[This article originally appeared in SALVO (www.salvomag.com) on August 19, 2020; it is reproduced here with permission. – Ed.]
Abigail Shrier, author of the new book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, knew she was taking on a highly controversial topic.
In a recent interview on The Joe Rogan Experience, Shrier discusses the background story of how she decided to write such a book. Rogan first slowly reads the title of her book, then comments, “This is a minefield.”
“It shouldn’t be, though,” responds Shrier. “It really shouldn’t be.” Shrier is adamant that her book has “nothing to do with adults who are transgender, many of whom are amazing people,” and some of whom she counts as her friends. Rather, Shrier writes about what she calls a “contagion” or “epidemic” of teenage girls who show absolutely zero sign of wanting to be boys as children. They are highly intelligent, tend to be socially well-to-do and white, and also have higher incidences of anxiety, depression, and other mental problems. Then, suddenly and after prolonged social media exposure, they announce that they are transgender—and often begin a series of physically disfiguring actions, such as wearing a “binder” (to hide the appearance of breasts), beginning testosterone, or even undergoing “top surgery” to remove their breasts altogether. They become socially accepted, even idolized, on online social channels. But the problem is that after these girls transition, their mental health seems to worsen, according to their parents. They are sullen, withdrawn, and angry. These are the same girls, says Shrier, who in past generations cut themselves, or developed eating disorders. Shrier also points out in her book that historically, gender dysphoria affected only a “tiny sliver of the population (roughly .01 percent) and almost exclusively boys.” But in the past decade, those percentages have exploded, and the balance has shifted from almost exclusively boys to almost exclusively teenage girls.
This is not, Shrier says in her interview, a story she wanted to tell. “This wasn’t a personal issue for me. In fact, it was an issue that originally I thought I was going to avoid,” she tells Rogan. She had already seen what happened to scholar Lisa Littman. In the book, Shrier interviews Littman, who authored a 2018 paper on what she termed “rapid-onset gender dysphoria.” Littman relied on parent report to suggest a new category of gender dysphoria—teenagers (largely female) who show no prior sign of gender dysphoria, have a history of mental health issues, have peer groups of one or more friends who identify as trans, and who experience a large uptick in social media consumption before announcing a new transgender identity. These parents also report that in many cases, their children’s mental health deteriorated after their trans identification.
For the suggestion that perhaps this new category deserved a closer look, Littman was nailed to the wall, metaphorically speaking. The publishing journal, PLOS ONE, immediately issued an apology for lack of context, and promised more review into Littman’s methodology. Brown University, where Littman was employed, removed a press release on the paper from its website and instead published an apology from one of the university’s deans. Shrier points out that the parents Littman interviewed predominantly self-identified as supporters of LGBTQ rights, and that parent report is a historically standard method for assessing children’s health. Yet, Littman was tarred and feathered by the national media and her employer.
Shrier has faced a similar fate. Not long after her book was published, so great was the backlash that Amazon told the publisher, Regnery, that it would allow the book to be sold but would block an ad campaign. An email from Regnery to Amazon reads: “[The book] contains elements that may not be appropriate for all audiences, which may include ad copy/book content that infers or claims to diagnose, treat, or question sexual orientation. Hence, this campaign will not be allowed to be advertised.”
It is inappropriate, Amazon says, to even question the concept of sexual orientation.
In the Introduction to Irreversible Damage, Shrier highlights an American perfect storm that puts victim identification on a pedestal and crushes all debate:
“This is a story Americans need to hear. . . America has become fertile ground for this mass enthusiasm for reasons that have everything to do with our cultural frailty: parents are undermined; experts are over-relied upon; dissenters in science and medicine are intimidated; free speech truckles under renewed attack; government healthcare laws harbor hidden consequences; and an intersectional era has arisen in which the desire to escape a dominant identity encourages individuals to take cover in victim groups.”
So great has America’s mass hysteria over such victim group status become, that instead of healthy debate over whether or not young girls might be permanently and seriously disfiguring their bodies, instead of at least listening to dissent and examining these issues, the media and academy do their utmost to shut down debate altogether. Their terror over being labeled homophobic or transphobic outweighs the plight of thousands of suffering young women—who are the real victims of a hysterical PC culture.
This is unhealthy, dangerous, and is potentially prolonging the suffering of real people.