight about it:

      https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/01/being-called-cis-is-not-oppressive/

      I’d throw the same question open to anyone, Prof CC included.

      1. I don’t see why anyone would be uptight about being called that if it’s true. It is the case that there really really are trans people, and people who are in between, and people who are neither. Being labelled as cis is generally not meant to be derogatory.

          1. Yup def a slur. Women are not a subset of women. We don’t need an adjective to what is self evidentiary. It’s using language to complicate the matter of women are women and men are not, no matter how much makeup etc they use

      2. Speaking of “cis women” can be taken to carry the implication that cis women and trans women are two subsets of women. If you don’t think that trans women are women, and want to speak of them only as trans women, you may well avoid speaking of any woman as a cis woman. You can in some contexts in which it is important to indicate that you are speaking of women, and don’t want any implication that you mean to include trans women, speak of natal women.

      3. The invention of the term “cis” was, deliberately or not, a very clever strategy on the part of trans activists because it’s so deeply embedded in ideological assumptions that what initially sounds like a neutral term (“it just means you’re not trans”) smuggles in an entire framework of premises.

        As Cransdale points out, it automatically divides women into two different kinds of women: Trans Women and Cis Women. It’s also defined as “someone whose gender identity (controversial) matches their sex assigned at birth (disputable.)” Third, it sets up a system where some women are privileged over other women, who are oppressed.

        I don’t accept it, though whether I bother to protest depends on circumstances. I will sometimes use the term in a discussion with a TRA for purposes of clarity.

        1. Thanks, all.

          I want Trans people to feel comfortable. But something feels vaguely sneaky about introducing the “cis” term, as Sastra indicates.

          It reminds me of the common refrain from Trans and Trans allies regarding the Transactivist agenda: “All we want is just to be acknowledged like everyone else, we aren’t asking for anything special.” But of course, when you examine all the implications and other things that come along with it (the type of stuff that has biologists and feminists and some of the gay community on edge)…that turns out to be somewhat disingenuous.

  9. Posting to agree with you, and to add that I also observe the exact phenomenon of thinkers withdrawing simple curtesy about pronouns, etc. because we now find out they served as a tool for colonizing sex with gender, as you described. The nice silk gloves are off.

  10. “celebrities”? Giving advise on medical treatments, eh?

    This quote from Ricky Gervais comes to mind:

    > You’re in no position to lecture the public, about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.

    1. Here’s a quote I liked from that piece:

      In the gay rights movement, we examined every single possible argument that could be used against us, and answered them. We debated anyone anywhere. And, in the broader context, we left you, gays and straights, alone. Nothing in your life had to change to accept gay equality.

      Compare that with the transqueer movement. They will never leave you alone, they will police the words you use, they will deny you access to any same-sex space, they will force your daughter to compete against males, they will tell your child they may be the opposite sex inside and keep it from you, and they will use blackmail — and a farrago of falsehood — to put your kid on a lifetime of medication. They refuse to debate opponents; they cancel and demonize even the most liberal of people (see JK Rowling); they censor words or destroy their meaning and defend violence. In all of this, they are as hostile to a free society as the worst fanatics on the far right.

      And what the theocons and the transqueers want you to believe is that you have to pick a side between them. But you don’t. You can reject both — as a quiet majority of gays and straights already do. The fundamentalists on both sides are intent on undoing the liberal settlement on gay and trans rights we just won after great struggle; and they are symptoms of the rapid decay of liberal democracy under Trump and the woke. They need to be called out and stopped.

      1. This is sheer barking revisionist nonsense, and should forever mark him as not to be taken seriously due to right-wing pandering. There was an ocean of similar reactionary complaining at the time, about “flaunting” and “in our faces”. and “the homosexual agenda”. Rants about how devout religious people were going to be forced to use a new language, and to commit violations of their faith by the PC police by being compelled to go along with accepting a use of “marriage” they did not believe. Oh, woe, about how parental authority was being eroded by radical activists who told kids their sexuality was not a sin. Pundits wrote supposed clever contrarianism about how those who chanted “We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used To It!” were the real causes of hatred. On and on.

        Sullivan knows all this. His misrepresentation is contemptible.

        1. What are you talking about?

          Of course there were huge reactions…I lived through that era….but there was also a good deal of acceptance, which is why laws eventually changed and tolerance became the overriding sentiment. Was it a hard fight? Absolutely and I remember it very well.

          The current trans movement is very, very different. It is premised on the great power already at the hands of transgender people especially among the overclass. So different than the earlier years of the gay movement.

        2. Sullivan knows what same-sex attraction is, and that replacing it with same-gender attraction is utterly regressive and homophobic. Lesbians are being barred from lesbian dating apps for saying no to heterosexual men identifying as trans lesbians. It’s totally ridiculous.

        3. Seth, I was there, too, on the straight side of the street. I don’t remember it at all that way. Bits of it, but not coalescing into the sea of hate you remember. The focus on prodigious anonymous sexual promiscuity, seemingly to the exclusion of anything else, that became the signature of the gay male “lifestyle” (with much drinking and drugs in bathhouses) seemed mostly just weird but not particularly threatening. We accepted homosexuals once it became clear we had no reason to fear them, just as Sullivan said. And they did stay away from our young children. Adolescents were, and are, fair game, especially for other adolescents.

          I think both homosexuals and the authorities stumbled in the early years of AIDS. Calls for concentration camps were never taken seriously (except in Cuba.). Calls by ActUP for promiscuous homosexual men to donate blood to punish straight society for bigotry were reprehensible. AIDS goes over a lot of grouand it’s all in the history books now. It got worked out and here we are. I don’t see trans activists trying to built bridges. They’re just trying to get people fired or beheaded.

      2. ” In all of this, they are as hostile to a free society as the worst fanatics on the far right.”

        ^^^

  11. I am not based in the US either but I can assure you that this is a real problem here also north of the border.
    At the start of “Pride Month” here in Canada our virtue signalling woke Prime Minister had the gall to stand up and announce to the assembled persons that “Canada is awash with LGBTQ HATRED”.
    Whilst I can accept that he is entitled to his view it shows just how detached he and his sycophantic followers are. He is also now involved in dictating to the Conservative Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick over LGBTQ disagreements in the Public School system and management of this whole sorry “trans rights business. He has been told to “butt out”
    He is correct in one sense that Canada is awash with something but from my perspective and that of many others it is Awash with a majority who are tired of being constantly lectured and dictated to by what is realistically a minor part of the population with an agenda that at best is troublesome and at worst is downright dangerous particularly when it involves the vulnerable youth who are the recipients of this propaganda. The invasion of women and girls rights is under attack here just like everywhere else and the standard response is accusations of “transphobia, fascism antigay and far worse especially when it seems now it is supported and encouraged by the democratically elected PM and Government. NO CRITICISM ALLOWED, or you are in big trouble.
    Who is really behind all this nonsense or has everyone gone mad?

  12. Have to add a separate comment :

    An excerpt is illustrative of evidence of a “conspiracy theory”, from :

    Keenan, Harper, and “Lil Miss Hot Mess.” (2020)
    “Drag Pedagogy: The playful practice of queer imagination in early childhood.” Curriculum Inquiry 50(5): 440–461.

    Excerpt:

    “Rather than building empathy from a set of presumed straight or cisgender children, then, drag pedagogy might enact a mode of queer kinship that acknowledges that there is already queerness within the classroom. In turn, drag queen teachers have much to learn from interactions with children: many queens reflect that Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) allows them to build relationships with young people that otherwise would not be possible. ”
    […]
    “[I]t is often assumed that the primary pedagogical goal of queer education should be to increase empathy towards LGBT people. […] It is undeniable that DQSH participates in many of these tropes of empathy, from the marketing language the programme uses to its selection of books. Much of this is strategically done in order to justify its educational value.”
    […]
    ” This approach can support students in finding the unique or queer aspects of themselves – rather than attempting to understand what it’s like to be LGBT.”

  13. The “hate speech” to be censored is anything that leads to “misgendering” the vulnerable population of individuals who claim to have been born in the wrong body. Since recent decisions by the medical authorities in Finland, Sweden, Norway, the UK, and France pose this danger, correct speech should eliminate any reference to these decisions. To be on the safe side, from now on we should just avoid mentioning the existence of Finland, Sweden, Norway, the UK, and France.

  14. > For crying out loud, P. Z. Myers called me an “asshole” the other day

    Wear that badge of honour with pride. Myers lost whatever credibility he had a decade ago in an eerily similar situation. Recall how he sided with a very vocal, self-serving group intent on politicizing and taking over a “free thought” conference and group.

    They’ve since disappeared and those who faced Meyers’ wrath and censorship have been proven correct, while Myers carries on whacking his head with a hammer and wondering why it still hurts.

    1. Oh, yes. I first found PZ Myers some time before 2010. He had some interesting biology focused posts and good discussions on various Creationist claims at the time, but I started to notice his over-the-top attacks on everyone who had different views from him. Unless someone was an extreme-woke “social justice” politically far left person, he would attack them and call them names. It wasn’t just about people that could be shown to be wrong on a science based issue, like the creationists. I gave up on him around 2010 and made a point of avoiding anything he wrote (his constant attacks on what were too often perfectly reasonable people and arguments ticked me off), but years after that I saw people talking on other sites about him now even attacking skeptics and atheists (if they weren’t the right “kind” of atheist – essentially folks that didn’t go along with his brand of extremism). The man seems to be perpetually angry and have no tolerance for disagreement. If you get called names by him, you’re in good company.

  15. People are increasingly realizing that if you use the idealogues’ language, then you are constrained in your arguments. That has always been part of the game. People are also realizing that their empathy has been weaponized against them, their values, and the institutions they would seek to defend. These are welcome developments. But there is a newish term that has slipped with largely uncritical acceptance into the discourse, one dealt with for decades in the martial and related professions, one that people might reconsider: disinformation.

    There exists an extensive (and growing) bureaucracy that deals with this as part of their mission. The lines between foreign and domestic quickly blur. The “need” for government action rapidly becomes apparent. Where there is a need, there is money—and no bureaucracy likes anything so much as chasing more money, expanding their mission, and entrenching their power. Thus, we must “fight” against disinformation; we must “protect” ourselves and others from its harm; we must oppose those “adversaries” who would spread such malicious lies. We (they, someone with power) must . . . shut down such so-called “speech” before it destroys everything we love.

    Uncritical acceptance of “gender” has put truth at risk. We should be more careful before we also put freedom on the table.

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