Telling the truth on trans issues got me cancelled: one psychologist’s story
Issues connected to sex and sexuality have played a prominent role in my life—going back to 1972, when my mother and her business partner opened what I believe to be Canada’s first sex shop, Lovecraft, in Toronto. Thirty years later, I began teaching the Psychology of Human Sexuality at Brock University, and I have continued to teach a similar course each term at Ryerson University to this day. I have also taught Psychology of Gender and almost 20 other courses related to psychology, research methods and statistics nearly 200 times.
In my clinical practice as a psychologist, I have helped countless individuals dealing with LGBTQ-related matters. As a teacher, I always encourage students who identify as LGBTQ to participate actively in discussions they felt were relevant to them. This has helped create an environment in which students can challenge one another’s premises in a spirit of civility, open-mindedness and critical thinking.
I’m the daughter of Dr. Jordan B. Peterson. I’ve also made a name for myself by promoting an all-meat diet (The Lion Diet) for the last two years. This diet, I believe, healed my medically-uncontrollable autoimmune disease. Hence, I know a thing or two about trolls. Trolls are a bipartisan problem, and we need to know how to deal with them.
It started with my dad when he went viral in 2016 due to his stance on preferred pronouns (Bill C16 in Canada). His principled stance led international notoriety and fame. It was the left that first came after him. The onslaught was an attempt to put him in a box—who was Jordan Peterson? We’ve had the terms alt-right, male-chauvinist, free speech warrior, an anti-trans rights conservative thrown around a lot. Some even compared him to Hitler. None of that was remotely accurate—he just thinks people’s lives would be improved if they told the truth. Most manifestations were online, but some were quite real—we’ve had posters put up around our neighbourhood with a “warning” sign and his face on them.
I wouldn’t call the people who did this trolls. While they were certainly out to harm his reputation, their key driver was fear. They were also devoid of a sense of humour.
Trolls use humour, or most of them do. There are funny ones who tease, ones that make memes, satirical trolls (see Titania McGrath), those who push boundaries, but there are also trolls who see someone struggling and take that opportunity to add in a bit more suffering. There are trolls who are really just damaged individuals, and instead of taking that hurt and thinking, “I’ve experienced pain and the world would be a better place if there was less of that,” they think, “I’ve experienced pain and that wasn’t fair, so everyone else should suffer as I did.”
The left is interesting insofar as they claim to discourage bullying, but there are many vicious bullies among them. My father was attacked without an ounce of humour, initially. After the left had their fill, there was backlash from the right when they realized he didn’t really fit into their box, either. Some just poked fun at my dad—particularly with memes which we quite enjoyed. But there were also those who psychopathically hid behind their keyboards and looked for any sign of weakness to exploit, just because they were bored.
The internet has had a field day with my story, and how could it not? “Single Mother—Daughter of the Custodian of the Patriarchy—Touts An All Meat Diet To Cure Disease.” There couldn’t be an easier target. I had a vegan YouTuber send his 300k+ vegans after me at the same time as a former U.S. comedian with a large (legitimately) alt-right audience, sent his. The barrage of malice and ridicule was overwhelming. I reached a point where I couldn’t laugh it off anymore.
Then someone published a book about my diet claiming to be Jordan and I. It was listed in the Toxicology section of Amazon. Definitely a troll, somewhat annoying, but at least it was a little funny, and brought my sense of humour back. I bought one of the books just to have around. That all happened in a two week period, at the same time as my Dad entered rehab (at least partly due to the stress of being attacked from all angles for the last three years). This is what a well-permeated troll culture can achieve.
So how did we get here? Well, a couple of things have led to this troll culture we live in. The first was the uniting power of the internet. Most people are fairly agreeable, or society wouldn’t function. Disagreeable people (mostly men), being a statistical minority, have a hard time getting along with others, and trolling in real life can have very immediate consequences. However, if you say something provocative online, it’s from behind a screen so there really isn’t much danger. You venture out to different corners of the internet, trolling, until you find your little group with relatively few repercussions. It’s these communities of disagreeable, rather malicious individuals that can self-organize towards attacking a particular person or idea.
The far left has—and still is—trying to shut down our ability to tease each other, and joke in real life. One of the reasons teasing is fun is because it is provocative—a safe means for pushing boundaries. However, the logic of the far left resembles something like “if something is provocative, then it is mean, and if it is mean, it needs to be stopped.”
There’s no nuance. Comedians are getting censored, for God’s sake. Comedians. They’re professional jokers and they’re getting censored. What type of message does that send? That you don’t know have a right to judge what is offensive or non-offensive anymore? For example, I was part of a Facebook group where someone demanded a trigger warning before talking about renovations, just in case someone couldn’t afford to do the same renovations. And they were dead serious. How could a disagreeable person, especially one with a support group not attack that? Hell, I couldn’t even help it, and I was a pregnant woman at the time.
I believe that by striving for tolerance and conformity, the left both bred new trolls and made them much more influential by removing real-world competition. When trolling first started it would have been a few disagreeable individuals, but now anyone with a sense of humour can be considered a troll. Since society can’t handle comedians anymore, we now have trolls to poke fun at us and see how far we can be pushed. Some are funny. Some push too far, but, is it because they are, perhaps, getting pushed themselves? At least partly.
This is what happens when people aren’t allowed to tease each other, and discussions are literally banned. Combine that with digital impunity and a loyal fan club for the most vicious trolls… What do we expect? We can’t really fight back. And you know what? That’s okay. Just like a comedian is defined by the response of his or her audience, so is the influence of a troll defined by the attention they can stir up.
So I’ll end with a few suggestions coming from years of experience dealing with trolls.
- Do not engage. They will say anything to get a response. Ignore them. There’s no winning against someone trying to make the world a worse place.
- Laugh it off. Try and see the humour in it. Instead of taking offence. Our culture is more and more devoid of poking fun at stressful situations and we should be trying to increase that wherever we can. How else do you deal with the brutality of life? Humour is key. Even if that’s making fun of my family and my ridiculous diet.
- Support free speech in real life. If we want to limit trolling on the internet, we should make trolling more acceptable in the real world. The more free speech is shut down, the more comedians are censored, and the more disagreeable people are silenced, the stronger this troll culture will get.
Try not to take yourself too seriously. And have a steak.
“A major publication is happy to publish any old nonsense so long as it’s sufficiently woke. Social justice ideology has infected our mainstream media,” Andrew Doyle explains in a new video lecture recorded at the National Liberal Club in London on 13th October 2019.
The 25-minute video is a brilliant explainer on how satire and hoaxing work in 2019. With major platforms and publications getting woker by the minute, it’s imperative that people who haven’t succumbed to the woke moral panic to call out the many hypocrisies and incoherencies of social justice. For the few who don’t know, Andrew Doyle is the genius behind the internet’s greatest troll, Titania McGrath.
In 2019, feelings outweigh facts at every turn. And when op-eds read like fabricated drivel, it’s no wonder that the public has a hard time discerning truth from fiction. It takes comedians and satirists to point out just how insane this whole thing is. Doyle points out that “the woke are the establishment” and he couldn’t be more right. Those who are in the powerful cultural positions, in academia, media, arts, entertainment, and most importantly, advertising, are the ones with the batons and horses to push these ideas onto the public.
This is the kind of influence that matters, not politicians and legislators, but those who control the media. And they are being fooled by their own unwillingness to address their woke bias. It is this bias that veers us into the realm of complete absurdity, where people hate themselves for their skin colour, language is colonialism, words are violence, and disagreement is fascism.
“The mainstreaming of social justice is also evident in the fact that even respected, national newspapers don’t seem to understand the basic definitions of phrases like fascist, alt-right, and even far-right,” Doyle remarks. “They no longer know what these words mean, and they are just bandying them about promiscuously, which is really damaging. Now if you claim the right to define the word Nazi as just anyone who disagrees with you politically, then, of course, you can also claim that there is an epidemic of Nazism. But in doing so you are also inadvertently, acting in the interests of the worst kinds of people.”
Doyle notes that the reframing of the conversation to mark those who disagree with the mainstream social justice movement as alt-right Nazi fascists, cedes the argument in favour of free speech to those very people you are trying to silence.
The last five minutes of the speech is where Doyle truly shines. He points to three specific pieces published by major platforms. “In August of last year, The New York Times ran an anonymous letter. It was called ‘How Can I Cure My White Guilt?’ It was just signed ‘Whitey,’ and it was a person who described themselves as being riddled with shame for being white. Now the whole thing was obviously ridiculous, and obviously a hoax. So, Titania claimed that she had written it. And she provided screenshots, of the letter, on her hard drive, with the date, just to prove that she was the author.”
Doyle claims that the authorship doesn’t really matter. Maybe he wrote it, invoking the spirit of Titania, maybe he didn’t. The point is that “a major publication is happy to publish any old nonsense so long as it is sufficiently woke. The social justice ideology has infected our mainstream media. And irreparably degraded its standards.”
Finally, Doyle mentions the crown jewel of hoax columns—a breathless op-ed published by The Independent. “In February of this year, Liam Evans wrote a piece for The Independent, and he cited a number of extremely talented comedians, people like Dave Chappelle, Ricky Gervais, Finn Taylor, and he said that their jokes about sensitive topics amounted to hate speech. He said that these kind of jokes ‘should be subject to investigation. It simply isn’t good enough for comedians to cry free speech after every hateful joke, as if the laws that govern the rest of us don’t apply to them.’”
Who is Liam Evans? Well, he’s clearly an authoritarian, censorious monster. But he’s also clearly not real. Doyle asks why The Independent would run such clearly fabricated nonsense and points to the fact that a number of prominent comedians complained to the publication. Doyle asks, “What is happening to our media? Why is a respected national newspaper publishing drivel by a writer that no one has ever heard of just because it’s pushing a woke agenda? What does that tell us? And the other question they should have been asking is why is the left publishing these kinds of censorial articles that used to grace the pages of the right-wing tabloids? And if it takes a hoaxer to provoke a little self-reflection, then surely that’s a good thing.”
“Again, I do not want to speculate as to the authorship of that article,” Doyle says. “But I will point out one thing which I do find just a little bit curious… You might be interested to note that if you take every fourth letter of every sentence, it actually spells out the phrase, ‘Titania McGrath wrote this, you gullible hacks.’”
When asked if he was indeed behind the hoax article, Andrew Doyle remained playfully cagey, telling The Post Millennial: “So many of the opinion columns in the woke press read like satire already, so in a sense I shouldn’t be surprised that such an obvious hoax would be published.”
The truth is if it weren’t for geniuses like Doyle, Gervais, Chappelle, CK, and the handful of other comedians brave enough to stand up to the woke mob, the culture wars might be a lost cause. As Doyle has pointed out numerous times, hoaxing and satirizing the woke establishment is actually punching up. Every major platform and publication is woke in 2019. Those who issue social justice diktats have all of the power and influence. Doyle’s work is vital.
News hoaxes are as old as news itself, but what news outlets can get pranked about is very revealing. In this case, media wanted to believe that a young woman hated her whiteness, that Sam Harris is a gateway drug to the alt-right, free speech doesn’t matter, and off-colour jokes must be investigated by the authorities. The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Independent wanted to believe these things. In fact, they were desperate to believe these things. That’s why they published these hoax stories. And that’s why we need to keep making fun of them.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca).
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declared in 1969 that “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” and that the government should ignore “what’s done in private between adults.” On that basis, his Liberal government proceeded to remove sodomy from the Criminal Code.
Today, 50 years later, some Canadians believe that government should be keenly interested in “what’s done in private between adults”—this time not in bedrooms but in the offices of psychologists, on therapists’ couches, and in private counselling sessions with clergy at mosques, synagogues, churches and temples.
A proposed ban on “conversion therapy” in Edmonton is not limited to discredited practices such as shock therapy attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation. Rather, it is worded so broadly that it invites the government into every psychologist’s office, every therapy session, and every pastoral or spiritual counselling session that a religious leader might have with a member of her or his congregation.
If passed by Edmonton’s City Council, Bylaw 19061 would make it illegal to offer or provide “counselling or behaviour modification techniques, administration or prescription of medication, or any other purported treatment, service, or tactic used for the objective of changing a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or gender preference, or eliminating or reducing sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between persons of the same sex.”
Providing and promoting “gender-affirming surgery or any service related to gender-affirming surgery” would be the only legal choice left available under Bylaw 19061.
Bylaw 19061 applies not just to doctors, psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists, but also to pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and all religious leaders. The “business” prohibited by Bylaw 19061 includes non-profits “however organized or formed” and includes every “profession” or “calling” without an exemption for clergy.
Bylaw 19061 addresses practices that are governed not by politicians, but by the various professional associations that accredit doctors, psychologists, counsellors, pharmacists and other professionals. For example, the “administration or prescription of medication” is governed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, not by the 13 politicians who currently run Edmonton.
Based on information posted on the City of Edmonton website, neither Mayor Don Iveson nor any of the 12 Councillors appear to have any formal education, expertise or credentials in psychology, psychiatry, medicine or pastoral care.
Bylaw 19061 targets private conversations between consenting adults about sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and preference: conversations to which no government should have access. This Bylaw shows no respect, or even tolerance, for “what’s done in private between adults” in regard to their personal choices about sexual feelings and sexual behaviour, and their personal choices about what spiritual, psychological and behavioural goals to set for themselves. Bylaw 19061 is another example of a “government knows best” ideology that disrespects the freedom of adults to make their own choices about their own lives.
Bylaw 19061 takes away choice from a person struggling with gender identity confusion (dysphoria), by keeping legal only the option of seeking opposite-sex hormones, and eventually surgery, in an attempt to make the body conform to thoughts and feelings. The Bylaw makes it illegal for any psychologist, clergy, psychiatrist, doctor or counsellor to assist people in overcoming their feelings of confusion, and helping them to accept and embrace their biological reality. People “de-transition” all the time because they are dissatisfied with the transgender narrative and the results of their attempts to transition sexes. Government has no lawful business attempting to prevent them from doing so.
Bylaw 19061 also takes away the individual’s choice to seek and obtain help to practice celibacy. Not every Canadian accepts the motto “If it feels good, do it.” There are religious and non-religious persons in Canada who want to change or curtail their sexual behaviour, including people who are same-sex attracted. But Bylaw 19061 makes it illegal for pastors, rabbis, imams, priests and even leaders of voluntary 12-step programs, to assist same-sex attracted people who choose to practice celibacy.
Ironically, Bylaw 19061 allows these same pastors, rabbis, imams, priests and 12-step leaders to promote celibacy to those who feel attracted to the opposite sex. Under Bylaw 19061, an unmarried Orthodox Jewish man can receive his rabbi’s encouragement not to have sex with women, but it’s illegal for this rabbi to encourage an unmarried man to abstain from having sex with other men.
Those who support Bylaw 19061 are no doubt motivated by the good intentions of helping people and preventing harm, but their arrogance is astounding. Who are they to dictate to people struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions that the only valid choice is to act on those feelings? How is it humane or compassionate to remove support from people who want to practice celibacy? The number of people who want to practice celibacy may be small, but that is irrelevant to the importance of their rights and freedoms respected by a free society. After all, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is about protecting minorities, even very small ones, and especially unpopular ones. As the Supreme Court of Canada explains it, the majority’s views have no need for constitutional protection, as they are tolerated in any event.
Bylaw 19061 is pure politics, not medicine or science. It is political grandstanding, designed to impress the LGBTQ lobby, and to promote transgender ideology.
Fifty years after Trudeau proclaimed tolerance for “what’s done in private between adults,” Bylaw 19061 tells us that it’s OK for consenting adults to engage in the sexual practices of their choice, but it’s not OK for consenting adults to discuss those sexual practices freely if their conversation heads in the “wrong” direction. The “wrong” direction, under Bylaw 19061, is that which challenges currently popular beliefs about sexuality. By making certain private conversations between consenting adults illegal, Bylaw 19061 invites the government into private spaces that ought to remain private.
Prominent YouTuber Dave Rubin has introduced a new platform called Locals.com which intends to give “power” back to the creators, rather than to organizations like YouTube and Patreon who have often been criticized for being censorious and manipulative.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, Rubin described Locals.com as a “subscription-based community network for creators … I fully believe that the future of the internet is bottom-up instead of top-down.”
Rubin went on to say that content creators are “frustrated by these giant tech platforms and the way they manipulate the algorithm, the way they shadowban, the way they de-platform, and what I realized was that for me as an independent content creator, I needed to make sure that all my digital assets, my videos, my audios, the way I can communicate with fans, is protected”
Rubin wanted to build Locals.com so that content creators had the power to “put up ad-free videos, ad-free audio podcasts, so you can communicate directly with your fans. Ultimately, we will build web-communities, and also apps for independent creators.”
There will also be a social element to Locals.com. Creators, for instance, will now be able to communicate with other like-minded creators on the backend of the site—creating their own networks. “The future is about creators, not these big tech platforms,” Rubin stated.
Locals.com will allow creators to set their own rules within their community—meaning that there won’t be a universal term of service. “You will set your rules about what type of people you want, and what speech is allowed. We will empower creators to actually own their content.”
Rubin also has a solution to the bots and trolls that content creators often have to deal with on the larger tech platforms, as these people won’t pay to access the content.
On top of this, creators won’t be beholden to tech companies or the government. “The government is not the solution, usually the government is the problem,” said Rubin.
“The idea behind a big platform is that somehow everybody should be on there, and everybody should be able to say what we want, except we know that these big tech platforms treat different content and different people differently. Why not hand that power down to the creator: so if you want to build a community where it is a free-for-all then so be it; but if you want to have a community which is much more guarded and moderated, then you can have that.”
“These are gated communities that interact with other gated communities, to start creating real, mature conversation which is what’s been lost of Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.”
Rubin also emphasized the ability for creators to communicate with their audience: Big tech platforms have “created a situation where there are creators with millions of followers and you can’t even directly communicate with your people because the algorithm stops you from doing that. So, for example, I have over a million youtube subscribers, but my videos get out to very few of them. So we’re gonna ensure that there is no algorithm manipulation.”
Rubin has made clear that Locals.com will not sell data. As well as this, if a creator leaves the platform, they will be allowed to take the audience data they collected with them so that creators are in no way dependant on Locals.com. In other words, Rubin is “trying to think of the internet in a whole new way.”
Next week, Locals.com will begin to announce a batch of prominent creators who will be posting their content on the site.