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Please welcome Deborah.
So Government Podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, trained by Joe Rogan.
Podcast by night all day. Hello, Deborah. Hi. We were just talking you're locked up in Toronto, you were thinking about flying here, but they fill the planes now.
You were saying, which is a little disturbing. I did not know they're doing that. Yeah.
They usually would leave the middle seat open, but as of about a month or so ago, they book it fully now. So I was super excited. I'm so sad that I can't be there with you because I've been counting down the days and I was thinking I have to at least be in L.A. to do Joe's show, but it was just a bit scared.
Yeah, well, it's scary. It's weird. I mean, how many people have you known that have caught it now?
Actually, nobody was not wild. That's everybody I know knows at least one or two people. I don't know anyone. So I'm very, very lucky.
I'm up to nine friends. Nine friends have gotten it wild. Yeah. Two of them got it bad. Yeah. Two of them got it really bad to the point where they were hospitalized. But wow. Yeah. It's one of them was an older guy and one of them is a guy who was 45 who just was run my friend Michael Yo who's just run down and he was just really exhausted from too much traveling and too much. I mean, it was a really crazy schedule that he was on and he wound up catching it.
He he had a bad he was hospitalized for a week. Oh, no. Is he doing OK now?
He's fine now, but his endurance is really low, like his lung capacity suffered.
That's the thing, because when this happened, I felt like, OK, everything has to stop and I have to take care of myself, just take it for granted, right when you're healthy. But the minute something like this happens, you this is something that I would have never even thought about.
Are you taking a lot of vitamin D? No, I'm actually everyone has been telling me to take vitamin D, I take Omega. Well, that's good. But you should you should really vitamin C and vitamin D are critical and zinc. Zinc is critical, but vitamin D in particular, they did a study, several studies, actually. Dr. Rhonda Patrick was on the podcast talking about it, and she said that there was several studies that show that in the people that were in the ICU with covid, more than 80 percent of them were insufficient when their vitamin D levels and only four percent were sufficient.
Hmm. Yeah. So it's not it's you know, it's not a preventable it's not it's not provable, you know, but it's there's got to be some sort of a correlation.
I feel like if you're giving me personalized advice, I should probably take it because I'm sure a lot of people would pay a lot of money for this.
I don't think they would. I think, you know, a few people would probably.
But I've talked to enough people that I think vitamin D, zinc and vitamin C seem to be critical. But just overall health is very important. I mean, it's one of the things that my friend Andrew Schultz were saying, that we was exposed by this pandemic, the the vulnerabilities of our economic system and the vulnerabilities of our health system like human beings have. There's too many of us that are just not well, we're not we don't take care of ourselves.
So when something like this happens, you don't just get sick. You get you know, you could you could die from it. Whereas the vast majority of people that get it, you know, they're not going to die from it. But there's enough that it's a significant number.
It's scary stuff. Yeah, who could have predicted that this was ever going to happen? Not me. So what's it like in Toronto these days? It hasn't been bad, we're almost back to normal, so that's very exciting. Yeah, for me, I've been writing this book for the last year, so my life hasn't actually changed that much, which probably sounds really crazy. But when you're writing a book, you're literally inside working all the time.
Yeah. So explain to people what the book is. So the book is called The End of Gender.
And before I go any further, I'm going to explain the title because some people, I think, misinterpret what I when I announced it on social media, some people are getting upset because I think they thought I was taking a very, very far left progressive view. And I consider myself to be a liberal, definitely not far left. But, you know, I have liberal values. I'm pro science. And so the end of gender, I think people thought that I meant I was saying that gender is basically whatever you wanted to be.
It's based solely on self identification. You know, there's no tethering to biology. And that is not what I'm saying with the book at all. And I think if anyone's ever read my columns or seen my appearances or they listen to the talk that I had with you last time I was on your show, that's definitely not what I'm saying. I'm saying the complete opposite, that the fact that science denial and misinformation about gender is so prominent now is actually affecting is really poorly affecting our ability to understand gender, and that's leading to the demise of our understanding of it in an accurate way.
If you don't mind, just just to start things off, will you please give your credentials and tell people what you do? Yeah.
So I have a PhD in sexual neuroscience research. I made the transition from academic being a spy, an academic sex researcher to being a journalist. So now I write about the science of sex and gender. I read about the politicization of science and academic censorship. And so now I have this book out and I can talk a bit about how I got here, if that would be helpful.
Sure, sure. Yeah, yeah. So when I was doing my PhD, I very much I loved being a sex researcher. I really thought I was going to stay in academia. And in the last few years I noticed that there had been a change in the climate in terms of what people could study, what people could talk about as scientific experts. And one area in particular was about gender transition in children. So every single mainstream news piece was saying that for these children who say they're born in the wrong body, the best approach for them would be early transitioning.
So that means to take on a name, a new name identifies the opposite sex, usually get a haircut suggesting like the opposite sex. But from a scientific perspective, all of the research actually shows that most of these kids, the vast majority of them, are more likely to grow up to be gay in adulthood. They're not going to be transgender.
And at that time, there's literally maybe one or two news articles that called into question this narrative of early transitioning. So I wrote an op ed about this, citing the scientific research, and I asked my colleagues and mentors in academia, you know, what do you think? I knew that there was going to be some backlash to it. And one of my mentors said to me, because I said, should I wait until I have tenure to put something like this out?
And he said, nowadays, tenure is not going to protect you. So that sealed my decision. I published the piece and then from there I made the transition to journalism and I haven't looked back.
It's a very strange time when it comes to talking about certain subjects, because it doesn't matter what the science is. There's a there are specific narratives that you have to adhere to in today's climate. You know, I, like you, am also left. But when you when it comes to saying, like, far left, like far left is a different thing now than it used to be. Far left used to be. I mean, ten, just 10, 15 years ago, it was a different animal.
And I knew a lot of people that are far left now, far left. I associate with lunacy. It's like I look at it the same way I look at far right. I look at far right extremists and far left extremists. But something happened where far left ideology has permeated our culture when it comes to gender. And I don't understand it. I don't if you don't adhere to this ideology, people want to say that you are you have no compassion, you're evil, you're bigoted.
I had Abigail Shearer on the podcast recently, and she has a lot. Abigail, she's great and she's very brave. And I saw what happens when you go against this narrative by having her on Men's Health wrote a piece about me saying I'm fanning the flames of hate because she was talking about a 4000 percent increase, 4000 percent increase in teenage girls identifying as trans and rapid onset gender dysphoria, which is real. I mean, this is this is a real scientific coming on at times.
Many times what you would see in the general population in terms of people identifying as transgender is amazing.
What she was talking about this in this very specific way, talking about awkward teenage girls and about how these girls have, you know, really odd situations in terms of the way they deal with people socially. And then all of a sudden they're praised for deciding that they're trans and then they get these clusters of friends. That also decided their Tranz, which is very strange, it's just a very strange phenomena, but you're not even allowed to talk about it.
So if men's health, which is it's a fucking men's magazine, is going to write articles calling you a hateful person because you're discussing it, there was no hate in that podcast at all. It was just discussing it like, what is causing this? Why is this and what what can be done and why are we so quick to just I mean, we we can assume that people are troubled in all sorts of different ways, but we can assume they're ever troubled when it comes to gender.
It's it's very bizarre. I think what you were saying with why it's gone so far left, I do think a lot of this is coming from empathy, which is a good thing. And I have to say, you know, I with regard to the issue of transitioning children, I do support tradition in adults. I think it can help adults who are transgender. I think if you were an adult, you it's your decision is your body. It's no one's place to tell you what to do.
But I think a lot of this is coming from. So I grew up in the gay community and I remember seeing how homophobic people could be toward my friends. And I think things have changed. Things have gotten better in some ways. I think homophobia still exists. And we can talk about that because I do talk about how that affects a lot of what we're seeing in the book. But I think for a lot of people, they look at that and they say, OK, we were wrong about that.
We were wrong to treat gay people differently. We were wrong to say that being gay is something you can change. So now they've gone completely in the opposite direction saying, OK, no matter what anyone says with regard to their identity, with regard to their gender, this is something that we should not challenge. We should fully support. And if you question it in any way, even in the most nuanced or sensitive way, as I try to and I was I think you do.
That's still not acceptable.
Yeah, that's what's strange. It's it's an ideology. It's rigid. It's like a religion. It is it is I think I find people who are, you know, middle of the road, they're not sure what to think. If they read my work or they talk to me, they say, oh, wow, I had never I never realized that I didn't know the sign said that. And they changed their perspective. But I think for some people, if they are very much invested in the identity or very, very invested in activism or for whatever reason, this ideology means something to them.
It's you cannot you just cannot reason with them. It doesn't matter what the science says, they will find something to pick at and especially with desistance, which is that that the research I was mentioning there shows that most kids will not feel gender dysphoria anymore when they reach puberty. They they just people some people cannot accept it. And they will call you transphobia. They'll call you bigoted. And, you know, I don't think I'm any of those things.
I'm really just trying to help prevent these children from making potentially a very bad decision that they're going to regret. And especially now we're seeing in the UK that this is happening where more transitions are saying this was something I regret. This was a mistake. Why did the adults not challenge me? I really think so. Right now, we're in August. Twenty twenty. I think within the next five years or maybe a little bit longer, we're going to be seeing an explosion of children coming out and saying, I did not want to transition.
This was a mistake and it's really going to be awful.
Well, we're already seeing that there's a lawsuit that was very prominent in the UK recently about a young girl who transitioned. You know, the lawsuit I'm talking about. I do. Yeah. Terrible. Yeah. I mean, it's heartbreaking because they she's essentially ruined her body to the point where she's not going to be able to have children. She's still, you know, she in many cases, a lot of these girls can't have orgasms ever again. No, exactly.
But I think in North America, we are still very much in denial about this. If I mean, whenever I am on a show, if I'm on TV and I talk about this, the backlash after is just crazy. And I'm thinking people need to wake up. I'm trying to stop this from happening. Right. The whole point of writing this book and seeing these things is trying to prevent what's about to happen.
Yeah, the backlash is it's it's very strange because a lot of the backlash is from trans folks. And it seems that they equate any criticism or any any examination of even children, even small children transitioning to transphobia you must hate. And I get there. There has to be some trans people that as children knew that they were women or they were the opposite sex, that they were in the wrong body.
There has to be the question. I don't disagree with that. I think we both don't.
The question is how many and how do they make that decision and how many of us are actually being influenced by other factors? External children are very malleable, and that's part of the problem with making lifelong decisions. As a six year old, if you're a six year old male and you decide that you're a female and you go through the transition and then then you realize you're a gay man later in life, there's no recourse. There's nothing you can do to rectify that.
That's what's terrifying about this and that. You're not allowed to talk about it. You're not you're not allowed to say that even.
And when I do point that out, people say that I'm using the gay community to try and as a shield or something like that. But the medical professionals need to be the ones to do their job because it is their job. They should be doing proper assessments with these children and adults to to determine, you know, what is the best way forward for you. And that's the only way they can really determine on a case by case basis whether transitioning is going to help somebody.
But they can't do their jobs right now. Everyone I know that is ethical in the field has left or they stop working with these patients because they don't feel they can do their job properly. So what you have instead is, is the people who are currently operating are activists and they will really facilitate whatever patient wants them to do, whether or not that may or may not be the right thing for them. Yeah.
How did we get to this point now? How did we get to this point? First of all, in academia, you come from academia. How do we get to this point where some subjects cannot be discussed where like you were talking to that other professor and they were saying even if you get tenure, this is not going to protect you?
Like what what happened within sex research in particular? I feel like sex research was the canary in the coal mine because we saw this coming decades ago in that one. Professor Michael Bailey at Northwestern University. There's been a long history that's ugly between sex researchers and transgender activists. And Michael Bailey wrote a book, I think it was 2003, that really enraged some activists. And I have to say trans activists don't speak for all transgender people. I have many trans people who have reached out to me over the years telling me that they actually agree with me.
But I feel activists tend to be the most vocal. They tend to be the most aggressive. And so after researchers saw what happened to Mike, I mean, in the book, I talk about the things that they did to him. Some of them were very unethical and really they really tried to ruin him professionally and. And his personal reputation as well. And so after that, people said, well, you know, I'm not touching the subject because it's just not worth it.
And so anyone who has tried to counter Transactive since then also faced really serious repercussions. So I think that's been part of it. And I think also lot more broadly with this ideology that students are being taught this and they graduate, they go out into the real world, they get jobs. And a lot of people, even five years ago, I would say, dismissed a lot of this ideology, especially around gender. They would say that's only in academia.
That is not something that's actually going to affect me in my real life. But here it is now. It affects everybody. There's no way that this is not affecting you. I think it's just a question of how much do you pay attention to it. You know, people send me messages. They tell me about when they have training at work. They tell me about their kids education. They get the book. I don't just talk about transitioning children.
I talk about the idea that gender is not a social construct. It is not a spectrum. I talk about how there is a relation between gender identity and sexual orientation, which you're also supposed to not say. Apparently I talk about sex differences, you know, and these are all things that are considered taboo. And I don't understand what I don't understand why we can't just have a fact based conversation. We're not saying that this information justifies discrimination against people.
In fact, I'm always very clear to say that it doesn't matter.
Well, I think this is one of the reasons why you're so important, because you're obviously a very intelligent, kind person and you're not a hateful person and you're not in any way discriminating. You're looking at this as a scientist and you're looking at this as a person who is very frustrated by the fact that you can't discuss science, particularly when it comes to really critical aspects of people's lives, which is sex and gender. I would love to talk to you about what you just said, though, when you said that there's not a spectrum when it comes to gender.
That's a common narrative. So what do you what do you mean by that? Like, there's not a spectrum.
So there are two genders. And so gender for 99 percent of us are biological. Sex is our gender. Biological sex is determined by gametes, which are either eggs or sperm. So there are no intermediate gametes. So gender is either male or female. So this, I do not think, invalidates the existence of intersex people or transgender people. I think we can advocate for equal rights for those communities. We don't have to reconceptualize what gender or sex are.
And and also for intersex people in particular, most of them want to live within the binary. They want to live as either male or female. They don't want they don't want gender or sex to be collapsed into a kaleidoscope or a galaxy or whatever else. I mean, this is what's been published in scientific papers. Now, they refer to gender as quite literally a galaxy.
So, I mean, it's ridiculous. That's pretty crazy. Not just the spectrum, but a galaxy.
Two hundred fifty billion types that would it's like like all the stars. That's crazy.
When you when you say there's there's just two genders, first of all, that's going to enrage people. Right. But second of all, you will you can see that there are very feminine men and very masculine women. And if if that is true, what what accounts for that? It goes back to the prenatal environment, so I definitely don't deny that there are gender atypical people. I as a woman, I look very feminine, but I'm actually very generally typical.
I've always felt more masculine. And even to this day, I feel much more masculine and feminine. But hold on. So you feel masculine.
Really? That's crazy. You don't you would never know. Oh, my God. You don't even seem remotely masculine. Like what? What determines that you are masculine. I would say, well, from a young age, I'd always been more like boys, I looked like a boy when I was younger. I was just my friends are always boys and guys. And I've always felt I've just always felt more like a man. Just like you feel like a man, right?
It's it's gender is one of those things in terms of how we describe it is so personal. And that's why I feel it's so important to focus on the evidence, because without that, what do you really have? So what it really what it comes down to is testosterone exposure in the womb.
Right. But how are you how are you like a man? If you see, well, how can I say this, it's hard for me to not go in digging into personal examples, right. But I would just say I've always been more like boys. If you look at our boys behave, our girls behave.
I've always been more like the boys, OK, like in like your interests and. You're in the behavior I'm into fighting, right? I am a martial artist when I was young, especially used to always get into fist fights with the boys and I would actually win.
But that's hilarious because you seem very feminine to me.
That's very odd because I always say that to me for sure. So this spectrum that does exist, even though there are two genders, in your opinion, a male gender and a female gender?
Well, it's not in my opinion is that in my opinion, it is OK, but that's OK scientifically. Right. There's two genders. But this is obviously a hot button subject, right? If you're just saying there's two genders will get you cancelled. Oh, I know. I know.
We can talk about the non binary movement because I'm actually very concerned in terms of what that movement is about. And I am all for this.
And I'll use whatever pronoun someone wants me to use. I'll be respectful my issues when people again say that this is backed by science, when it isn't and when we're also not talking about what it's actually about. So for a lot of people who are identifying as non binary, I think it's coming from a place of sexism in society or homophobia. So a lot of people who identify as non binary, especially among people who are born male, they normally come out as gay as a gay man and then decide to be non binary or for people who are born female, many of them don't.
They feel a lot of discomfort around their bodies, the changes they experience in a woman they don't like, the attention that they're getting. They don't want to be sexualized for some of them. They they have exposure to pornography at a young age. And they they think that that is actually what sex is going to be like. And they think, I don't want that. So how do I avoid that? Well, if I be if I become something other than a woman, I will not have to experience this.
And no one is saying to them, you know, no one pornography. I'm definitely not anti porn. You know, I used to write for a very prominent men's magazine, so I have no issue with that. I just think we have to be able to have the conversation saying, you know, if you feel different, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be a woman or with regards to pornography, it's entertainment. So that's not what sex is going to be like when you get there.
Right. Let's let's start with the non binary aspect. Do you think that I mean, I know people that claim to be non binary, and I'm trying to say this in a nice way. I think some of them it's a it's a cool thing to say. You are there's a thing today where if you can say you're non binary, like, oh, it's part of being woak, you know, it's part of I mean, not not saying that there aren't people who don't feel like they don't fit into either male nor female then or maybe they feel asexual or maybe they just don't they just don't feel like whatever the models that exist in society apply to them, they just they don't feel like they they connect with those models.
But the term non binary, how recent is that? Like, how long has that been around? It's been around for decades, but I would say in terms of the popularity, one study showed that among millennials, about 10 percent identify as a third gender. So this includes, you know, non binary, gender neutral gender.
So it's really kind of resetting, right. Sorry, I'm sorry, it's weird, it's hard to do Skype, right? It's kind of a woak thing. Hmm.
I think it's a way for some people to signal their politics. And I get it. I get that feeling of you don't quite feel like maybe you're as if you're born female, that you're really feminine or girly. But I think the only way to fight back against those stereotypes is to say I'm still a woman. Right. I don't need to be super girly to be a woman. And similarly, if you're a man, if you're a feminine man, you can still be a man and be a feminine man.
There's nothing wrong with that.
Right. But that's where people feel like we should be describing it as a spectrum. That's that's where they feel like if you look at, you know, Jason Momoa versus Andy Dick, OK, like, obviously these are two very different kinds of men. And that's where people would apply the concept of a spectrum. Right, but why can we not just say they're both men, I don't understand why, just because someone is slightly different, that they suddenly need to be categorized as a reconceptualize what it means to be a man just because there are different types of men.
Yeah, I don't feel like that's very outdated. Hmm.
That's it's interesting because I don't know why they do that. I just think that for some people, it gives them comfort to think that they are not exactly the same as other men who are different than them in radical ways, like more masculine or more more feminine. And they're more comfortable with this concept of a spectrum. There's clearly a physical spectrum, right? There's there's a spectrum in terms of body types and ectomorph and then morphs and mesomorph morphs in the spectrum in terms of height and size and weight and all these different things.
I think a lot of people would like there to be a spectrum in terms of gender. The sense I get from from people who identify this way is that there's some sort of discomfort in their birth sex, and I would I think, you know, if we could talk about this openly and that's what they still decided. My issue also with this movement is for some people, they go on and they will get surgery. So double mastectomies are very common among people who are born female, who identifies non binary.
And I'm concerned about that because some of these people are very young when they're designed to get these surgeries done. So if we could have this conversation and if you psychologists could do their job and determine is this really the best outcome for you, then that's again, their business. But we can't have this conversation at all. We're not talking about whether there might be other reasons why someone feels this way and that maybe just opening your mind to other possibilities would actually be helpful.
I hear what you're saying. I think we can have this conversation, and I think that's why we're having it.
And I think you and I, you know, you're very brave to have me on. We are having this conversation, but I feel like most people in the general population would be horrified. Don't be scared.
I don't think it's most people in the general population. I think it's a small percentage of people that are very angry at these these conversations. And I think the reason why is because they believe that these conversations equal hate or these kind of conversations equal either homophobia or transphobia. I think the problem is the existence of that at all. If there was no homophobia, if it did not exist, it was no transphobia. If it didn't exist, if everyone like I know that you are not those things, you're not homophobic or transphobia, nor am I.
And I think if we all knew this is one of the reasons why you and I can have this conversation, we know there's there's no hate here. If there's no hate, you can talk about it for what it really is. But when you have this conversation, the problem with WOAK culture is that it's automatically assumed that because you question the narrative that you're doing so from a discriminatory, discriminatory point of view, you're discriminating. You're doing it from some sort of a prejudice.
You're doing it with a negative feeling about the subject.
And I don't think that's accurate. And I think most people recognize that it's not accurate. It's a small, very vocal minority of people that object. And this is where the problem lies, is that the people that you were referring to as the activists and it's not even all the activists, it's just the really angry ones are so vocal about it and they go so far their way to attack that it's not a subject that you could even breach. And I mean, because I just had this podcast the other day, it was only a couple of weeks ago with Abigail, and now I'm having it with you like, oh, my God, it's going to compound it's going to be crazy.
But listen, you and I, it's you and I had scheduled this quite a while ago.
The Abigael thing came up fairly last minute because she had been on Bridgitte Fetus's podcast and no one else wanted to have her on. And she has this book about a subject that's very and as a person who has daughters, this is to me is a very important subject. I also have friends who have daughters and their daughter's friends are doing this. They're going through this whole transition. And they my friend who has this daughter, he's like, I don't think your friends are trans.
I think they are they're caught up in this whole movement. And when there's four or five of them that are deciding that they're trans like this is it doesn't seem it doesn't seem like the numbers match up. It seems like there could be some other influences here. This could be something that seems like a cool thing to do. They're all getting praised at school. This is a real psychological and cultural phenomenon. This is not a hateful thing to discuss.
And this is why I'm pushing back against it. And this is why I think it's so important that people like you, who are academics, like people say, well, hey, you want to talk about trans? Why don't you have an expert on that's what you are. You actually are an expert. Yeah, and the crazy thing is even our experts are really scared to talk about this because of what will happen to them if they do, because I'm not in academia.
I'm very fortunate. I'm so, so grateful to the editors who will work with me, people who have me on their show. Like you, I am free to say what I think. But whereas if you are tied to any sort of academic institution, medical organization, even scientific organizations, you cannot say these things even though they are backed fully by the science. And the thing is, this should not be a partisan issue. So, you know, in terms of of your saying that no one was having ABIGAEL, and I'm actually amazed that liberal journalists and liberal outlets, they very, very few of them will touch this subject.
And it really doesn't matter what your politics are. At the end of the day, it's about what is right for these kids or what's right for anybody who's identifying this way. It's not about being left or right.
Well, I think I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think the issue is most people that have the kind of reach that maybe my podcast has are part of a large organization. And when you're a part of a large organization, there's just so much politics involved. There's there's so much there's so many different influences and there's so many different people that have opinions about this that are based on the current narrative and that, you know, you cannot you cannot disagree.
You can't you must you know, you must follow the ideology. And if you don't, you must be hateful. You must be a bigot. There must be something wrong with you. And that's where that's where I'm really very thankful that there's people like you that push back on this that are brave enough to do that. Even with rapid onset gender dysphoria, so I mean, this is documented in research, right? And and even still, that's that's considered a quote unquote myth.
That's the way people say, like I write about this in the book, people are saying that people who decide to do transition, they were not really trans or they didn't really have gender dysphoria or, you know, they just dismiss them. And I'm thinking this movement especially is so much into how you feel and you're live, quote unquote, lived experience and being validated for who you are. So how can you say that to a group of people who say, this is what I experienced?
You know, they're completely and the way they're being also ignored by the medical and medical professionals and told that essentially if they change their mind, well, that's your problem. You deal with it now.
And the transition, as I talked to, it's I'm really, really aghast at what is happening because they really have nowhere to turn.
It's also the options if you want to transition in terms of what's available today in twenty twenty there I'm trans is generally they're very surgically crude like you have to there has to be cutting involved. There has to be anesthesia. There's a lot going on. I can't wait for the day where whether it's through CRISPR or some other form of genetic manipulation, you really can become a woman or you really become a biological man or a biological woman where we can we have a grasp of the biology to the point where science can actually alter the person's chromosomes, alter who they are.
I mean, that's going to be fantastic because I think that's going to eliminate so much and so many problems. But I mean, you know, what are we hundreds of years away from that? I mean, I don't know. But for now, my fear is what you have said previously, and you said earlier on this podcast that you're going to see a wave of lawsuits. Yeah, and it's going to be really, really sad, and I think these children will be saying, why did my parents allow me to do this?
Why did medical professionals not question me, not stop and think about this? I mean, children say all kinds of things. And it's really scary to me that adults are taking the things that they say at face value.
Yeah, when Abigail told me that in some places you can self diagnose as being trans as young as 15 and you can go to.
Yeah, you can get because medical consent, it depends on the age of medical consent. So in some places, like I believe Orgun, it's like 15. Yeah. So you can go without without parental consent. And the still uses these interventions are started even younger if the parents, the parents will sign off on it. I've heard of girls, people born female, as young as age 12, getting double mastectomies.
Um, the thing that drove me crazy is the fact that you don't even have to have any counseling, anything you self diagnose and they'll give you testosterone. I mean, that seems that seems insane. That seems like there's some sort of an agenda.
I mean, whether it's just woke ideology or whatever it is that would allow a doctor to think that's a good idea. I just I don't understand that. What what kind of a lack of understanding of young people? I mean, you're not even fully formed. Your frontal lobe isn't even fully formed, and you're making these radical decisions at 15 years of age with testosterone, too. So I want to I spoke with Buck Angell. I interviewed him for the book.
He was amazing. And he actually has a website. I want to make sure I get it right. Actually, I should have. I think it's FTM Health Dotcom. He has information because he was saying to me how transgender care and health really needs to be improved and a lot of medical professionals will prescribe testosterone and they do not fully understand one of the side effects is uterine cramping and atrophy. So for these individuals, when they start taking it, they start, they'll be cramping, they'll be in a lot of pain, they'll be bleeding and they don't know why.
And it's due to the low estrogen.
Well, I've had Buckeridge on the podcast before. I love that dude. And that's a perfect example of, you know, that's a trans man who is like, clearly that's way better for him than to be a female. I mean, he's happy. It's like when you're around him, like, oh, that makes sense. Like you're a man. And, you know, we even had a conversation on the podcast. Would you he asked me, would you refer to me as a man?
I'm like, yeah, of course. I would like your A man. I guess you're not born a man biologically. Doesn't mean I don't think you're a man. I mean, covered in tattoos is jacked. Looks like a dude. Seems like a dude. Talks like a dude. I mean I'm super comfortable with that if I'm not a bigot. But I am confused. I'm confused by this narrative and the fact that everyone is being really bullied into adhering to it.
It's and it's I don't understand the motivation for a lack of nuance and discussion. That's what drives me crazy. And for some reason, people think that if you are not personally trans, this should not be a subject that you cover. And I'm like, listen, I'm a parent. I see what this is like. Children are they're so easily influenced and by so many different factors. The and whether it's culturally or socially or locally, whatever environment they're in, you you can't tell me that there's not nothing is happening to these kids that is is changing and affecting the way they perceive things, which is fine for the most part.
But when it comes to radical life altering decisions like changing your gender at 12 years old, like, fuck, are you sure? Are you sure this is the right move? And why can't I talk about this? Like, why is this so goddamn taboo? And the reason why it's so taboo is because they want to bully you into not talking about it, because when you do talk about it, it's exposed that it's not rock solid, that it is strange and that there is a problem.
There are really trans people.
There's no one's in denial of that. You're not in denial. I'm not in denial. I'm 100 percent comfortable with I want adults to be able to do whatever they want. But we're not talking about adults. You're talking about babies. You're talking about children. And that's when things get very, very strange to me. I just don't understand how many people adhering to this. And I think they're doing it out of cowardice. I think they're doing it out of fear of repercussions of these discussions.
Even if you are clear in your intentions and you're not hateful and you have no there's no bigotry in your heart, it doesn't matter. They don't want you talking about it because they have a very specific narrative and they don't want anyone to stray from that. And if you do stray from that, they'll attack you. And I get it, you know, I get some of the concerns in that, yes, this information could potentially be used to hold trans people back.
Some people could take this information and say, OK, well, this means that no one should be allowed to transition ever. But I think, you know, we have to be we have to be realistic about it. And if you hide this information, what it does then for people who are not in favor of trans rights are going to find it and say, see, this is why this is why they hide this information, because it feeds into whatever negative ideas they have about the community.
I'm totally open. I'll put it out there. I'm totally happy to talk to anyone from the community who would like to speak with me. I would love to build bridges and build understanding. I just feel like there is a lot of animosity and a lot of mistrust. And I understand where that's coming from, you know, but at the same time, I don't know how else to solve this issue. Scientists also can't even do this research now because people get upset and say, if you are not from this community, you should not be doing this research.
And the whole purpose of the scientific method is to parse out any confounding factors. So it really should not matter what your identity is. If you're doing a study properly and rigorously, the findings that you find are as close of an approximation of the truth as you can get. So it doesn't matter if you're part of the group you're studying or not. I understand again, fears, but I think some of the concern is that scientists have an agenda and they're doing this research as a way to invalidate trans people or, you know, something like that.
But I think you have to have faith that that's not especially in this climate. There's no way someone can get away with doing anything like that now. And in fact, legitimate studies are being pulled now just because they do not fit the narrative that activists want.
Yeah, it's a very strange time. And I don't know where we go from here. I mean, I don't I never thought we would be here to in a place where there were these taboo subjects that are critical to the development and the growth of human beings. And you can discuss them. I mean, and how do we get past this? I don't see a path out. I don't see a map of the territory that makes sense to me.
I think what's going to happen, unfortunately, is that more of these children will be transitioning and changing their minds to the point where society is not going to be able to ignore it. That's what I see coming.
So let's talk numbers. So what I was saying that Abigail had said was that there's some astounding number of of kids that have experienced rapid onset gender dysphoria within the last 10 years. What did you what exactly are the numbers again?
So with within one study in particular of the of the individuals who were surveyed, the children, 40 percent of them had a friend group that had at least half of them identifying as transgender. And so this worked out to be 70 times what you would see in the general population. And I don't know how you can look at that and not think something is is going on here. There's something else going on here. It's a can't just be social acceptance, because if it were, why is it we don't see this also happening in boys?
Why do we not see this happening across different ages? It's very specific to adolescent girls and young women.
Now you're a woman and you're a woman who in many ways you say you identify as being more masculine. What what do you think it is about growing up as a woman? And maybe you could speak to this because you did grow up and felt more masculine. What do you think it is that makes women more vulnerable to this? I think so, I have been critical of feminist orthodoxy and, you know, I'll call things as I see it, but I do think on some level, sexism does still exist in society.
I don't think it's so terrible that women can't pursue what they want to achieve in life. But I think for young women, especially when they encounter situations like this or they experience certain things they don't like because they are female, if they have the option of opting out of that. Why wouldn't you? You know, I feel like I almost can't blame them because, you know, there are certain things that women have to deal with and men don't have to deal with and vice versa.
I think there are certain things that boys and men have to deal with growing up that women don't have to deal with. But I think it's because this is so socially acceptable now. And they're also, like you said, they're praised when they decide that they are that they want to come out as a man or they want to identify as a third gender, but they don't want to be female. And I'm actually appalled because I think especially in this time, where we are very much in favor of female rights and gender equality, why are we not saying, again, it's OK to be a woman and it's OK to feel this way and let's support you in that instead of abandoning ship?
Do you think this is a phase that culture is going through? With this particular population or you think with the leap in rapid onset gender dysphoria, do you think that in many ways it might actually be connected to transphobia in that because there is transphobia, people are actively trying to combat it? So they're praising people who are trans, which might encourage people who are socially awkward to think they are because they get encouraged for that that they get. And then maybe when we reach a point where there no longer is this problem in our culture and trans people are accepted just like people with blue eyes and brown eyes and whatever, no one cares anymore.
Is that what it's going to take for for things to balance out, for us to actually find out? And is there a spectrum when it comes to trans people? Are there people that are mildly trans, just like there's people that are, you know, mildly masculine or people that are like very, very feminine, but also a man? OK, well, let me start with the first part of your question was why do people go along with this?
I think the part of it might be because it's more socially acceptable. Right. And people don't want to rock the boat. I think other people, they mean well and they think that this is this is going to help the community and to tell people who counter this narrative that they're hateful or whatever, that this is going to somehow bring about positive change. That's I forget I missed the second part of your question. I forgot it already.
But but then that if that being trans is a spectrum, I don't know, because I'm not trans. So I don't want to speak for trans people. But I think there are some people who for whom transitioning is the right choice. And I think for some people, maybe they will be able to grow comfortable. Right. And we can't talk about that. That's seen as trans phobic. And also this whole conversation about conversion therapy when there is no such thing as conversion therapy for gender identity, there's conversion therapy for sexual orientation, which I don't support because it's unethical and doesn't work.
But if a clinician sits down with a child who says that they want to be the opposite sex or their gender dysphoria, and they ask them what else is going on in your life to better understand that that's called conversion therapy now and now that's being banned. I think that's been banned in something like 20 states. So now clinicians, again, can't do their job. That's a critical part of figuring out who's going to benefit from transitioning.
So. Conversion therapy, when we think about it, we usually think about it in terms of gay people or like pray the gay away, that kind of shit, right? It doesn't work, of course. Yeah, well, it's usually run by gay guys, too.
It's usually religion involved. Right.
But conversion therapy in terms of of children. Like what? What does that entail? You mean in terms of when you were saying children with gender dysphoria? Yes, well, OK, so they activists and now this is being written into law. It's called conversion therapy because it sounds scary. It's not it's not the same thing as conversion therapy for sexual orientation because, again, sexual orientation is biological. So it can't be changed. But for gender, for young children especially, who say they feel like they're the opposite sex, gender is is that can change over time, as we see in the research, that they will outgrow those feelings.
So it's not appropriate to call that conversion therapy because that's that's a natural process that would have happened on his own. So for a clinician to sit down and just try to understand that it should not be seen as somehow harmful.
Right. But it is seen as harmful. It's seen as abusive.
So if some sort of a psychologist sits down with a child and asks them what's going on in your life, what how do you feel that's considered conversion therapy? So where are they supposed to just on this subject, only automatically go along with everything that the child says, whereas you wouldn't do it with any other issue that the child had that required therapy? No, exactly, but that is what's happening. There's no differential diagnosis because someone might present with, say, gender dysphoria, but there's a whole bunch of reasons why they might feel that way.
Know, last time I spoke to you, we talk about how autism can play a big role in that. Sometimes people with autism and I do think people with autism deserve love and respect, but sometimes one of the symptoms is, is fixating and having particular interests. And so for these children especially, they might go through phases of being really into a certain toy or really into something else or another hobby. And then gender might also be one of these things.
And my my colleagues or clinicians have noticed that for some of these kids, they fixate on gender for a bit and then they move on to something else.
What was your motivation for writing this book? Like what? What got you to actually sit down in front of the computer and start banging on the keys? All the questions that people have been asking me over the years about these subjects and the fact that I see so much misinformation being ingrained in our society, it's not even being questioned now. So say something like gender is a social construct. In twenty seventeen, James to Moore wrote his Google memo, his infamous Google memo.
I wrote a column for the Globe and Mail defending it. And since then it's just been it's just gotten worse. I see that reported everywhere. Gender is a social construct and then there's no there's no quantitative quantitative evidence, there's no citations, nothing to back it up. People will just say that and then they'll go on to whatever else they were saying. And this will be in in scientific papers. Sometimes this will be in journalism. And I'm thinking that's not factually accurate.
So for me, it's this feeling that I get. I think for some people who deny the science, particularly around gender, it's coming from possibly good intentions that they think this is what what we need to do to help move society forward. But I see there being a lot of negative repercussions as a result of that, because when you try to hide the truth, you try to suppress reality. It doesn't go away.
And I think we can both agree that a lot of this narrative comes from this desire to avoid the criticism, desire to avoid the angry mob.
Yeah, I think so. So when you say who wants to deal with that, yes, who wants to deal with that? No, no one does. So when you say gender is a social construct, people go, thank you. And then they're like, good. You have you've complied. You've complied with the narrative. And that's what it is. Instead of going. Well, what do you mean by that? What I mean by that?
What are you, a bigot? And then all of a sudden it's chaos and then people are angry gender as a social construct, as a weird thing to say, you know, and I've had weird conversations with people about it where they deny the difference between male and female. And I'm like, OK, well, if you buy a puppy and it's a boy puppy or a girl puppy and you wanted a boy puppy, but it's a girl puppy, do you complain like what happens there?
Do you say genders, social construct? No, man, that that's a girl puppy, bro. I mean, it is what it is, but it's not with human beings, with human beings. We've decided that we are so complex. We're so weird that all the rules of standard biology that apply to all the other species on planet Earth do not apply to us. Yeah, and what's also frustrating is that people will then say, oh, the newest science shows that this is true and I'm thinking, what?
What science are you talking about? Right. But people will usually at that point say, OK, well, I guess the new science shows us. So what can you say? So in the book, that's the thing. I provide citations to all the science so you can read it and make up your own mind. And if people are telling you something to the contrary, you can say, well, go look at the science.
Yeah, that is a lovely one that people love to say the newest science. Like what? You can't just say that like but you can with a lot of people you can. And they go, oh, I didn't know, I didn't know about that. No science like science is just data science is repeating things and proving that they're repeatable, like showing patterns, showing information. But you can't see the newest science without citing it. No, and, you know, one of my close friends is Josh Barnett, and through the process of writing this book, I would say to him, I feel like I'm standing outside and pointing at the sky and saying the sky is blue and people are getting mad at me for saying that the sky is blue.
That's that's what it feels like. And that's what it's going to be like. I think when when people start reading this book and I ask anyone who does the things I say are misconstrued all the time, people either, I think are misrepresenting what I say. There's certain things that people say. I say that I would never say. And I just ask that you're honest. I actually read the book before making a decision about where I stand on these issues, because I think a lot of the time people, especially activists or people who are really invested in this, the way things are going in our culture, they will go to any lengths to push that agenda.
And I'm thinking, if you really care about these populations that you claim to care about, why would you not actually be going after the people who are actually hateful, who are actually saying the things that you claim? I say and I think what a lot of it is, is about clout. It's not actually about making positive change.
Yeah, anybody who thinks gender is a social construct needs to meet Josh Barnett. That's a man.
OK, just not he identifies as one right now. He definitely does. Yeah.
I mean, I think we're we're living in a very confusing time. And I think what all the the reasons that we discussed earlier in terms of the blowback that people get and in terms of when you're compliant, the support that you get is all influencing the way people behave. And this willingness to go along with that narrative because you're terrified of being criticized, you're terrified of being attacked. That's where we find ourselves. And this is not the left that I know.
This is what's so strange. I mean, I guess I'm old. I mean, I'm 52. When I was young, the left was tolerant, open minded and absolutely committed to freedom of speech. That doesn't seem to be where we're at now. We've gotten into some really radical place where the left is now. They've almost weaponized a lot of left wing ideological values to combat right wing values. It's like it's like they've gotten more loony to deal with loony people on the right and don't even realize they've become their own enemy.
They've become something that the left was never the left was always in. You know, when I was a young person was always the most tolerant of the groups. And it just doesn't seem to be the case now. It seems to be that they're only tolerant if you follow the ideology that they follow. And if you if you don't, there's no discussion about it. You're a hateful person and there's this immediate hot take. You hate you do this.
There's it's bigotry. It's it's there's no room for discussion information, no room for actual science. No no room for understanding the nuance of psychology and of human beings. Yeah, and I don't think it's helpful because, yeah, I think the far right is this is a concern, but the response to that or the solution to that is not to go the double down and go completely in the opposite direction where you're just as insane, because I think most liberals, most liberals don't feel like the far left really encompasses anything that they stand for and it's, in fact, alienating them from these from these issues.
Yeah, that's I would agree with that entirely. There's there's so many of us that are on the left that are so confused that they feel like we're people without countries like this is not, you know what I mean?
It's like, well, who am I now? Because I'm not I'm not these people that want to defund the police and light the federal buildings on fire. So what am I you know, that's you have to be you have to be that to be left. Have you had any conversations with people, trans activists or any people that opposed you or angry at you where you were able to sway them? I had one conversation I wrote in the book, actually, there was one one activist who was willing to sit down with me and I interviewed her and I was really grateful for that.
She was lovely. She was very civil with me. We disagreed about basically everything. But I found it was a helpful conversation because I do think about I think about the feedback. You know, I try to follow what people angrily tweet I.B. and comment on my work and things like that, because I do think it's important to be open to other perspectives. I don't know that I am able to change anyone's mind, but that's OK. You know, I think the evidence speaks for itself.
And I think if people want to listen to that, that's their business. And if not, that's fine, too. But I do find it, like I said, people who are who aren't sure they haven't made their mind up yet seem to be a little bit more. They appreciate the information, you know, whether or not they agree with me or not. I think they're just grateful to that. OK, there's there's someone out there who is offering some information that's not being covered for whatever reason.
Now, when you sat down with this trans activist or this person and she disagreed with you on all these things, what were they specifically that she disagreed on? Well, with the pediatric transition, that's one big point, also, things like the discussion of trans women and whether trans women should be considered women, full stop. And I do consider trans women to be women, but I also think there are some differences, and I don't think it should be considered hateful to point them out.
I will again use the pronoun someone wants me to use and there's no issue there. But in some of some context, know it's very important that we are able to talk about this because like with fighting, you know, there are serious implications. If someone who is a trans woman fights someone who is born female or something like prisons. You know, I used to work with sex offenders both clinically and in a research capacity. And, you know, sex offenders cannot be taken at face value if they say they identify as female and they get put into a female prison.
I mean, how does how does anyone who works in forensics think that's a good idea? If you spent any time with sex offenders, you know that you cannot base any decision on what they tell you.
Yeah, that's a very extreme example. What was her response to that? Well, basically, that, you know, that's not reflective of everyone, and I get that it's true. Yeah, it's true. But and I think there are there could potentially be cases where there are people, sex offenders who have gender dysphoria. And so, yes, you know, their concerns should be taken into account. But I feel like we've gone so far in one direction.
Like you're saying, we can't even you can't even have this conversation or that certain topics are taken off the table without any discussion because of the fear that there's going to be some sort of backlash or people are going to think that you're a bad person for even considering it.
And what about you said that you guys disagreed about infants. Oh, with the children transitioning. Yeah, what was? One subject that it's really I just sometimes with activists, you really can't make any any progress and that it's just that we come to a standstill. And in the book, I do list a number of criticisms that activists and certain groups have pointed out with regard to why early in transitioning is better.
There was one study that last year that got a lot of attention saying with brain imaging, saying that the brains of these children are more like the opposite sex.
And so this supports the idea that they should transition at a young age. But the thing is, so for people who are trans, their brains do tend to be shifted in the direction of the sex they identify as when you use brain imaging techniques. But the thing is, for all of these studies, their sexual orientation is gay. So they in sexology, which is the scientific study of sex and gender, when we look at sexual orientation in the context of trans people, it's based on their birth sex.
So someone so say a trans woman, she was born male, identifies as female. So she's attracted to men that's considered gay because she was that person her partner would share birth sex. So for all these studies on trans people, they're conflated with sexual orientation because everyone in the study is also gay. So we don't have the brain differences we're seeing are due to them identifying as the opposite sex or due to them being gay. So with this study, with the children, they did not report the sexual orientation.
So we can't know because most kids who a lot of kids who are gender atypical. Right. And who are gender dysphoria. Again, there's a correlation there with being gay when they're older. So I don't know why that wasn't even pointed out, because I study got so much and so much coverage and anyone who knows anything about sex research knows that.
How do you account for the seemingly large number of men who transitioned to become women who become lesbians? That's a very good question, and I'm not sure if you read that part of the book. No, I did. OK, so it's very, very controversial.
And before I say anything about this, I want to I want to really make clear I do know this information to be used to hold back trans people. I don't want this to be used to support negative stereotypes about trans women in particular. But for some trans trans women, their desire to transition stems from sexual arousal and the idea that becoming a woman is actually sexually arousing. Really? So I yeah, so I chose to to write about this because I again, I have so many people who reach out to me saying that they experience this and they don't know what it is.
And it's called Autogen Ophelia, which translates that's a Greek word to say love of oneself as a woman. And it's a paraphilia, which is an unusual sexual preference and paraphilias, where my research expertise when I was in academia, so I really wrote I wrote about this and no one has really talked about this in the mainstream. And because I want people who feel this way to be able to understand themselves and to know there's a whole bunch of information out there for you.
If you Google, there's everything that comes out is that this is not a real phenomenon. You know, this is made up by hateful sex researchers to invalidate trans people. This is, quote unquote, outdated medical research. This is pseudo science. It's not everyone in the field knows it's real, including clinicians who work with patients with gender dysphoria, including people who work with adults with gender dysphoria. Just no one will see it because they're so terrified.
So when this is where it's confusing to me, because if you do transition, if you're a male and you transition to female, if you are aroused by the idea of being a female and you're aroused by women. So you want to become a lesbian essentially. But you if you transition surgically, you're going to remove your ability to have an orgasm. You're going to you're going to remove your ability to even be aroused as a male would be. Not not necessarily some people are able to maintain their sexual functioning after surgery, but not not everyone necessarily has bottom surgery.
Also, some people might just choose to have top surgery or may choose to undergo hormonal medications.
OK, OK, so we're talking about very different things, right?
So when when so there's would you agree there's a spectrum in regards to trans people. So there's trans people that are fully transitioned to look and appear. One hundred percent female, even naked. Versus someone who is trans, not denying that they're trans, but they still have a penis, a functioning penis. I think there are differences in terms of outcomes, in terms of what's beneficial for people. That's what I would say.
But I know of at least one. I know I know of two that became lesbians and did have bottom surgery. So if that was the thing that if that was what excited them, this idea of being a woman, like, sexually excited them once you transition and have bottom surgery. Am I right in saying that you can't have orgasms? No, there's some some are able to have some people are still able to have orgasms after. How are they doing that?
Well, because the tissue is inverted, so it's not like you can still maintain some of the the sensation, but they don't have testicles anymore, right? No, but they're still they still have the nerve endings, so they still have the feeling of ejaculation. Well, no, no. So but that's a male orgasm, right?
So the females can still feel pleasurable, though. It feels good, but they don't orgasm.
Because you cannot see that to a woman, you cannot say, oh, you orgasm felt good, right? Well, you did, you orgasmed, they'll get out of you, right? They would say, no, I didn't orgasm. Right.
I have I have not undergone the surgery, so I can't speak from experience. But I have heard people say that they are able to maintain orgasm after. Do you believe them? I do, I do, I think I don't know what that means, though, like there's isn't there a specific physiological action that happens when a female has an orgasm?
Right, with a female, usually it's clitoral, right? It can be it can be a I can't think of the word now in terms but yes, it can be. Is that replicable with males? Is that I mean, know if there's any science on this, I'm just going to say, is that scientifically proven? But is there any science on whether or not I mean, I don't know why I'm fixated on trans orgasms. I'm not really trying to get to the bottom of this.
Is there is is it been proven that it's possible to have an orgasm? Even when I would I would say that there's sorry to cut you off. I would say there's definitely a risk of losing it, of losing that sensation and losing sexual function. So that's also why I think it's important to be able to talk about this, because for people who experience these feelings, maybe, you know, transitioning may or may not be right for them. I do think some people that are going to feel, yes, transition can help them.
I don't think Autogen Ophelia is a reason to stop someone from transitioning. But if there's someone who can feel that way and not transition, as you're mentioning, they will maintain full sexual functioning. So that's something that that should be taken into account.
And again, I'm sorry, what define once again, Autogen, Ophelia, Autogen, Ophelia.
So it's Auto's and self. Ghena is woman and Ophelia is love. It's the work of Ray Blanchot, if anyone is curious to look it up, but what will be they'll be so much pushback when you do, though, just be aware that there are a lot of it is a lot of the information, mainstream information is going to say it doesn't exist. How difficult is it to do research on this subject today? Impossible. No, it's not it's not absolutely impossible, it's very, very, very difficult, and I can probably count on maybe a few fingers, the number of people I know who are doing it and are not ideological and or ethical as scientists and have no agenda and have no, they're not trying to push any particular findings.
They're just doing the research as a good scientist would like to see what they find. And these people that are doing this are are they primarily in the United States? Are they are there other countries that have different perspectives on this, whether they're more open to this kind of research and just just purely from a scientific standpoint, trying to get an understanding of what's actually happening? Most are in North America. It really just depends, I think, also on where you're able to get funding.
So that's one of the key issues, right. In terms of the research you do, if you can't get your study funded, then you can you can't do anything. So we're very lucky in Canada. I would say we have a really good. My colleagues have been able to get funding quite readily here, but it's more the political climate, I think, that is really turning people away from studying subjects that would be of interest. And that, I think are very important.
What do you attribute when you see a culture like Thailand, for instance, that has a large number of like ladyboys, what what do you think causes that? Is that an attitude difference? Is it a cultural difference? Is it a biological difference or is it just a myth that there are a larger percentage of transsexuals in certain places? If if there is a larger percentage of people, I mean, they're known for transition, right? I would think it could be culturally determined in some ways, too, because there are some cultures where being a feminine, someone who's born male, who is very feminine.
Maybe encouraged to transition because it's more acceptable to be a feminine woman, and I do think for if we go back to the children, I do think for some of the parents who are in support of allowing their child to transition, I think it is coming from homophobia because their sense is that if they have a very feminine son or very masculine daughter, I think more so for the feminine sons data. If they don't want a gay son, well, this child transitions to female, then she will appear to be a straight woman when she's attracted to men when she gets older.
That was I had a conversation with someone where they were praising Iran and they were saying Iran is less homophobic or excuse me, less trans phobic than the United States. And they were talking about how many people transition over there. And I was like, do you know why? That's because they literally can be thrown in jail if they're gay men. I mean, this is why they're one of the reasons why in some Middle Eastern countries they transition is because there's actually laws against homosexuality.
So for homosexual men, they're left with a couple options, the possibility of being thrown in jail or sexually transitioning. And so what did this person say when you brought that up, stammered, Hmm? There's nowhere to go with it. I mean, sometimes people like to say things because they have a thought in their head that they think, you know, they have really fleshed it out. And they're like, well, this is look at this.
Well, you know, some places in the Middle East are very open minded. And I'm like, that's not open minded. Like they're homophobic. They they they want these people to appear to be women. And it's just, you know, it's it's very unfortunate. I think there are trans people and I think there are homosexual people and they're different. And I think the only way we're going to find out who's who and what's what and let people make a real, honest, balanced choice is to have no bigotry.
And that includes bigotry of information that that includes. Keeping people from discussing and exploring subjects without hate. Which is what you're doing, and this is why it's so crazy that people are attacking you and they go after your work, because I think in many ways people that are on the fence about this stuff, it it throws them to the wrong side. It makes people possibly trans phobic. That might not be because they read them like these people are fucking crazy.
I'm not for them. Oh, no. Those trans people are all crazy. And they'll they'll start saying things like that because they'll see some of the reactions to your work that they know are inaccurate, that they know are radically biased. Yeah, I've had some trans people reach out to me saying that that the things that some of these activists stand for are not things that they would have ever asked for. And they say that they're actually quite mortified that these are the things that some people, not even trans activists, I think some allies, even some people who are not transgender, who decide to take it upon themselves to speak for the community because they think that's, I guess, the right thing to do.
And actual trans people are saying that don't you don't speak for us. We don't want these things that you are saying. It's about it's about power. I think it's about power and control. And it's not even about the people that they claim to be protecting.
Well, I think it's also about conformity. People there's a thing that people do when they are something, whether they're right wing Trump supporter, they want everybody to be a right wing Trump supporter and they want to argue that position. And I think they I think people do that with everything. I think they do with being a vegetarian or a vegan. I think they do it with being a yogi. I think they just love other people doing exactly what they're doing.
And I think, unfortunately, that is also the case when it comes to some trans activists. They want they want more trans people out there. Right, because and I can see that logic because by inflating the number of people who identify this way and so also with the trans umbrella, it's now widened to also include third genders or anyone who has even gender, not just simply gender nonconforming. So I think part of this is driven by the desire to inflate numbers so that they can, in their mind, justify acceptance.
But I don't see why we can't just say, yes, we should accept everyone.
We don't have to call people trans and we don't have to widen the definition of what it means to be trans. And even within the community, you have people who are trans, who have transitioned to a medically transition, who are saying people who identify as a third gender or who are mildly gender nonconforming. They're not the same as me. And it's not appropriate to say we were the same. And again, from my perspective, if someone is struggling with their feelings around gender, it's not helpful to lump them all as one because, again, they're coming from different root causes.
So if you can't talk about what the root causes, you're not going to help someone. Yeah, I would agree.
And I think that one of the things we might be encountering here is that the acceptance of this is fairly novel and the the new perception of trans people, this new new acceptance of it is we're working it out, you know, and I think in the process of working it out, you've got a lot of virtue signalling. You've got a lot of people that are conforming and they're not exactly sure what they're conforming to. And we're trying to figure out how, you know, how to determine what's what's natural, what's not, what's right, what's wrong, what, what, what, what's healthy for people, what's not, what's hateful, what's not hateful.
There's just so much confusion. And in the middle of this chaos, it's very difficult to sort it out. Yeah, and I think also in your saying with what's natural, I think some people part of the push with the children is to say, look, if if kids are feeling this way and society accepts us and children, then again, this is something that people can't people can argue against. Right. I think in part it's part of a larger goal to facilitate acceptance for adults as well.
And again, there's no reason why we can't do that. We don't have to tokenized these children as a way to do that. What is the argument for doing it with children? Is the argument that the earlier they transition, the quicker they'll be happy, the the more time they'll spend in the gender that they belong to rather than the gender of their birth. Right, and also that if they block puberty, that they will not go through these physiological changes that are going to make it more difficult for them to identify as the opposite sex.
Yeah, this is a really one of the things that was disturbing to me that didn't make any goddamn sense was people saying that you can block their hormones and then if they change their mind, it's easily reversible. And I'm like, you don't understand human development. That's crazy to say that. Now, recently that's been disavowed. Recently there was I forget, what scientific body came out and the the NHS in the UK. Yes. And I think you're right.
And they said, well, actually, no, when when you there's radical changes to the body that are irreversible when you block hormones at a very young age. I had this conversation with someone on the podcast just a year or so ago where they were saying, well, if the child changes their opinion, you could always reverse and like, what are you talking about? If you're introducing estrogen to a six year old and you're telling me when they're 14, it's going to be the same as if they didn't introduce estrogen, they didn't block their hormones.
That's crazy talk. But that shows to me where people's minds are when it comes to this. They want something to be true and they argue it as if it's true. And then it goes along with this whole conforming conformity thing where everybody has to conform to show that they are on the right side of this ideology and that if you don't, you'll be attacked. Well, the thing is, too, this is what is being promoted right in the mainstream in terms of anything to do with trans issues.
This is what you see is that these blockers are perfectly we don't we don't have the data. We don't know what the long term effects are.
And it's what I want to know is why the parents are not being told this, right.
That those changes were made with the parents who have signed off on this treatment. Were they made aware of the fact that these guidelines have been changed? Right. These are things that people in the field have been very critical of, but this has not been discussed more widely. So now that these this has been changed publicly, do all the parents who have signed on for this treatment know that? I don't think any of them do, because no one reported on it.
And what are the repercussions to two outlets reported on it, I should say? Right. And it was very silent in a lot of ways. It was just they just they put it out there and that's it. But what are the repercussions and what do these parents do when they find this out and they find out that these blockers they're giving their children, unlike what they've been told, they aren't reversible? What are they going to do? I have a number of parents who I've met over the years who asked me what they think about it.
That entire chapter I wrote, Chapter five, was all the advice I wish I could tell them face to face. But it's very difficult when a parent is asking you this and you know, you don't feel like it's I don't feel it's my place to tell them what I think about their parenting decisions. But, you know, you can see the pain in their eyes. This is very difficult. And I think for a lot of them, they were told if they don't allow their child to transition, that child is going to commit suicide.
And that's not true. So that's another thing that's being promoted very widely, the belief that if these children do not transition, they are at high risk of suicide. And I don't fault these parents for going along with it, because if you I mean, you're a parent. So if someone said that to you, I think you would similarly feel like you don't have a choice.
Yes, we're spending a lot of time talking about the negative aspects of transitioning. Well, even if it's just transitioning as children or rapid onset gender dysphoria that occurs in teenage girls, particularly with autism. But let's let's try to be positive about this. Let's let's look at the the positive aspect. And I wanted to know, did you cover that at all? For what what are the what are the characteristics or what groups of people find that this actually does work out well for them, even at a young age?
I mean, and how would a young person absolutely and definitively know or is it just completely personal whether or not they are in the wrong gender? And what are the benefits of transitioning early? There was one meta analysis, I believe it was, of twenty seven studies that did show for people of transition that they do experience a lessening of feelings of gender dysphoria and their life satisfaction goes up and other comorbid issues that they might have, like anxiety, depression, substance use, all those things go down.
So like I said, I do think transitioning can help people. And I I think, you know, I'm glad that you mention that because I don't want it to be all doom and gloom. And I don't want it to seem like this is such a heavy negative issue. Right. Like, I do think that this can help people. And I think it's good that there is more awareness about this. And I do think it's good that society is on board with helping trans people and supporting them in terms of how people determine whether it's the right choice for them.
I think, again, it's a good mental health professional who can determine, you know, go through a proper assessment. And if you make this decision. So I should clarify. I'm not a clinician. I don't work with patients anymore. But from the conversations I've had with my colleagues, you know, this is a decision that you're making over a period of time and you've really asked yourself if this is the right choice for you, in which case, yeah, I think that's great.
And there's there's an issue with a lot of trans people of being accepted. And how much of a factor is that in their happiness? Whether I mean, that's one of the things that I would say is probably responsible for a lot of this promotion of positivity or promotion of of people accept or people being, you know, reluctant to criticize people or or discuss in any negative way trans issues is that they want to support people that are doing this very difficult, life changing decision and.
When when they are doing that, it's such a difficult thing to discuss, right, because I know the suicide rates are very high with trans people and it doesn't seem to matter whether they transition or not. I believe the suicide rate. It's pretty interesting. There's one study that showed that the suicide rate is 20 times what would be seen in the general population after transitioning. So some people will say that's a sign that transitioning doesn't help.
But then other people will say that's a sign that transitioning did not come soon enough. And the authors of the study were very clear to say this is not a causation. You can't make any assumption between transitioning and the outcome because it was only following these patients. Right. There was no it's not like you randomly assigned them, as you would in an experimental study to or if you were to design the study, to be able to make cause and effect conclusions, you would need to do random assignment and things like that.
But they're basically saying that if these people had in transition, it's there's a possibility that they would have fared even worse. So I think it goes down it goes back to just being on a case by case basis. I don't think we should be generalizing in either direction.
Yeah, that's that's a good perspective. I think that that's that's kind of what I was getting at. It's like, what is it that's causing these? Is it is the suicide rate so high because of society's lack of acceptance? Is a suicide so high because of their own personal dissatisfaction with being born in the wrong gender? And what can be is that why people are so accepting? Like maybe that's what it is that causes people to get angry? When you criticize anything involving trans, it's almost like they want people like us who are not trans to step out, step away and let them sort it out.
Does that make any sense? I get you know, I get it, I get and I get how it can probably come across as patronizing for someone like me to step in and have a voice because they'll say, what do you know about what we experienced in day to day life? I totally get that. And I'm not saying that I do. I definitely don't. But I'm coming from the perspective of being a scientific researcher and knowing the research literature and being nonideological and seeing seeing why there is such a imbalance in terms of this conversation as it is because people are afraid.
So I'm in a position to speak out. I'm not afraid.
Do you feel that you're pigeonholed at all by the subject matter? Because this is I mean, you're a fairly young woman and this is your chosen area of exploration and study. Do you what do you where do you go from here? Do you feel like this is something you be studying for years to come and discussing and talking about for years to come? Or do you feel like there's going to come a point in time where you go to move on to other subjects?
Well, I'm so grateful for this. To write a book. I mean, to write a book is an absolute dream. And it's been something I've been wanting to do since I was a child. So I'm super grateful to my editor, Natasha, for that. In terms of me and my career, I mean, there's so many things that I plan to do in terms of the subjects. You know, this just happened to be the one thing that I wrote my first book about.
But, you know, even within the book, I cover a bunch of different issues. I talk about sex differences in dating. That's something else I think is really important to to approach dating and sex in a way that's evidence based, which I feel like a lot of young people are not doing today.
How do you mean by that?
Well, I think say in the name of gender equality, one big myth is that men and women should act the same when it comes to romantic relationships and sex. And I think that actually harms both women and men. You're real. You're raising your eyebrows, but you'd be surprised what's out there. I'm confused. What do you mean by that? The men and women should act the same.
Well, just that say so women, some women love casual sex when I say power to you, but I think most women on average do not enjoy casual sex as much as men. And so but they're being told that this is how you should behave to be an enlightened woman. And I'm saying, you know, I think it's totally fine to just do do you you don't have to do anything in the name of being an enlightened woman and say you don't like casual sex.
That's totally fine, too. And I think also there's a sense that if women require an investment from their partners, I mean, in terms of like an emotional investment or effort, that that's somehow being high maintenance. But from an evolutionary perspective, that's actually beneficial because women want to know that in the event that you do end up carrying this person's offspring, that they will be there to help you.
I didn't know that this was something that's being promoted. So women are being encouraged to behave like men, to be an empowered woman, to to have this non emotionally connected sexual relationship and to have casual intercourse with people and not worry about it, because that's what makes you an empowered woman.
And I think also evolutionary psychology has a bad rap because people think it's sexist or they think that it it says that women should be confined to certain stereotypical gender roles or that women are inferior to men or that women should be sexually submissive. And I'm not saying any of those things. I just think, again, if you try to hide what science and reality is, it's it's not going to help you.
I've never understood that line of thinking. I never understood why people think that evolutionary biology means women should be confined to very specific behaviours or interests. It's just pointing out that for the most part, a lot of women gravitate towards these areas. It's a fascinating area of study. But there are women, cage fighters.
You know, most men are not cage fighters. There's all. But there's a good percentage in the UFC that are women. You know, obviously there's differences in what people want to pursue. You know, there's women soldiers, there's women police officers. There's a lot of females that buck trends because they're true to themselves. Whatever is in them, that makes them decide to be a boxer or a jujitsu player, they pursue it. I don't think that evolutionary biology, when it shows that the vast majority of women don't gravitate towards those things, I don't think that that's sexist.
And I don't think it's encouraging women to have any specific interests. I think it's just just laying out data. Right, and there's a biological component to that, right, because for women who are more male, typical, they're likely exposed to higher levels of testosterone in the womb.
But to go back to your earlier point about where I go next and do I feel pigeonholed? Not really, because I do write about a whole bunch of different issues, even outside of sex research. I write about, you know, politics more widely, more so the cultural aspect of them. But, yeah, I don't feel I feel like I'm at a very fortunate point right now in my career.
But the reason why I was saying is I feel almost pigeonholed by having this conversation with you because I'm having two trans oriented conversations in the last month or so. And I've had a couple of them before. Like I've even got messages from people like why do you why are you interested in this? Well, goddammit, I'm interested in everything. I'm interested in volcanoes, OK? I'm interested in asteroids. I'm interested in a lot of things.
This to me, I don't want people to think that the reason why I'm interested is because I'm discouraging it or I'm anti trans because I'm absolutely not. But I am also anti ideologically based thinking that's not logical or fact based or that discourages people from asking nuanced questions or observing things for what they really are instead of what a certain segment of society wants you to think of them as. Well, and, you know, to people who are saying that to I honestly believe, give it a couple of years and you won't be asking that question anymore, because we will see why these conversations were so critical, because we will see the aftermath of not talking about these things.
I think that's true. And I think there's a certain amount of cowardice in not discussing these that really. That really disturbs me, disturbs me and makes me very feel fearful, I know people whose children, very young children they believe are trans and they're going to go through this whole thing and give them hormone blockers. And, you know, there's I've no business to tell them differently. There's not I can't do anything about it. I just have to.
I don't know. I don't know what's going on. I just know that it's a real thing. And you have to step back and go, what what would have happened 20 years ago? What would have happened 30 years ago? Is that better or is this better? Is it better to just let the child become a grown adult and decide for themselves? Or is it better to step in and for whatever reason, decide that Billy is really Salli?
I don't know. And I don't think anybody knows. And I think that's why this discussion is so important, because the ramifications of making a wrong choice are of influencing or of deciding for that child. It's so great. How can I ask you, how do you deal with the pushback because it doesn't seem to affect you at all and I love that. And I'm wondering, what has it always been like that for you or was there a very conscious decision on your part to just not listen to it?
I know where I'm coming from, I'm no I'm not a hateful person, and when I'm when, you know, there's a lot of people that have all sorts of crazy opinions about me, there's nothing I can do about that. I just remain true to myself and ask things or discuss things that I'm curious about. That I mean, yeah, there's there's blowback, but there's blowback with everything I do, there's not a damn thing I can do without people getting upset at me.
I just have too much of too much reach. Now, this, too, is too much bandwidth. It's too much too many people coming in to see you as a threat. But I don't know why, you know, I'm not a threat. I might be if you have a rigid ideology that doesn't make sense. And I oppose it. I oppose that idea that this rigid ideology that doesn't make sense should just be left alone and never discussed the only thing that it's a threat to your own personal mindset.
I'm not doing anything to anyone. I'm just talking about things. So I don't know why they would think of me as a threat. I'm not promoting any hateful behavior or actions at all, and I never would. It's not something I'm ever interested in. I want people to be happy. I genuinely want as many people in this world to be happy as possible and to be loving to each other and to be kind and open minded and to allow people to live their life the way they see fit, as long as it's not doing any harm to other people.
I don't think that's a bad thing. And as long as I don't think that's a bad thing and as long as I have this opportunity to express myself the way I really feel, I'm going to continue to do it. And it shows right, it resonates with your audience, and I'm so glad I get to chat with you some face to face and actually congratulate you in person for the Spotify deal, because it's just amazing and it's really inspiring to see someone who has literally built it from the ground up and yourself made.
So it just it's for all of us who are watching. It shows that, you know, you can do it, too, if you work really hard.
Deborah, it's weird, you know, because there's nothing I ever planned. And it's just I just keep showing up. I just keep doing it. And then it's become this very strange thing. I remember there was a time I was on stage in Chicago.
It was like I must have been like at least five years ago. And I just asked I go, how many people listen to the podcast? And I expected it to be just like a few claps here and there. It was 3700 people in that place at the Chicago theater.
And then. Yeah. And I went, oh, shit, and that was the moment I realized, like, oh shit, like what's happening? And that was a long time ago, you know, that was five years ago. Where it's at now is very, very, very strange. And if I keep doing it, if I keep having interesting people like you on and keep having these interesting discussions, I guess it just keeps getting stranger and stranger.
And I don't know what that means. I really haven't figured it out. I just keep doing it. If people are getting mad at this or getting mad at this discussion, first of all, I know you're a good person and I know you're not a hateful person. And I swear to God I'm not either. And I don't think there's anything wrong with having these discussions. And if people want me to have a trans person on to to show the opposite perspective, I would love to.
But I don't I don't think there's anything wrong with what we're saying. I really don't. And particularly when it comes to children, I just I can't imagine that there's an argument against what you're saying. I just think the truth speaks for itself and what you were saying in terms of, you know, where you're coming from, I also know where I'm coming from and I know what my intentions are. No one else knows. So that's been the day.
That's how I sleep at night. And I know that people are going to see that what you and I are saying right now is true. So that's really all that matters. It doesn't matter. All the people who want to call me names and say that I'm a bad person because I know that I'm really just trying to protect these children. I think you are as well.
And nothing but love and respect for all the people that do transition and are happy with it. Nothing but love. And just I know I know that you're coming from a good place. And I really do hope that it does some good and that there are people that listen to this and do get. They get a different perspective and perhaps do a little research and realize, like we might be about to make a terrible mistake, that you can't change. Yeah, yeah, that's all I can say about it.
Do you have plans to write another book? Well, this book has just come out, so I'm very excited about promoting and talking about it, but, you know, I in terms of what I want to achieve with my career, I want to do hopefully more books. I want to do more TV. I would love to do documentaries, more podcasts, everything. You know, I feel very lucky. I feel journalism has opened up this freedom that I unfortunately did not have as an academic scientist.
Well, it's, I think the world of journalism and particularly the world of open and free media, new media like podcasts. It really needs people like you. It really needs academics who have decided to use the freedom that you get from new media and explore these subjects in a non confined way. So many academics feel confined by institutions and by the politics involved in these institutions to the point where these subjects can't get discussed because of these rigid ideologies.
I think it's so important that people like you do do express yourself the way you're doing. And bravely, I think I think it's really it's for our culture. It's very, very important. Thank you.
But, you know, also with journalism, I would say, you know, I, I get it because I think some journalists who are who write about very far left themes, I don't know that they necessarily agree with what they're writing about. But at the end of the day, you need a paycheck. And if that's what you need to write about, then that's what they write about because it can be hard. Right. And journalism is a very competitive industry.
So I think I like the fact that there is so much more room now in terms of people doing their own thing. And I've just been I'm very, very grateful for the the platforms who have me on and the editors and outlets who let me write for them, because I think there needs to be more of a balance. And I think people also are growing tired of only one acceptable way of thought being promoted. Right.
People are sick of it. I think they really are. And I think what you're saying is very true in terms of journalism. Journalism is so important. But unfortunately for many journalists, the traditional the traditional avenues of journalism, whether it's print based or even television, those things are drying up. And they're forced to sort of they're forced to sort of submit to these click bait type articles. They kind of have to they get stuck into this position where they have to write things that are going to excite people.
They write things where the headlines are going to grab people and rope them in. And I think that's many of the reasons why they have to write these stories that are outrageous or inflammatory, maybe even about things that they don't necessarily agree with. But they're starving. There's this really like you have to do something to get people's attention today. Like, I defend click bait all the time. I fake click make like, listen, man, we fucking need journalists.
And even if it's The New York Times is writing click bait or The Washington Post, like, why do you think they're doing that? Do you think they're doing it because are dumb? Are they unethical? No. They need people to fucking read things because they can't get clicks. Otherwise they can't get there's too much information, there's too much data. There's so much out there. It's so hard to get someone to pay attention to any issue. And if you're a journalist, there's only so many different things you can cover.
And I think for a lot of them, they're just trying to stay alive. Yeah, but I guess the larger hope is that because journalism is supposed to be objective and it's supposed to show you what's important in the world and show it and from a fact based perspective, that something like money and clicks would not be influencing the direction that we're going in.
Yeah, that would be cute, but it's not real. I think I would I would love it.
I mean, I've talked about this many times. I would love it if somebody came out with a really, truly objective, fact based news source with everything where there's no bias left or right at all. And they're just looking at the absolute concrete, irrefutable facts of every different situation and every different story in the news. I mean, I think that would be fantastic. I think a lot of people like myself and probably you as well, and a lot of people listening would gravitate to and I think there's a real market for it.
I just don't know if you could actually do it, because I think that if you get a bunch of people together and you put together some sort of an organization, you're going to have an ideological bent to it. It's just they're going to lean one way or the other and then they're going to, you know, omit facts or add their own opinions to things or editorialize. And next thing you know, you're left or right. You're CNN or your Fox or whatever the fuck you are.
Well, that's the thing, because we all have our own biases, and then I think the main thing is, are you aware of those biases and do you try to counter them? I think for myself, I'm a columnist, so I have more room in terms of giving my own opinions. It doesn't have to be. It's not if your columnist are not supposed to be purely objective. And, you know, so I think part of the problem is that an even good scientist, you need to be aware of what your particular leanings are so that you can say, OK, this is this should not be affecting my work.
Yeah, I agree. You don't have any problem at all with porn. You think porn is fine and porn is recreational. A lot of people would push back against that and a lot of people would push back and they would say that it's damaging to young women, that it objectifies women in a harmful way and and that it changes the way young people and particularly look at sex and that they mirror and model themselves after these very unrealistic scenarios that are depicted in these in these films.
What do you think about that? Right.
I didn't I've never said that I have no issue with porn. I would just say I'm not anti porn, that I think that pornography has a time and place. I think if you're an adult and in terms of sex more broadly and whatever is consensual, that's your business. But I do think for especially young children, I don't think that's good for their development. I don't think that that's a way that people should learn about what sex is going to be like, because that's pornography is not indicative of what reallife sex is.
And I think for people who are concerned that pornography is that didn't say I mean, there's so many different angles in terms of the criticisms of porn. But say one common criticism is that pornography makes men interested in things that are, you know, potentially degrading to women. I do think there is some pornography that is not very nice in the way it depicts women for sure. But I don't think viewing that is what makes men misogynistic or disrespectful of their partners.
I think that's something that is inherent in them. And again, as someone who has worked with sex offenders, you know, anti sociality is more predictive of someone's behavior and their views of women. It's not about being exposed to porn because I think most prosocial men, if they see something that's very degrading and awful to women, they're going to say, that's horrible. And I don't want to look at that.
Like I think the issue is not really with porn as much as the issue is with human beings. I think that porn is in a lot of ways, like many things like like alcohol, for instance, you can have a drink every now and then or you can drink all day long and ruin your life. What is the problem? Is the problem the alcohol? Is that your behavior?
Is it the human being? I think it's a human being and human beings, obsessive compulsive behavior and people's addiction to things. The addiction to pornography seems to be an issue. And so some people's ideas. Well, you should ban pornography. Well, that's sort of the same argument for banning alcohol, but it doesn't really work. Like, you can't really tell people what to do if some people don't have a problem with it. There's some people that enjoy porn every now and then they watch porn.
They'd rather masturbate than have a relationship or whatever. Maybe they just don't want to deal with people, but they're horny. I don't know why, for whatever reason, but there's nothing wrong with that. But there is something wrong for them with with the action of watching porn all day and disassociating and being aware. But again, I don't think it's a porn problem. I think it's a human problem. It's the same thing as gambling. There's a lot of things that people get really obsessed with and they get addicted to.
I don't think the problem is the individual thing. This has always been my take on porn or really on a lot of, you know, what we call vices. I don't think the problem is the things themselves. And I, I not just respect I. Support individual choices. I love the fact that we have freedom, you could do whatever you want. I think you should be able to do anything you should as long as people aren't getting hurt by it.
I wonder. Why we have this perspective on porn, though, that we don't have another, because, like. Paunch in many ways should be just people having sex people and filming it, right? People obviously like sex. So why is it such a big deal to film it? Why is it such a big deal to show it to other people? It's a very strange aspect of being a human being. That is one thing that so many people are obsessed with and literally go out of their way to be successful so they can get more sex like that is like if you ask men like how many if men could not have sex, how many men would be driving Ferraris and and taking selfies in front of private jets, how about zero?
Right. If this is why they're doing it, they're they're signaling that they have wealth. They're trying to make themselves attractive. Why are they trying to do that? For status? For what? Well, maybe to show off to other men, but more likely to show off to whoever they're attracted to, whether it's the opposite sex of the same sex, they're trying to get sex. So why is it that filming sex is so taboo? Well, OK, to go back to your point about porn addiction, No.
One, there's no evidence for pornography addiction in that I needed some of my friends.
You know, I don't. I don't. I don't. Yeah, there is. I don't doubt that for some people, porn is a problem for sure. And like you're saying, there are some people who watch for hours in the research I was doing before. There are some people I would talk to who literally sit and watch pornography eight, 12 hours a day. And it's affecting work. They're up super late. They can't get up in the morning.
It's affecting their relationships. That is not that's not healthy. That's definitely excessive. I don't deny that that exists. But that's not that's not addiction. That's usually procrastination is procrastination.
But oh, wow. That's a weird point of view. I think they're addicted to it. They're obsessed with it. If you're obsessed with something, don't you think that that's an addiction? I mean, are we splitting hairs here? I guess it depends on what if you're meeting addiction, as in like colloquial use of the word maybe. But in terms of if you're talking about drug and alcohol addiction, it's not because of drug and alcohol addiction is characterized by tolerance and withdrawal.
So people who people some people argue, like I said with with pornography, that if they watch it and they start watching more extreme versions of it, they're saying that this is my tolerance. But if you actually sit and have a conversation with those people, they'll say, actually, this is what I've liked all along. It's just it took me a while to accept that. So it's not there's no tolerance and you don't see people having withdrawal when they stop?
Well, they might not have physical withdrawal, but they do get obsessed with it and they do have a compulsion to look at it. I know I know people that if they take, you know, a day from porn, they think about it all the time. They can't wait to get a loan to watch it. I think it is an addiction and I think it is similar to a drug addiction, the same way gambling is similar to a drug addiction.
There is an internal drug. There's something that's going on in your mind that you are getting addicted to the excitement, the endorphins that you get from gambling. I think there's many people that get the same excitement and that same excitement or similar and endorphins from watching pornography and masturbating. Well, I mean, yeah, it is rewarding, but I think for a lot of people, it's a coping strategy and if you give them different coping strategies, suddenly they're not reliant on pornography to ensure better to deal stress.
But isn't that a strategy for getting over addiction? Like like you would admit there's an addiction to gambling. I think it is recognized now, I believe, but don't you think that that that's a similar situation because there is no withdrawal and there is the it's not like you reach a certain point where you need more to get you off because I mean or I guess it is really right, because they gamble bigger and bigger numbers. But you don't. What I'm saying is you don't really develop a tolerance to gambling.
Right. But it is a gambling addiction. But the thing is, with people with so-called pornography addiction, if you and research has shown this, if you give them other coping skills and ways to deal with stress in their life or you teach them, you give them assertiveness training so that they are able to speak up a lot about what's bothering them. Instead of turning to pornography as a way to feel better, it actually cuts down on how much they share their viewing time and how much they rely on it.
That's interesting. And I want to wonder if you get healthy user bias, because if you're getting someone that is willing to admit and accept the fact that they do have some sort of sex or pornography addiction, that's not the average person. I think there's a lot of people out there that are addicted to porn, but you never hear from them because there's so much shame attached to it. Right, but I think someone who is spending eight to 12 hours a day, that's a lot of time that's that's pretty far in terms of severity.
So, look, I don't think that for everyone who uses porn as a coping strategy is necessarily going to be that extreme. But I just my issue is that this has been portrayed as something that is definitive and that we should treat it like I think it was maybe two years ago everyone was talking about porn addiction. And within the field, people who work with people with problems with pornography in a therapeutic context will say, you know, it's not an addiction.
It's there are other things usually going on in someone's life. And those are the things that you need to talk about when you sit down with a therapist.
That's interesting. Yeah, I mean, I guess I would agree that for a lot of people, it probably is procrastination and there's probably a lot of other factors as well. But then again, people get horny. So even if you like, find all these other coping mechanisms when you get horny. You're probably going to watch porn again. So you slide right into it. Well, there's no solution. I don't know. I mean, it's a weird thing as opposed to gambling, right?
Like you're not going to get horny for gambling, right. There's not like an equivalent thing where you like you build up this thing inside your body that needs to take a risk. Right. But whereas with pornography, like it's particularly with men, you do sort of build up this need to release. Right, and then then it becomes a question of can they integrate this back into their life in a healthy way without it becoming destructive again?
Yeah. So why do you think it is that we have this this weird take on sex? Because it is it's a weird thing that it seems to be. There's no problem with sex, but filming sex and showing sex is where things get strange. Because sex is still considered stigmatized and is taboo, and even when you're a sex scientist, there's so much stigma around that, you would think that as a scientist that there would be some sort of removal of that perception.
But no. So I think, you know, a lot I, I write a lot about sex positivity also. I think if we were to decrease the stigma around human sexuality, that would help in so many ways.
That makes sense. Did you feel like you get extra discrimination because you're a beautiful woman who study sex to people like automatic? Oh, she's a freak. She's just looking for something to study that fits to her own little weird stuff. Do you get that? I think.
Well, I have in the past, I think people and I don't blame them for making assumptions because people tend to study what they find interesting. And usually I think people think you have some sort of personal reason for studying the things that you do. For me, my my research expertise was basically kinky sex and sex toys, but I'm extremely vanilla and monogamous and actually pretty boring. So, you know, for me, it was a way of living vicariously through people that I would talk to.
And when I would go out and study these different populations or studying something, perhaps that doesn't jive with your own proclivities.
Right. Yeah, I think I mean, most people would say that human sexuality is really fascinating and I would have a number of people say to me in a time when I was in graduate school that they wish they had also been studying sex, but they were afraid of what people would think or it's too stigmatized. And I think that's really a shame, because the more people who are interested in doing good work, then that's going to help everybody. Yeah, it is.
It's one of those things where people are like, why are you studying that? Like, because it is stigmatized. It does have this weird sort of connotation to it, whereas it is a natural part of human behavior and it's something that most people are at least mildly interested in sex, like the idea of studying it being a problem is very odd. But I wonder if it's like different in Canada than it is in America, because Canada seems to have a healthier perspective in general about sex.
I think America still has, for whatever reason, the echoes of the Puritan ideology that was established when this country was founded. Because we have comprehensive sex education for us, as far as I know, for the most part, that's what is predominantly taught in schools with children. And so I think the idea of sex ed makes people uncomfortable because some adults will say you're introducing ideas into kids' heads. You know, they're they wouldn't otherwise be thinking about these things.
But but studies have actually shown that children who get comprehensive sex education, of course, if it's age appropriate, actually make better decisions when it comes to their sexual health. They're more likely to delay when they start having sex and they're more likely to use contraception when they do so. That's in contrast to abstinence, only sex, which basically tells you to wait until marriage. Of course.
I mean, that's with everything, right? I mean, that's why Europeans have less alcoholics, because they introduce alcohol to kids younger. You're allowed to drink beer or wine when you're young. It's not so taboo and crazy. So it's not like this built up thing that you're told to avoid. Well, I think to four kids and not kids, certainly, let me restate that, because obviously kids should not be having teenagers for teenagers. Yeah. If you just tell them that they shouldn't do something, what are they going to do?
They want to go do it instantly.
So it's better that they have information and education so that I think that they can make more informed decisions that way. Unquestionably, when I was in high school, there was an open secret that girls who went to all girls, Catholic schools were the biggest freaks. Like across the board there were the ones who wanted to have the most sex. They were crazed, they were literally crazed, and we would always try to figure it out.
But we knew it was a fact. And it was it was an open fact that kids when I was like 17, we all discussed it. And we're all we're like, what is how is what is? And we just figured it out. Well, it's obviously suppression. But I mean, it's amazing that other people didn't see it. Like, how do the parents not know that creating monsters, they're creating sex monsters. Like one of the girls that I dated when I was in high school, went to an all girls school, all girls Catholic school was crazy.
She was crazy. The way I describe her was like a kitten. Like if, you know, if you roll a ball on the ground, a kitten has to die. That's how she was with a dick. She couldn't stop herself. And I think it was literally because of what they did to them. They told them sex is bad, it's evil, it's terrible. Boys are bad and they're all together, all with a bunch of girls.
They can't wait to get out of that place and go find a boy.
But OK, what are the guys like then, the guys who are at those schools? That's a good question. I would assume they'd be sex crazed, too. I didn't have any guy friends that went to all guys Catholic schools for whatever reason. In Boston where I grew up, it was mostly all girls, Catholic schools. I don't know if there was all guys Catholic schools. The guys that I knew that were brothers with these girls, they went to regular schools.
I don't I don't know what was going I mean, they were just trying to make sluts. Maybe they had, like, some crazy secret agenda to turn these girls into promiscuous young ladies. I don't really believe that. Maybe it was probably the opposite. Right. It was probably like they're trying to reinforce purity. And by doing so, they they screwed up the idea of what sex is in these girls heads. And that's one thing, too, you know, I also don't think men and women should be held to different standards when it comes to that.
And I think if for for girls, especially them being chased in ways they chase and see hasti and being virginal right and right and protecting their whatever is quote unquote inherent value as women by being virginal. I don't think that's fair. I think it should be if we're going to say that sex is something special and you should choose carefully who you have sex with, that should be across the board. And conversely, if we're saying that people should be able to have sex as much sex as they want and that's fantastic, then that should be across the board also.
Yeah, I agree with that. And that does exist in other countries. But for whatever reason in America, we, generally speaking, don't have that value. And I guess that would be why people that are striving for women's equality would tell women that you are exactly the same thing as a man and you should pursue the same things men do, like casual sex to sort of affirm that a man and woman are the same in that respect. Yeah, I think that's where the what the intention is, where it's coming from, but again, at the end of the day, I'm just about making choices that are good for you and that make you happy.
And and there's no need to feel pressure to behave in a certain way. You know, I have young women who reach out to me who will say a lot that they don't they can't perform like they're straight and they can't perform like their male partners. And that worries them because for men, you know, if they're turned on their turn on right away women, it tends to take a little bit more time, you know, just a bit more context dependent.
And if you're telling young women that they need to be exactly the same as men, they're going to think they're going to internalize this and think there's something wrong with them. And that just makes me so sad because there's nothing wrong with the way our system or the way we're built. Right. And so.
Yeah, well, I think the solution to that is what you just did discuss and talk about it, you know, and I think having these kind of conversations about it and hopefully people will hear these conversations and it'll broaden their ideas and broaden their perspectives. Deborah, thanks so much. Yes, what are you when are you moving to Texas to end the month? Whoa. Yeah, not here. This place is this place, I don't think watch as soon as I leave.
Boom, I just fucking this place is crazy. The lockdown still exists, right? There's the homelessness is completely out of control. There's the overpopulation is out of control. The way they're handling this is so bad. I'm just upset with the federal government's handling of this. Everybody there's so many people that are just financially they're so fucked right now. And I think people should be. I mean, I want to say people should be held accountable for, but I think people should make decisions based on the way the place that they live is handling this really difficult problem and the way the solution they've come up with in California is to jack up taxes.
So the most recent solution was to jack up taxes to 54 percent. Well, you guys are out of your fucking mind retroactively.
Back to James a lot. There was a proposal. It's crazy. It's not going to fix it. They're bankrupt. The state is bankrupt because they're incompetent. They're not going to become competent if you give them more money. You know, it's just they've they've managed the money that they got very poorly. They already have high taxes. There's a thirteen point five percent state income tax here in California and the place is still fucked up. It's like this is a this is a very telling and dangerous time in a lot of ways.
It's very challenging and it exposes a lot of things. And one of the things that exposes I don't I don't particularly like the way things are run here. And I I don't like being in a place that has such a high population either. I think there's a real problem with living somewhere that has 20 million people plus 40 million in the whole state. It's so crazy. There's so many people here. And the only thing that would really keep me around was the Comedy Store and my friends and a lot of my friends are Bailen, a lot.
I mean, there's a they're going all over the place. My friend Joey's moved in New Jersey. Theo Vaughn is moving. I think he's moving to Nashville. A lot of my friends are talking about Texas. People are just Bailen. There's a mass exodus out of California right now.
That's crazy because I was actually planning to move to L.A. eventually. So now that you're going, I was going to say the next time I'm in town, I'll come say hi, but you're going to be gone. Well, maybe I'll be here every now and then. You know, look, once things are back to normal, whatever normal is going to be, I'd be happy to come in every now and then. And we're going to keep this studio for a while.
I'll come to the Comedy Store and still do shows there. I'll miss all my friends that that work there and that perform there. So I'm sure I'll be in town at least a few times a year. But I just want to change, too. You know, I think there's other places to live. I wanna live in a place where it rains. You know, that's another thing. It's like this very unhealthy living in a place where it's always sunny.
I think it gives you a really delusional perspective.
It's beautiful for you because you come from Toronto. It's fifty five thousand degrees below zero.
It's it's not snowing every day counter to what people think. We do actually have summer and sunshine sometimes. Of course you do.
Look, I love Toronto, but the thing is, like when people come from somewhere like that and you come to L.A. and it's sunny all the time, like, this is amazing.
But after a while, it's like it gives you a distorted view of nature, you know? And I think that's one of the reasons why people in L.A. are so delusional. They very rarely have to deal with actual nature. I always felt like there was something real humbling about growing up in Boston because it got so goddamn cold and it snowed so much that you just knew, like there were certain point times where you had to submit to nature. You were you had to huddle in.
There's two feet of snow outside. You just stayed home. You just, you know, hung out with the family. You played games. You did what you had to do. No one's going anywhere. The roads are shut down. They have to plow. It takes days. And there's something about that. Just understanding that sometimes you have to be at the beck and call and the will of nature that doesn't exist in California. Every twenty years or so, we get a wake up call.
The earth shakes and buildings fall down. You go, fuck, you going to get out of here. And then people move out. And then a couple of years later, they forget a bunch of people move in and then it gets overcrowded again. But this is like one of the first years, I think, where California didn't grow. And that's that's very strange because every year California's population just keeps growing, growing, growing. And they say this this is one of the very first years in recent memory where it's not growing.
So many people are leaving that it's actually not growing. Outlook change is good. I'm happy for you. Thank you. I'm happy for you to have that for your book. You have a podcast as well, right?
I will be starting a new podcast, so I would tell everyone to follow me on social media. I'm Dr. Deborah. So on Twitter and Facebook and at Dr. Deborah WSO on Instagram. And I'll be announcing a whole bunch of new stuff coming soon.
And it's Déby Outré. So nothing crazy with the O and the H. A lot of people like to Deborah can be spelled so many different ways.
Right? Right. And then so is s o h. S or something.
All right. Well, thank you very much, Deborah. Always good to talk to you. Next time, hopefully we'll get to see each other in person.
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