Twitter banned psychologist for tweeting clinical opinions on trans identity

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A psychologist who was instrumental in authoring the official position on transgender identity in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel Disorders was banned from Twitter after posting clinical opinions the social media giant deemed "hateful."

In response to one of his Twitter followers who had inquired about his stance on transgender-identifying persons, Ray Blanchard, a Ph.D. psychologist who is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, published a thread explaining that transsexualism and more mild forms of gender dysphoria are kinds of mental disorders which may affect an individual's ability to function.

Sex change surgeries ought not be an option for anyone under 21, he added, noting that gender dysphoria is not a sexual orientation.

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The Canadian scientist served on the working group for gender dysphoria — the condition of where someone believes they are the opposite sex — for the DSM V, which is considered the authoritative source on diagnosing mental disorders.

When present in males, the condition is almost always preceded by either homosexuality or autogynephilia — sexual arousal at the thought or image of oneself as female — he continued.

"The sex of a postoperative transsexual should be analogous to a legal fiction. This legal fiction would apply to some things (e.g., sex designation on a driver’s license) but not to others (entering a sports competition as one’s adopted sex," the psychologist concluded.

Yet the Twitter arbiters of what constitutes appropriate conduct on the platform found his opinions so out-of-bounds — even though Blanchard voiced support for sex reassignment procedures for adults as the best course for some adults provided that they were carefully screened and had been resistant to other treatments — that they locked his account. They did so under the platform's hateful conduct policy.

For others many this episode crystallized they way certain issues, namely transgenderism, are not allowed to be spoken of critically in the new public square that is social media.

"Wake up. There is no neutral medium and no neutral market. This is naked politics-as-enmity, and some of you still cling to the-market-will-fix-it delusions," tweeted Catholic journalist Sohrab Ahmari in a Sunday warning to conservatives.

Journalist Jesse Singal, who has done extensive in-depth reporting on the subject, said the social media company was wrong to ban Blanchard.

"Gender dysphoria is in the DSM-5. Despite endless rumor-mongering and misinformation to the contrary, it *is* considered a mental disorder. Maybe it shouldn't be! But it's beyond insane to suspend someone for expressing an opinion which lines up with the DSM," he said in a Twitter thread.

"I have less and less faith that, as a journalist who often writes about science, I will be able to continue using Twitter without getting punished for communicating scientifically accurate information. Twitter is making a terrible and embarrassing error here that it should fix."

Twitter's move was part of "a complete meltdown, in elite progressive spaces, of the ability to accurately convey science on stories having to do with social justice," Singal added, calling it a "slow-motion disaster."

After approximately a day, Twitter unlocked Blanchard's account and apologized to him for shutting him down.

"Twitter takes reports of violations of the Twitter Rules very seriously. After reviewing your account, it looks like we made an error," Twitter told Blanchard.

The social media giant updated its terms of service in November forbidding such things as "misgendering" and "dead-naming" — using the former name of a trans-identified person prior to transition — stating they constituted "hateful conduct" that would not be allowed.

Those new rules were what got Canadian Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of the independent radical feminist website Feminist Current banned from the platform, even though they had not informed their users of those new rules.

Murphy was permanently suspended from Twitter for writing "men aren't women," among other things. The only tweet the social media giant referenced when they permanently banned her was one where she referred to a man who presents as a woman but still uses his male name as "him."

Murphy is presently suing Twitter.

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