It’s been a busy few weeks.
On April 21, Newsweek published my op-ed, “The New Homophobia,” in which I state my concerns about the medicalization of gender dysphoric children. According to major studies, most gender dysphoric children will desist (become comfortable with their biological sex) during or after puberty and simply grow up to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Over the past six years, it has become clear to me that in the name of “trans rights,” we are medically transitioning gay and lesbian youth, which is bona fide conversion therapy, the likes of which is performed in Iran, where homosexuality is illegal—men who are found guilty of sodomy are executed—but where sex-reassignment surgeries are sanctioned by the state and are seen as a solution to the homosexual problem. Medical transition for children and adolescents involves puberty blockers, which may stunt brain development and bone growth, and cross-sex hormones, which cause infertility and loss of proper sexual function. It also leads to lifetime dependence on hormones and careful monitoring by medical professionals, since there is no comprehensive data on the consequences of beginning this treatment so early in life. Several conversations I’ve had with detransitioners—people who identified as transgender, medically transitioned, and now once again identify as their biological sex—have confirmed that gender clinicians are in fact performing experiments on vulnerable youth and young adults. Sweden and Finland have discontinued in their gender clinics the application of what’s known as the “Dutch protocol”—administering puberty blockers to gender dysphoric youth to “give them time” to figure out their “true gender identity” (this is pseudoscience)—after clinicians acknowledged that the data is unclear and the consequences might be outweighing the benefits. However, the Amsterdam clinic, which pioneered the Dutch protocol, has doubled down on this treatment method. And, under the Biden Administration, so has the U.S. It’s a horror show, co-directed by activists exploiting kids to validate their own identities and theories, LGBT organizations beholden to wealthy donors, politicians who saw a chance to win new supporters by lobbying for a trendy social justice cause, and pharmaceutical companies, which are raking in millions off the skyrocketing demand for puberty blockers and hormones.
My op-ed was published in the early morning. That evening, J.K. Rowling retweeted it. It was already getting a lot of attention on Twitter, but needless to say that added a strong gust of wind to its sails. I’m so grateful to Rowling for using her platform to shine a light on this horrific medical scandal, which is happening right under our noses.
A few days later, I had a conversation on Callin with Wesley Yang, author of The Souls of Yellow Folk and the man behind the Substack newsletter, Year Zero, in which Yang and other writers analyze the “ideological fever that overtook the governing and chattering classes of America during [and after] the Trump years.” Yang is one of my favorite writers (and Twitter follows), so this was a thrill for me. We talked for three hours, during which I basically told him my entire life story. To listen, go here and click on the talk, “From the Christ Cult to the Social Justice Cult.”
On May 11, I spoke with James, a gay activist, who is fighting back against gender ideology in the U.K. We spoke about what’s behind the ideology and the new cult of “queer.” View below.
I was also interviewed by Benjamin Boyce, host of the podcast “Calmversations,” and the radical feminist writer, Julie Bindel, who recently visited New York. I’ll tweet out links to those when they’re up and perhaps put them in another newsletter.
You might know this by now, but a few months ago I signed a book deal with Post Hill Press. I’m writing a memoir, tentatively titled Cis White Gay, a play on the zingy slur that lockstep “queer folx” love to fling about for clicks and likes. But I’m having trouble thinking of a proper subtitle. You guys have any ideas? Some of mine are:
My Liberation from the Church of Social Justice
My Liberation from the Cult of Gender Ideology
Assault on an Identity
When an Identity Becomes a Slur
I don’t know, these all seem really basic. I honestly just wanted to call it Cis White Gay, an Uncensored Memoir. But I don’t think my editor is into it. Also, I’m aware it might be difficult to think of subtitle ideas when you haven’t read it yet! But I’d welcome any of your thoughts. Please add them in the comments section below!
What am I reading?
Well, besides everything that Lisa Selin Davis writes—please, for the love of God, go read everything she’s written over the last six months (on her Substack and elsewhere) and send the articles to all of your friends; as Meghan Daum has said, she’s the best reporter on this beat (the “trans kids” debate beat), and I agree—I can’t seem to put down Bruce Bawer’s The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind, which dissects the pseudo-intellectualism of identity studies, the cult-like environment of identity studies university departments and professional circles, and the assault we’re seeing on intellectual freedom and inquiry. As I tweeted recently, “Victimhood is the new currency and everyone’s just trying to cash in.” Bawer’s book is a good primer on how we got here.
Before this, I read Bawer’s 1996 reader, Beyond Queer: Challenging Gay Left Orthodoxy, which includes essays and articles by Bawer, Andrew Sullivan, Jonathan Rauch, Paul Varnell, and many others. I can’t recommend this book enough. We are living during such a politically and culturally confusing time, and if you’re not really plugged in—or even if you are—I think it’s really useful to go back and read cultural criticism from the ’80s and ’90s, when the infiltration of academia, politics, and activist organizations by queer theorists and postmodernists was really taking off. Take, for example, the prescience of this opening paragraph of Bawer's introduction:
Queer. Once—and still—an anti-gay slur, it’s been reclaimed by a minority of gay people as a supposedly affirmative label. Yet it’s an odd and problematic word, often less indicative of sexual orientation than of ideology. To be queer, by some people’s definitions, is not so much to be homosexual as it is to be a socially marginal rebel, defined primarily by his or her sexuality, who is perpetually and intrinsically at odds with the political and cultural establishment. But you don’t have to be all these things, as long as you think of yourself that way, or say that you do, or adopt a personal style that implies that you do. Or something like that.
Remember, this was published 26 years ago! I wrote about this idea in an article for Washington Examiner in January, called “The Stifling Conformity of Campus Sexual Politics.” (While you’re there, check out “Pronouns and the City,” my review of the Sex and the City reboot.) Bawer’s book brought me a lot of clarity. Plus it includes one of the most beautiful essays I’ve read recently, David Links’s “I Am Not Queer,” which was published in 1993 in Reason. Read that here.
I’m currently in the process of interviewing men who have detransitioned. In the last 48 hours, I have spoken with four of them. Their stories are enlightening and heartbreaking. One man I spoke with, who was in his early twenties, autistic, and severely anxious and depressed at the time, received estradiol (an estrogen steroid treatment typically used to treat menopause-related symptoms) and spironolactone (a testosterone blocker) during his very first appointment with a gender therapist at a Planned Parenthood in upstate New York. Another, in L.A., told me that a local therapist is writing permission slips for gender-related surgeries without ever meeting the patients. Three of the four men I spoke with suffered severe antigay bullying as teenagers.
I plan to write a piece about the rapidly growing population of male detransitioners, and I will definitely send out a link once it lands somewhere. It also will be a topic I write about in my book.
I think that is all for now. Thanks for reading!
Congrats on the book deal!
Hi Ben! I have noticed that the "new gender ideology" is the only subject you write or tweet about. Even your review of "And Just Like That" wound up being a treatise on the "new gender ideology." As a fan of your writing style, I am curious to hear your thoughts on other subjects, other ideas, other eras. However, I get the sense that you are only interested in delivering the same message again and again. Why?
I hasten to add that I have monomaniacal tendencies myself; one thing that helps, I've noticed, is reading fiction and getting out of my head a little. Have you ever read the novels of Alan Hollinghurst or Edmund White or Virginia Woolf? You might enjoy them.