“Conservatives: Wake up.”
A scientist was banned from Twitter on Sunday for stating his belief that the transsexualism is a mental disorder, with the platform saying he had violated its rules against “hateful conduct.”
Ray Blanchard, a University of Toronto sexologist who studies transexualism, had tweeted his six core beliefs about transgenderism. He said the tweets were hidden on Twitter, so he tweeted them again.
The list staked out a middle ground in the culture war of transgenderism, neither acceptable to those who reject the condition wholesale or those who demand full recognition of gender identity claims.
Blanchard endorsed sex reassignment surgery as a treatment for gender dysphoria but only as a last resort for patients who are at least 21 years old.
He said that transsexuals, or transgender people who have transitioned from one sex to another, should be recognized as their preferred sex for certain purposes, like getting a driver’s license, but not others, like competing in women’s sports.
And he said that men with gender dysphoria, or whose gender identity and biological sex are at adds, are “virtually always” gay or autogynephilic, or aroused by the seeing themselves as female – a research finding for which he is well known.
However, it was his first and in some ways most scientifically agreed-upon claim that Twitter objected to: that gender dsyphoria is a type of mental disorder. The consensus on the issue among psychiatrists is reflected by the condition’s inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association’s bible.
Jesse Singal – a magazine journalist who last June wrote a cover article for the Atlantic about destransitioning – tweeted that “it’s beyond insane to suspend someone for expressing an opinion which lines up with the DSM.”
1/ 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. I have less and pic.twitter.com/nKkI401FIK
— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) May 12, 2019
Economist editor Helen Joyce, a prominent critic of the transgender rights movement, was among a number of commentators who noted that Blanchard is a leader in his field, saying of Twitter’s suspension of his account “Unreal.”
Ray Blanchard served on the gender dysphoria working group and chaired the paraphilia working group for DSM V. He is a world expert in the field. Twitter has just suspended his account for a thread setting out his findings from
A lifetime of research. Unreal pic.twitter.com/vgQCd4OzYs
— Helen Joyce (@HJJoyceEcon) May 12, 2019
New York Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari called on conservatives to “Wake up.” He effectively accused Twitter of hating them.
Ray Blanchard is the preeminent sexologist of his generation and a profound scientific mind.
Conservatives: 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. https://t.co/A6XgPhrlUk
— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) May 12, 2019
Independent journalist Tim Poole joked that on Twitter, “any offensive science will not be tolerated!”
Listen here bigots
Twitter has a strong anti science position and any offensive science will not be tolerated! https://t.co/Gd9BxdiS1p
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) May 12, 2019
Amid the backlash, Blanchard later in the day announced that Twitter had unlocked his account and “graciously apologized for their error.”
Twitter has unlocked my account and graciously apologized for their error. My sincere thanks to the people who expressed their concern during the past 24 hours. pic.twitter.com/fblijhdi5k
— Ray Blanchard (@BlanchardPhD) May 13, 2019
Conservative commentators noted that Twitter’s errors seem to consistently have a right-ward bias.
Like other internet companies, Twitter has lately stepped up its policing of “hateful” content – resulting in a purge of mostly right-wing users. Last week, an account that parodies Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was permanently banned from the platform along with its creator. Several others quickly popped up to replace it.
Similarly, Blanchard’s latest tweets about transexualism ended up getting much more attention than his account typically does, going viral on conservative Twitter and earnings write-ups in right-wing media.
His post about having been unbanned garnered more than 4,000 likes, and and endorsement from Joyce, the Economist editor.
Twitter has apologised and allowed Ray Blanchard to share his findings w/o censorship. It's going to reach far more people than it would have without their attempt to silence anyone who deviates from an orthodoxy on trans issues developed about half a second ago. Here you are https://t.co/9cnkIaY0w4
— Helen Joyce (@HJJoyceEcon) May 13, 2019