“Transsexualism and milder forms of gender dysphoria are types of mental disorder.”
(CNS News) – Twitter recently locked the account of esteemed sexual psychologist Ray Blanchard, Ph.D.–apparently for posting that “transsexualism” and “gender dysphoria are types of mental disorder” — and then unlocked his account and apologized. But the social media giant declined to say whether it is okay for people to tweet that transsexualism is a mental disorder.
On May 11, Dr. Blanchard, a past president of the International Academy of Sex Research and member of the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, responded to a question on Twitter about his “actual position on transgender people.”
Blanchard answered in a six-part post. In the first part, he wrote, “My beliefs include the following 6 elements: (1) Transsexualism and milder forms of gender dysphoria are types of mental disorder, which may leave the individual with average or even above-average functioning in unrelated areas of life.”
Not long thereafter, the sexual psychology expert received the following message from Twitter: “Hi Ray Blanchard, Your account, @BlanchardPhD has been locked for violating the Twitter Rules. Specifically for: Violating our rules against hateful conduct.”
The message continued, “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”
The message from Twitter included a screenshot of his first post, where he described transsexualism and milder forms of gender dysphoria as “types of mental disorder.”
Blanchard’s post is presented in this article. It is not clear where he engages in “hateful conduct” or seeks to “promote violence against, threaten, or harrass” anyone. Apparently, just stating that transsexualism is a “mental disorder” is “hateful conduct.”
Dr. Blanchard earned his A.B. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D from the University of Illinois. He was the chief of Clinical Sexology Services in the Law and Mental Health Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Ontario from 1995 to 2010.
He is currently an adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Blanchard’s speciality and most of his research over the years concerns gender identity disorders and transsexualism.
Blanchard has published countless peer-reviewed articles in publications such as the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, and the Journal of Psychiatric Research. He also has contributed chapters to numerous books, including the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender Dysphoria: Development, Research, Management.
Within 24 hours of being locked out at Twitter for alleged “hateful conduct,” the company unlocked Blanchard’s account.
On May 12, Blanchard received the following message from Twitter, “Hello, We have restored your account, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Twitter takes reports of violations of the Twitter Rules very seriously. After reviewing your account, it looks like we made an error. Thanks, Twitter Support.”
Following Dr. Blanchard’s ordeal, CNSNews.com contacted Twitter’s communications department by email and tweet on two occasions. CNSNews.com cited Dr. Blanchard’s post and asked, “Given that Twitter states it ‘made an error’ in this case, is it permissible to post — without having one’s account locked — on Twitter that, ‘Transsexualism and milder forms of gender dysphoria are types of mental disorder’?”
Nicholas Pacilio with the Twitter press office responded on May 14, “We would decline to comment further beyond the May 11 and 12 communications [of Blanchard] you’ve cited. Thank you.”
Twitter apparently is unwilling to state whether people can post the scientifically held view that transsexualism and gender dysphoria are types of “mental disorder.”
According to the Merck Manual, “Gender dysphoria involves a strong, persistent feeling that a person’s anatomic sex does not match the person’s inner sense of self as masculine, feminine, mixed, neutral, or something else (gender identity). This feeling of mismatch causes the person significant distress or greatly impairs the person’s ability to function. Transsexualism is the most extreme form of gender dysphoria.”