Dr. Deborah Soh Takes Issue with Gender Science Denial


3 years ago



Dr. Debra Soh

3 appearances

Dr. Debra Soh is a sex neuroscientist, journalist, and author of “The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths about Sex and Identity in Our Society.” www.DrDebraSoh.com


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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 were 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. I'm 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 want it to be. It's based solely in 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 listened 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 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 or. 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, identify as 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 and 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, 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, 10 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 it. If you don't adhere to this ideology, people want to say that you're you have no compassion, you're evil, you're bigoted. I had Abigail Shearer on the podcast recently. And she has 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% increase 4000% increase in teenage girls identifying as trans and rapid onset gender dysphoria, which is real. I mean, this is this is a real scientific times 70 times what you would see in the general population in terms of people identifying as transgender. So it's amazing. 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 they're trans, 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 can assume that people are troubled in all sorts of different ways. But we can't assume they're ever troubled when it comes to gender. 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 transitioning and 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, Okay, 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, okay, 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 tried to, and as 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 never, I never realized that I didn't know the science 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 where it shows that most kids will not feel gender dysphoric anymore when they repeat, reach puberty. They they just people some people cannot accept it and they will call you transphobic, 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 D transitioners 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 2020. 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 to be, do you know the lawsuit I'm talking about? I do. 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 she'll, you know, she, in many cases, a lot of these girls can't have orgasms ever again. No, exactly. And, but I think in North America, we are still very much in denial about this. If, if, I mean, whenever I'm 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 saying these things is trying to prevent what's about to happen. Yeah. Um, 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, you must hate. And I guess that 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 our 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 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. Right. Right. 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 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 too, to determine what is the best way for it 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 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 did we get to this point where some subjects can not 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.