How to convince progressives to give up gender

Terrified of transactivists and worried about sounding 'right-wing', left-wingers support the transition of minors even in the absence of studies showing that 'affirmative therapy' works and promotes the well-being of gender non-conforming girls and boys. "But everyone has a right to evidence-based medicine," argue some liberals determined to "break the spell". And they start DIAG -Democrats for an Informed Approach to Gender- to convince democrats in the US and around the world that continuing on this path is wrong and dangerous. For children and for the left. An article by Bernard Lane
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A new movement of US Democrats wants to find out how to break the spell of gender ideology and bring the party back to the liberal values of science and reason.

Democrats for an Informed Approach to Gender (DIAG) launched yesterday on X Space (Twitter) a project to commission research on how to reach left-wing voters more effectively who believe that science is now in favour of 'gender-affirming' medicalisation of gender non-conforming youth.

"The only way to end this situation is to make the left stop promoting gender ideology' said a member of DIAG (he spoke on condition of anonymity; the parents, teachers and lawyers who form DIAG are volunteers who want to protect their families and jobs from activist attacks).

In the United States the Democratic Biden administration has aggressively promoted the gender affirming approach to children who reject their birth sex and has deployed its legal resources against Republican states seeking to limit paediatric transition (a handful of Democrats supported these state restrictions).

Left and centre-left parties internationally, influenced by university-educated elites and identity politics, are normally devoted to gender ideology.

Although there is pushback from the right - especially from the populist right - centre-right parties include uncritical supporters of gender medicine and many members are simply unaware of what is at stake. This has much to do with a misleading media coverage and the politicised groupthink of medical organisations.

Framing the debate on gender medicine as a cultural and emotional war between left and right obscures the detailed and evidence-based critique of this 'progressive' medicalisation and the fact that concern about harm to vulnerable children crosses political, social and religious divides.-GCN


'We believe that everyone deserves evidence-based medicine' said the DIAG host on yesterday's episode of X Space. And no one should accept what is passed off as medical treatment under the pretext of administering 'gender affirmation cures', because it is not a cure to introduce diseases into healthy bodies for any reason. There should be better options'.

But he added that persuading fellow democrats that gender ideology in medicine, schools, sport and government is retrogressive and neither compassionate nor progressive, is not as simple as offering facts and figures.

"People do not want to hear [the arguments against gender medicine], people are not able to hear them. They think you are lying, they think they only know because they get the information from the 'experts' [and the media that hired them.

"There must be other ways to reach people. We want to have listening sessions and focus groups to understand what kind of message really works'.

The DIAG website suggests an approach inspired by the book How to Have Impossible Conversations by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay.

"Remember that your liberal colleagues ended up here [supporting gender ideology] because of the desire to do good' reads the site. "These discussions are inevitably about morality: what it means to be a good or bad person."

"Challenging these [gender] ideas can provoke the same brain reactions as physical danger: That is why it is so important to build a relationship. Avoid 'sermons for two'. Be genuinely curious and listen carefully.

"Research and experience tell us that if you simply lay out facts in profusion to someone, they will cling more tightly to their beliefs. Leave the facts for later and focus on trust and finding common ground'.

The idea is to use questions that genuinely engage the other person ("What do you believe in?"), that highlight contradictions and problems ("How can a person be 'born in the wrong body'?") or sowing doubt ("If there was no evidence that confirming gender prevents children from committing suicide, what would you think?").

The site also contains tips for cthose on the left who, out of disgust, no longer donate to organisations such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Democratic Party, because they promote gender ideology. DIAG says it is a wasted opportunity to simply ignore their funding appeals; better to tell them exactly why you no longer want to donate. "Don't forget to let them know where your donations are going now that they have decided that promoting medical harm to young people is a winning strategy."

"Many of those who think a more cautious approach is needed - including parents, doctors and people who underwent gender transition and later regretted their procedures - were attacked as anti-trans and intimidated to silence their concerns.

And while Donald Trump denounces the 'gender madness of the left' and many trans activists describe any opposition as transphobic, parents of the vast American ideological centre can find little dispassionate discussion son the real risks or compromises in what advocates call gender-confirming treatments'..


Those who spoke yesterday in DIAG's Space X were angry at the Democratic Party, but also aware that the tide against gender ideology might be turned and that the party might not be saved. 

Erin Friday, a lifelong Democrat and Californian lawyer whose daughter thought she was a boy, welcomed DIAG 'because we really need to figure out how to reach the democrats, especially if you are in a liberal state, because we do not have the opportunity to have rational discussions with legislators while the democrats continually pass laws that harm our children'.

More than a dozen blue (Democratic) states, including California, have passed laws promising a 'safe haven' for young people with trans identities and their families should they leave a neighbouring red (Republican) state that restricts puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery for minors.

Friday, who co-founded the non-partisan group Protect Kids California with loyal Republican Jonathan Zachreson, is leading a campaign for a referendum to outlaw medicalised sex change for minors in the progressive heartland of California.

Yesterday, he told X Space that the existence of the DIAG refutes the claim that 'all Democrats are crazy [for gender ideology] - that we are all enthusiastic about harming children and taking away parental rights, because it's not true'.

She also reported a breakthrough of sorts. For the first time in four years of fighting for children and women, she found a Democratic legislator - a senator from California - willing to spend an hour and a half talking to her about the issues.

"I didn't think it was possible," said Friday. "So a great change is taking place - and it has to happen on both sides to be successful'.

Kara Dansky, president of Women's Declaration International USA, speaking 'only in a personal capacity as a very angry democrat', offered her congratulations to the DIAG and warned its members.

"You will be called fascists, right-wingers, crooks. It's not funny," he said. "Those of us who have been doing this for years - and some of us for decades - have been called Nazis, cheaters, etc. We just need to deflect the discourse and move on."

"Moira Deeming, Australian politician and women's rights activist, has been presented as a racist and white supremacist who supports neo-Nazi ideology. She has not been given the opportunity to refute these accusations or defend herself, her reputation is damaged and this has created many problems and risks for her and her family. The events of which Ms Deeming was a victim [after a Let Women Speak demonstration in Melbourne was disrupted by neo-Nazis] appear to be part of a wider trend in many countries... for which I have expressed concern [previously, noting] "the escalation of intimidation and threats against women and girls for expressing their opinions and beliefs about their needs and rights based on gender and/or sexual orientation'. (from letter to the Australian government by Reem Alsalem, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, 23 November 2023).

Original article by Bernard Lane here

Translation and adaptation by Mara Accettura

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