17 February 2021
illustrazione di TonoRosaClaro

Why does gender identity enjoy such support? Just because people are afraid to say how they really think

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Why does everyone support gender ideology?

This is a question we keep hearing and also ask ourselves regularly. Everyone knows that human beings cannot change their sex, so why does everyone seem to agree with gender ideology?

It can be difficult to deal with this contradiction, seeking explanations for the seemingly illogical human behaviour around us. All those who blindly repeat 'trans women are women' are they stupid or uneducated? We know that this cannot be the case, many very intelligent people, such as academics and community leaders, seem to agree. Are those who promote unethical gender medicine on children really evil? Probably not, most doctors and psychologists sincerely want to help people. What about our friends, family and colleagues who we know to be good, intelligent and empathetic people? Why do they seem to support this mania?
Since it is difficult to describe the motivation of every single human being with a single explanation, understanding the psychology of human conformity can help us to understand this apparently irrational behaviour.

  • Social conformity research and evolutionary theories

A chapter published in 2015 in Evolutionary Perspectives on Social Psychology provides a useful meta-analysis of compliance research. The researchers identified three primary categories of conformity: conformity in perceptual judgement, behavioural conformity and conformity in opinions and attitudes. Aspects of all three probably play a role in the spread of gender ideology.
The most famous example of conformity in perceptual judgement is theSolomon Asch's 1950 experiment on how a person would conform to the majority of a group by denying their own perception. In the study, participants were asked to state which of the proposed lines matched one shown initially - the answer was fairly obvious. Unbeknownst to the unaware subject, everyone else in the room was working with the researchers (confederates) giving intentionally wrong answers to see the impact on the subject.
The study found that three out of four participants accepted the wrong answer at least once. However, two thirds of the total choices made by the subjects during the study were ultimately correct despite the pressure of the majority being wrong. Further replication found that the compliance rate increased, at least to some extent, with the number of confederates. When there was only one confederate feeding the incorrect answers, the effect essentially disappeared.

This study shows how, at least once, people tend to deny their own perceptions in order to conform to the majority. This presents a rather direct parallelism with those groups of people who agree with the expression ".trans women are women'. when they can see with their own eyes that the person in question is clearly a man.

Some researchers have proposed an evolutionary basis for compliance, and there are a variety of reasons why compliance could be beneficial for reproduction. As the authors of the text point out, when there is uncertainty about which is the safest thing to do, following the majority is often the safest way. If everyone else has done this and survived, it is likely that you will too. Groups are also more likely to ostracise individuals perceived to be different from the others.i, and human evolutionary survival has been heavily dependent on the ability to work together. Our brains treat being perceived as 'different' as a literal threat to our survival because, for most of our species' history, it has been. These patterns have also been replicated in many of our evolutionary neighbours, such as chimpanzees.

The conformity of attitudes and opinions is also clearly at stake in the gender debate. Many people are not simply following the apparent majority in order to avoid standing out, but seem to genuinely adopt the views put forward by gender ideology as "human sex is not binary", "it is not detrimental to women's rights to allow men who identify themselves as women access to women's spaces", o "children with gender identity disorders should be given cross-sex hormones". What is particularly alarming for many feminists is how many women seem to espouse these views.

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology discovered that there is evidence not only of an evolutionary basis for human compliance behaviour, but also of gender-specific models. For both men and women, when people are in a self-protective mode (anxious or frightened) they are more likely to adopt the group opinion. However, when participants were prompted to consider attraction to the other (mate-attraction), men were less conformist (trying to distinguish themselves from the group) while women became more conformist in their opinions (assuming the more 'desirable' trait in women of 'being complacent').
In essence, this study shows that while both men and women may conform to the opinions of the group when they are afraid, women are more likely to conform in order to remain attractive in the eyes of men. This probably provides some explanation as to why so many young women seem more willing to go along with views that are ultimately detrimental to women's rights.
Of course, it is important to recognise that fear and self-protection play an important role for both men and women. Many people are not genuinely adopting the view that "trans women are literally women'.but are nevertheless publicly following this belief. This can be explained by a phenomenon known as preference falsification. 

  • Falsification of preferences: hiding the true opinion of the majority

The falsification of preferences is a form of falsehood with the specific aim of communicating a preference (or opinion) that differs from one's own, mainly because the opinion expressed is considered more socially acceptable. Developed by Timur KuranThe theory provides an explanation of how minority opinions end up being perceived as majority opinions. In a recent podcast Hidden Brain dives into the details of this theory, and it is really worth listening to.
This model is prevalent in dictatorships and fascist regimes where expressing dissent is severely punished. Kuran gives examples such as the North Korea where even members of Kim Jong II's family have been publicly executed for expressing dissent. This provides a deterrent effect whereby members of the real majority - people who wish to overthrow the regime - censor themselves for their own safety, providing the illusion of a majority supporting the dictator.
But this does not only happen in communist dictatorships. Kuran discusses how even in the US, people are afraid to share their political opinions or beliefs for fear of being fired or 'erased'.. Many were surprised by Donald Trump's victory in 2016 for this very reason - people were afraid to express their true preference in public, but in the privacy of a voting booth the truth came out.
There is plausible evidence that the falsification of preferences in the US is now also occurring in the debate about 'gender identity' policies, leading many to perceive a majority in favour of these policies while, secretly, the majority actually disapproves of them.
A survey sponsored by WoLF in October 2020 found that the majority of voters do not agree with a range of 'gender identity' policies such as those recently enacted by the Biden administration: "Voters overwhelmingly disapprove of policies that allow male sex offenders or domestic abusers to be placed in women's prisons, with only seven percent of voters supporting such policies. Two in three likely voters (66.93%) say they "strongly disagree" with such policies, including a majority of liberal voters who disagree with such policies. The poll also revealed cross-party disapproval of policies based on 'gender identity', such as those involving single-sex sports. A majority of voters across all parties (66.96%) say that men or boys who identify as transgender should not be allowed to compete in women's athletics. The majority of voters also disagree with allowing men who identify as transgender in women's locker rooms (56.86%) and homeless shelters (53.19%). More than two-thirds of voters (66,84%) also disagreed with allowing children under 18 to undergo physical surgery to change their sex or take cross-sex hormones. There was also cross-party agreement that parents should not face losing custody of their children for refusing to allow them to undergo these procedures, with only 17.01% of voters supporting such policies."
Considering that preference falsification can also take place in the poll, these are pretty strong numbers indicating that we have a 'silent majority' of people opposed to gender identity politics in the US. On the other hand, we also have a culture where people are fired for expressing this opinion out loud. - the perfect storm for the falsification of preferences and the emergence of a false majority.

  • What does this mean for the future of gender identity?

There are There is ample evidence that most people in the US do not really believe in gender identity or support the corresponding policies, but are simply conforming due to a basic psychological impulse to protect themselves.
A positive side of preference falsification, according to Kuran, is that can allow dissent to bubble beneath the surface undetected, leading to sudden and extreme surges in the public when dissent ultimately erupts. With Biden increasingly promulgating policies that force these issues onto a national stage, it seems increasingly likely that the silent majority will stop being so silent.
Research on compliance has found that when one person violates the pattern of giving wrong answers, another is more likely to follow suit and break compliance. Each person who speaks out makes things easier for the next person.

It is inevitable that all this will come to an end. As in the case of other great moral crises and social disappointments in history, One day people will look back on this era and ask themselves: "How could so many people have accepted this for so long? Could it happen to us today?".
The answer is obvious: as long as human psychology is geared towards conformism, society will be prone to waves of seemingly intelligent, logical and kind people getting along with something that makes no sense at all. But these schemes always break down in the endironically, once people realise that they are not alone in their secret nonconformity.

The authors of this article (here is the link to the original) are two fantastic girls - M. K. Fain and Sasha White -, each of them is the founder of a personal network (Sasha White has founded "Plebity while MK Fain founded "4W', an online magazine in addition to the social network "Spinster.

Perché l'identità di genere gode di un simile sostegno? Solo perché la gente ha paura di dire come la pensa davvero
M.K. Fain
Perché l'identità di genere gode di un simile sostegno? Solo perché la gente ha paura di dire come la pensa davvero
Sasha White

Together they created and founded the project called "Identity Crisis'.

column + weekly podcast where they answer various questions from boys and girls questioning the ideology of gender identity.

(translation Angela Tacchini)

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