Culture Wars/Current Controversies

On the Blowback to “What is a Woman?” and the Difference Between Debate and Bigotry

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As short a response as I could manage, to a lot of criticism

After publishing a review of Matt Walsh’s What is a Woman? this week, the expected avalanche of blowback from activists and even a few friends did arrive. Most went straight to the word “bigot,” while others decried “platforming a fascist.”

Let me explain my thoughts on this subject, since some seem to feel that laughing when a professor is caught calling “truth” transphobic is equivalent to supporting genocide.

Over the years I’ve probably interviewed twenty people in this field, usually over speech issues. These ranged from a trans activist who screamed at me before the first question (as part of a “censorship” story I ultimately decided not to do, because the complaining trans-skeptic wasn’t really being censored), to others like Dr. Kenneth Zucker, who for 35 years headed Canada’s Gender Identity Clinic. I’m obviously no expert in the field, but I do know about media, and the Zucker case was a clear example of press malpractice. It also showed how a dynamic one colleague tabbed the “either TERF or saint” formula has become a mandatory coverage template.

Zucker’s name is radioactive in the trans community. In fact, one of the supposed sins of writer Jesse Singal, as listed on his Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) “Accountability Project” page — his blacklist entry — is that he “wrote a defense in 2016 of Dr. Kenneth Zucker,” who supposedly believed in “conversion therapy.” It should be noted that soon after that “defense,” Zucker won a $586,000 settlement in a civil suit in which it was admitted that Canada’s largest mental health center “published a report that erroneously described [Zucker’s] interactions with patients.”

GLAAD, supposedly an opponent of “defamation,” still cites that defamatory report, saying Zucker has faced “accusations of practices to change gender-nonconforming mannerisms or identification to achieve a ‘cisgender goal,’ and ‘curing’ children of their transgender identity.”

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