YouTube censors video testimony of former transgender, calls it 'hate speech'

YouTube unveils their new paid subscription service at the YouTube Space LA in Playa Del Rey, Los Angeles, California, United States October 21, 2015.
YouTube unveils their new paid subscription service at the YouTube Space LA in Playa Del Rey, Los Angeles, California, United States October 21, 2015. | REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

YouTube has censored a man who once identified as transgender for so-called hate speech because he expressed an opinion about gender dysphoria and transgender ideology that the tech giant doesn't agree with.

Walt Heyer, the founder of Sex Change Regret, was part of a Heritage Foundation panel last October, where he detailed his experiences with taking hormones and undergoing body-altering surgery to look more like a woman. During the panel discussion at the think-tank's "Summit on Protecting Children from Sexualization," Heyer said that in the eight years he lived as a woman, he learned that while he could change his appearance, sex is an immutable characteristic.

YouTube users flagged Heyer's remarks as offensive, and the Heritage Foundation's video was taken down. In an emailed statement to The Federalist on Friday, the video streaming platform explained why it was removed, saying, "Our hate speech policy prohibits videos which assert that someone's sexuality or gender identity is a disease or a mental illness. We quickly remove videos violating our policies when flagged by our users."

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As part of its policy update — which YouTube says it developed with bipartisan input — the company prohibits comments it deems as offensive toward "individuals or groups" such as comments it says demeans a group as "physically or mentally inferior, deficient, or diseased based on any of the attributes noted for the purpose of inciting hatred" which also includes "statements that one group is less than another, calling them less intelligent, less capable, or damaged."

YouTube also objected to Heyer's statement that individuals are "not born transgender" and that gender dysphoria is "a childhood developmental disorder that adults are perpetrating on our young people today, and our schools are complicit in this."

"I stand before you with a mutilated body, with a life that was destroyed in many ways, redeemed by Christ certainly, but destroyed because I was affirmed and told how cute I look, how wonderful it was. And I went to a gender therapist who said, ''All you need to do is have hormones and reassignment surgery," Heyer said last fall, as seen in a new footage Heritage republished Friday featuring a new introduction highlighting YouTube's censorship of Heyer's comments.

The new video bleeps the purportedly "hateful" six-word violation that got the video taken down by YouTube. Heyer, meanwhile, says he stands by everything he said.

Heritage Foundation Director Emilie Kao talked to YouTube about the video's removal and explained that Heyer's description of gender dysphoria in youth is commensurate with the definition outlined in the American Psychiatric Association's fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, long considered the official guidebook for clinical practice in the field.

"YouTube has decided, under the guise of ''hate speech,'' to censor the viewpoint that it doesn't like. This won't help children and families struggling with this disorder who want information from both sides of the debate," Kao told The Federalist in a statement.

Heyer frequently speaks about the harms of so-called sex-change surgery and experimental cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers on children. He believes that what is now called "affirmative care," in which a child is affirmed as the opposite sex, is psychological abuse of children.

"We get letters from parents or the transgenders themselves asking for help, after they've lived the life like I did for five, six, 15, 18, 20, all the way up to 30 years. And they are saying, 'Walt, can you help me de-transition. This was the biggest mistake of my life,'" Heyer said at a separate Heritage Foundation panel on the dangers of transgender medicalization.

"We are manufacturing transgender kids," he warned at the time. "We are manufacturing their depression, their anxiety, and it has turned into a huge industry that people are profiting from after kids' lives are completely torn apart."

"We're ruining an entire generation of young people, and it's serious business. I'm not pulling any punches anymore. And you shouldn't either," he added. 

Follow Brandon Showalter on Facebook: BrandonMarkShowalterFollow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow

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