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Phobia indoctrination and trans communities
There’s a name for what’s going on here—and it’s not ‘trans genocide.’ It’s called phobia indoctrination.
Phobia indoctrination instills irrational fears in members of a high-control group and uses those fears to manipulate members so they won't question the group's beliefs or try to leave.
Here's what phobia indoctrination looks like in the trans community:
Telling community members that anyone who questions gender identity or transition (even if they’re coming from a place of genuine care and concern) hates them, 'denies their existence,' or even wants them dead. This pushes community members—especially naive children and young people—to cut themselves off from friends and loved ones who may question or contradict the trans community, or may simply fail to follow the elaborate and often bizarre protocols trans communities lead young members to expect.
Creating the false impression of a trans murder epidemic—even a trans genocide—which binds members to the trans community and increases their fear of the outside world out of all proportion to actual risk. (No, trans-identified people in the West don’t face the same risks as transsexual Brazilian prostitutes.) Preventing the murders of trans-identified people in liberal Western societies is less a matter of combatting ‘transphobia’ than of helping vulnerable trans-identified people exit sex work and abusive relationships with violent males.
Inflating suicide risk and presenting transition as the only alternative to suicide when it comes to dealing with gender dysphoria. This increases desperation to transition, suppresses questions or doubts a young person may have, and pushes patients to conceal comorbidities and other complicating factors from doctors.
Vilifying and attacking detransitioners as traitors and existential threats to the trans community, thus demonstrating to current members of the trans community exactly what will happen to them if they step out of line or—god forbid—leave.
Teaching community members to bury their own questions and doubts by labeling uncertainty about gender identity, transition, or community dynamics as manifestations of "internalized transphobia" that cause harm not just to the individual but to all trans people. That’s right: your private thoughts about whether you’re really trans or whether transition is right for you are hurting trans people.
The result? Community members are gripped by irrational fears (including the fear of freely following their own thoughts), alienated from the outside world by bizarre protocols and unreasonable expectations, and constantly self-policing to avoid running afoul of doctrine.
Let's be clear about this: No healthy, open, supportive community seeks to terrify and control its members like this by instilling irrational fears. These are the marks of a manipulative group exercising destructive influence over its most vulnerable members.
The whole point of phobia indoctrination is that installs irrational fears in group members, telling group members they're at risk of genocide or being lynched when the actual 'threats' are societies not adopting gender self-id policies or not letting males play in female sports or setting age limits for hormones and surgeries or keeping males out of women’s prisons or pulling public funding for transition (even if community members have been indoctrinated to believe these surgeries are life-saving, in contravention of the evidence).
There are policies afoot—especially in the US, where a right-wing reaction to trans activist overreach is underway—that many trans activists dislike and even fear. But even the worst of these policies—like proposals to investigate families who medically transition their children—cannot in any sane universe be characterized as genocidal. Never mind that I’ve yet to hear a single ‘TERF’ endorse such policies. Yet, somehow, activists still find a way to blame JK Rowling or even journalists like Emily Bazelon for the actions of Republican lawmakers.
The reasonableness of any claim—especially a claim as heavy as ‘trans genocide’—depends entirely on the reality of the situation.
So, let’s zero in on the claims trans activists make about women like JK Rowling, who recently rounded out a list of “famous people who started out as heroes but lived long enough to become major villains,” and who is accused on a daily basis of having blood on her hands for writing an essay.
When it comes to the debate over how to balance sex-based rights and gender-based demands, we see women around the world (peacefully) critiquing a belief system about gender and the way those beliefs are being imposed in law and policy at the expense of our sex-based rights. That's the reality of the situation by which the reasonableness of claims must be judged.
Trans activists may not like what women like Rowling have to say, but to paint us as anything but peaceful political opponents attempting to work within a liberal, open society where we talk about laws and policies is not rational. Tarring us as Nazis and lynch mobs is absolutely nuts.
The activists tarring us as Nazis and lynch mobs are so completely out of touch with reality that anyone leveling such a charge is either indoctrinated or is one of the indoctrinators. That's phobia indoctrination in action.
A healthy, open, supportive trans community would not look or sound like the trans community we've got. It would be honest about the risks trans people face, rather than wildly inflating those risks to instill fear.
It would foster resilience and self-sufficiency in gender-questioning youth, rather than telling kids that anyone who disagrees with their worldview hates them or that exposure to ‘misgendering’ or ‘dead-naming’ can lead to suicide.
A healthy, open trans community would accept that transition doesn't work for everybody and that there are legitimate reasons to detransition and exit the community.
A healthy, open, supportive trans community wouldn't seek to drive a wedge between gender-questioning youth and their family members or friends who sincerely want the best for them but question whether transition is the right answer.
A healthy, open, supportive trans community would invite ethical research into transition outcomes and alternatives—rather than trying to shut down inquiry—because trans-identifying people deserve high-quality care, not just ideologically-compliant ‘care.’
And a healthy, open, supportive trans community would encourage young people to explore their questions and doubts openly—recognizing transition as a serious undertaking—without fear of censure or expulsion from the group.
These toxic dynamics aren't contained within the community either, spilling out into the public sphere whenever any issue that touches gender identity is discussed.
It's always struck me as curious that the trans community does not share the needs that every other (actual) civil rights movement has: the ability to speak freely and clearly and to be understood.
Just the opposite, in fact.
When it comes to gender identity, no one must speak freely. Everyone must speak in a language that constricts thought and expression alike. The truth of situations must be obscured, not clarified, wrapped in shadows, not brought into the light.
There's no desire to make the public understand, only to make people comply. In fact, the less the public knows and understands the better.
Generally speaking, if you have a cause that matters to you, if you have something to say, you want to speak as clearly as possible and to be understood. The last thing you want is to wring meaning from language. You can’t afford to confuse people.
Unless your cause's claims don't add up, that is.
I learned this lesson in my personal life first: People who want to be understood try to speak clearly, even if they struggle to find the right words. But sometimes, people—and causes—benefit from being misunderstood: We just want to pee. Nobody is medically transitioning kids. Rights aren’t pie.
Healthy communities don't behave like this. Civil-rights movements don't behave like this. They don't terrify their members by spinning lurid fantasies out of thin air and political convenience. They don't hound peaceful critics into submission. They uphold freedom of expression because they need it, too. They make their case in the public sphere. Why doesn’t the trans movement?
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