Gender unicorn
I despise deplatforming. If you're unaware, deplatforming is the process by which activists proclaim any person is a bigot/fascist/Nazi/racist/trans-misogynist or otherwise offensive - and thus they should not have the freedom to express themselves publicly. Deplatforming comes in all shapes and sizes, from shutting down a speaker at a college or university to bans on Twitter or demonetizing on YouTube. Basically, its a euphemism for outright censorship.

I recently shared an article from RT.com about a woman who was suspended from Twitter for tweeting "men aren't women." She railed against the politically correct tech giant immediately after her suspension, "This is fucking bullshit @twitter. I'm not allowed to say that men aren't women or ask questions about the notion of transgenderism at all anymore? That a multi billion dollar company is censoring BASIC FACTS and silencing people who ask questions about this dogma is INSANE."

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy
The woman's name is Meghan Murphy, and she's a Vancouver-based feminist. Just so you know, she holds a master's degree from Simon Fraser University in Women's Studies, so this isn't some online troll. She's educated, intelligent, and discussing content that is highly relevant to our time. The permanent ban came shortly after this row. None of us should be surprised: Twitter has been cracking down on dissenting ideas in recent years, especially 'conservative' ones. Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos were some of the first to get the ban hammer, and few missed them. Many did, however, comment at the time that these folks were canaries in the coal mine, and that the slippery slope of deplatforming 'offensive' content would continue. We've come to the point where stating basic facts like men and women aren't the same, is considered 'hateful.'
Milo and

Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones
Let me emphasize that trans and genderqueer people are facing discrimination and bigotry from their families and peers. It is one of the leading causes of homelessness and suicide among that particular segment of the population. Personally, when asked, I use whatever pronouns or names a person gives me. This is an outgrowth of my earlier acceptance of other people's self-proclaimed sexual orientation. If someone tells me they're gay or straight or bi, my first instinct is to believe them. I may groan when someone tells me they are genderqueer or otherwise non-binary, because my standard for such a thing is biology, not feelings. If you are 'intersex' - and these people do exist - then that identity is totally available. This is also how I approach non-binary pronouns. I tend to respect them for the sake of being externally considerate, but context matters. Legally requiring businesses to use them (NYC law) is a bit extreme. It's also an untested solution with no evidence that it will produce safer conditions for the trans population.
Gender Identity chart
It's a brave new world for social justice, and we're still only at the beginning. Transgender ideology is relatively new. Many support it as the new leftist cause du jour, comparing it to gay rights. Let me be crystal clear: everyone deserves equality under the law and the right to be treated humanely by their peers. Trans people have been denied access to housing, medical care, they are sometimes beaten to death and ostracized from their families. These are tragic circumstances which need to be addressed if 'civil society' is to be more than a catchphrase. That said, the first rule of medicine is "Do No Harm." In this context, that means any intervention done to address the problem must be shown to work and not make the problem worse. I fear we are in the midst of making it much, much worse.

Trans ideology has a strong foothold in the more left-leaning Western democracies. The UK has a special affinity for genderqueer ideology, as does Canada, and my home town of New York City. But in many cases, these 'rights' that have been won are precipitous and ill-thought-out and usually introduced by 'activists' who claim to be representatives of the trans community without any formal process of appointment or election. It would be ridiculous if I claimed to speak for all gay men, would it not? The same logic is not applied to members of the trans community.

These ideas are also incredibly powerful, and potentially destabilizing. Their effect upon Western culture should not be underestimated.

What is most concerning is the impact this ideology is having on children. I have no doubt that there are kids who suffer from gender dysphoria, the technical term for the diagnosis that traditionally is a prerequisite for opposite-sex hormone treatment and/or surgery (not so in the UK any longer, however). This is also one of the interesting differences between the gay rights movement and trans ideology: gay activists for decades argued that homosexuality is not a mental illness and fought to have it removed from the DSM. Eventually it was. Today, trans people are clamoring to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria because it is the gateway to physical transition (hormone therapy and surgery). It's the official seal of approval that their identity is real.

It used to be the case that the role of the psychotherapist was to identify if gender dysphoria was present; now it seems that that role has been assumed by trans people themselves, with therapists merely rubber stamping the decision. This relatively new approach is called "gender affirming." Dr Kenneth Zucker's case is educational in this regard. He is a 40-year veteran of psychotherapy. He led the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic, in Toronto, where he specialized in treating patients with symptoms of gender dysphoria. Dr Zucker had tons of citations in related literature, which demonstrates other scientists in the field found his work credible. He even led the group that developed DSM-5's protocol for diagnosing gender dysphoria. He also contributed to the development for a standard of care of transgender and other genderqueer folk for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

Kenneth Zucker

Dr. Kenneth Zucker at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto in 2006. (Jim Ross/The New York Times
Zucker had incredible success over the years, helping many people transition or find comfort with their biological sex. He also found that only 12% of his female-to-male trans patients actually retained their trans identity while the majority were able to work through their issues and become well-adjusted cis adults. The numbers were similar for boys who thought they were girls. The above link comes from an interview of Zucker by NPR several years ago,before he was 'tarred and feathered' by activists accusing him of advocating 'conversion therapy'. In the intervening years, he was fired and defamed. The hospital that fired and smeared him has since apologized and paid him financial compensation. A much more detailed account of his story can be found here. For our purposes, it's worth noting that a celebrated therapist was fired because his practice investigated and helped kids first become comfortable with their birth-gender before considering other options. I also want to be crystal clear on this point: Dr Zucker and the GIC did help patients transition, offering them access to hormones and surgery when they deemed it to be necessary.

When therapists investigate, they look for "insistent, persistent, and consistent" evidence of trans identity. This is the standard bar for gender affirming therapists to diagnose gender dysphoria. This means that the child must announce their trans status directly, assert it all the time and it must never vary depending on setting. When this isn't the case, there may be other environmental factors at play. For instance, an older boy who notices his baby sister getting more attention may mistakenly think that they are giving the new child attention because of her gender. He may start to dress as a girl and behave as a girl to garner more attention from his parents. Such a child obviously does not have gender dysphoria, but to even make that suggestion is offensive to many in the trans activist community. The very idea of not immediately affirming the trans identity of extremely young children (3-6 years old) is seen as evil, traumatizing and potentially life-threatening.

Trans ideology has a stronger foothold in the UK, and British Channel 4 recently aired a documentary called Trans Kids: It's Time to Talk by author and therapist Stella O'Malley. She makes the point that when she was young, she was convinced she was a boy. Today, she's married and has kids. Camille Paglia, feminist, author, and self-proclaimed tom-boy expects she also would have been identified as trans. This suggests that many supposedly 'trans' children today are being misidentified.

This relates to another huge blindspot in the trans movement: no one wants to discuss desistance (when a trans person decides they want to be their birth gender). Even speaking of it is considered heresy, which is one of the reasons Dr Zucker was so maligned. The documentary makes a chilling point: if something like 75-85% of trans kids desist and grow up to be normal cis adults, what happens when people are chaperoned through transition and decide too late that they want to be their original gender?

Walter Heyer

Walter Heyer, before (left) and after he desisted, or reverted to his biological sex. Ironically folks are trying to 'erase' his identity or pretend people like him don't exist.
"Desistance is a myth!" they claim, but again, researchers in the field disagree. Individuals who have desisted and are brave enough to tell their stories, again, disagree. These aren't data points to be dismissed lightly with the wave of the "bigot/transphobic" magic wand.

Avery Jackson

Nine-year-old Avery Jackson is a proud activist but gets sick of hearing the same questions over and over. The Jackson Family
Consider that in one school in the UK, 17 kids are in the process of transitioning. Consider that a teacher at that school has said these are mostly kids on the autism spectrum who are confused about many things others than their gender. The teacher also says that she's noticed grooming behavior from the older kids towards the younger ones. Consider, from that same article, that earlier in the year The Mail on Sunday reported that 1/3rd of kids referred to NHS gender identity clinic have "moderate to severe autistic traits."

These points aren't easily dismissed. They also circle back to the Hippocratic Oath: medical interventions must do no harm. If the UK's National Health Service is encouraging kids to transition without properly diagnosing them (critically analyzing their claims instead of coddling them) they are doing harm, and incredible amounts of it. Their reproductive abilities may be lost, and their normal ability to achieve arousal and sexual pleasure could also be destroyed. Boys who have been puberty-blocked will have smaller genitals than they would have had otherwise, which already is a source of insecurity for many young men. Transitioning is a permanent alteration to one's body, and while it can be somewhat reversed, it will never be as if it had never happened.

I also want to address accusations of 'conversion therapy' when therapists or parents attempt to help their child to regain comfort with their birth gender. This is NOT the same thing as attempting to convince a homosexual they are heterosexual. There is a lot of blurring of definitions around this topic. In the UK, the Gender Recognization Act slipped in that very association, officially classifying attempts to aid trans kids to gain comfort with their biological gender as conversion therapy. Many of the kids Dr Zucker treated turn out to be well adjusted homosexuals at a rate much higher than the normal population. Real conversion therapy is attempting to turn a homosexual boy or girl into the opposite gender so they can have a heterosexual orientation. Who's converting who here?

These issues are not going away and will have serious implications for Western society. A good example is from a divorced family in Texas: a mother who dresses her six year old son as a girl is threatening the boy's father for daring to disagree. Walt Heyer discusses the issue at the previous link, he is also the author of the piece about his experience of desisting and compares his situation to that of this child. He shows us that this kid is not gender dysphoric by explaining that he is only trans around his mother and a normal boy around his father. One could argue he is pleasing either parent, but getting back to "insistent, persistent, and consistent" as the guide therapists use, clearly this kid doesn't fit the bill. Beyond that, look at how this issue is being used as a weapon by the father and mother in their divorce! This poor kid!

Regardless of your gender identity, or what you proclaim to be, there are differences - quite clear ones - between men and women. Transwomen will never be biological women, no matter how much surgery or hormones or makeup they wear. Transmen will never have the same experience as a biological male. These are current impossibilities, although one day they may be overcome. As one of the Sci-Fi novels from my youth - Steel Beach - envisioned: we may change gender as quickly and conveniently as changing a dress or a pair of pants. Until that day however, we must learn to accept reality as it is. To recognize that facts are not hateful.

Finally, how does this relate to Ponerology and what the hell is that? Ponerization: the process by which a group or movement is infected by pathological personalities. 'Poneros' comes Greek, their word for evil. Ponerology, ponerization, and ponerogenesis are the study of social evil, how groups and social movements are hijacked by it, and a scientific description of how it begins.
Political POnerology

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An infected movement is distorted over time, eventually it may even come to behave like the people they originally opposed. Antifa is a prime example, antifascists behaving as fascists - it doesn't get more obvious than that! Pathological people do exist, but you won't hear them clamoring for the right to torture, rape, and murder. What they do is join the army, become a cop, or anyone else with authority. Many of them become criminals and get caught. Many do not. Pathology also exists on a spectrum, sometimes merely making people's' lives difficult can be enough 'satisfaction' for them.
Yusra Khogali

Yusra Khogali, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter Toronto, is well-known for her inflammatory rhetoric. “Whiteness is not humxness, in fact, white skin is sub-humxn,” she wrote. “All phenotypes exist within the black family and white ppl are a genetic defect of blackness.” Pathological? Your call.
Pathological people LOVE to join social movements on the ground floor so that they can eventually acquire leadership roles and authority within the movement. Any organized social activist (or other) group that is not actively aware of this phenomenon and carefully scrutinizing their membership is at risk. There are going to be pathological people who identify as trans as a strategy to achieve their goals. They will likely be indistinguishable from genuine trans people, except when you examine their behavior and their words.

Pathological types use their identity as a shield if they can: it simultaneously gives them an ideology to justify their behavior and a group of people who will rush to their defense as being part of the same 'tribe.' Israel silencing its legitimate critics with allegations of antisemitism is another very good example of this tactic.

One way these people recruit others is to pose as a victim (that doesn't mean that everyone who claims victim status has ulterior motives, only that it is possible). This comes back to why I require strong definitions for terms and clarity during difficult discussions. If we aren't careful with our words, their meanings will become distorted and that's the first step on a path toward violence. Trans activists often cite the very-real suffering of transpeople as a reason to attack anyone with whom they disagree. This is a red-flag. When you are using suffering as a justification for more violence you are wading into pathological territory. Do No Harm with your interventions, or the problem will only get worse.