On Saturday, Twitter locked the account of Ray Blanchard, a Toronto-based expert in sexual orientation, paraphilias, and gender identity disorders, for expressing his scientifically based opinion on transgenderism. Blanchard, a PhD researcher who chaired the working group on paraphilia (abnormal sexual desires, particularly extreme ones) for the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), responded to a question about his opinion on transgenderism by stating the view expressed by the APA, which defines it as a “type of mental disorder.”
“Transsexualism and milder forms of gender dysphoria are types of mental disorder, which may leave the individual with average or even above-average functioning in unrelated areas of life,” Blanchard wrote in the first of his six-part answer.
In response to the tweet, Blanchard was notified by Twitter that his account was blocked for “violating our rules against hateful conduct,” which reads: “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”
As Twitchy notes, one supporter tweeted out a screenshot of the message to Blanchard:
After backlash online from peers and supporters, Blanchard’s account was reinstated Sunday. “Twitter has unlocked my account and graciously apologized for their error. My sincere thanks to the people who expressed their concern during the past 24 hours,” Blanchard wrote Sunday.
The thread that got him temporarily silenced on the platform is now up again.
“Earlier today I wrote this thread in response to a follower who asked me, ‘What is your actual position on transgender people?’ It looks like my reply has not been delivered to a single person besides the original inquirer, so I am reposting it here,” Blanchard wrote. He then laid out the “six elements” of his beliefs on transgenderism (tweets below):
(1) Transsexualism and milder forms of gender dysphoria are types of mental disorder, which may leave the individual with average or even above-average functioning in unrelated areas of life.
(2) Sex change surgery is still the best treatment for carefully screened, adult patients, whose gender dysphoria has proven resistant to other forms of treatment.
(3) Sex change surgery should not be considered for any patient until that patient has reached the age of 21 years and has lived for at least two years in the desired gender role.
(4) Gender dysphoria is not a sexual orientation, but it is virtually always preceded or accompanied by an atypical sexual orientation – in males, either homosexuality (sexual arousal by members of one’s own biological sex) or autogynephilia (sexual arousal at the thought or image of oneself as a female).
(5) There are two main types of gender dysphoria in males, one associated with homosexuality and one associated with autogynephilia. Traditionally, the great bulk of female-to-male transsexuals has been homosexual in erotic object choice.
(6) The sex of a postoperative transsexual should be analogous to a legal fiction. This legal fiction would apply to some things (e.g., sex designation on a driver’s license) but not to others (entering a sports competition as one’s adopted sex).
Blanchard’s opinion that transgenderism is a mental disorder aligns with American Psychiatric Association’s official view. Below is an excerpt from its online entry for gender dysphoria, which the APA makes sure to differentiate from gender nonconformity and homosexuality:
Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender.
People with gender dysphoria may often experience significant distress and/or problems functioning associated with this conflict between the way they feel and think of themselves (referred to as experienced or expressed gender) and their physical or assigned gender. …
Gender dysphoria is not the same as gender nonconformity, which refers to behaviors not matching the gender norms or stereotypes of the gender assigned at birth. Examples of gender nonconformity (also referred to as gender expansiveness or gender creativity) include girls behaving and dressing in ways more socially expected of boys or occasional cross-dressing in adult men. Gender nonconformity is not a mental disorder. Gender dysphoria is also not the same being gay/lesbian.