This essay is intended to serve as a concise but thorough resource for all people assigned female at birth, which aims to promote free thinking and independent decision making, to draw attention to unhealthy dynamics in the transgender community, and to support disillusioned individuals and show them that answers exist to whatever unanswered questions they might have.
This is not an anti-trans resource. This blog will not use slurs or hate speech, and will always use the correct name and pronouns for any trans people mentioned. The purpose of this resource is not to prevent anyone from identifying as transgender or pursuing transition. The only purpose is to protect dysphoric and trans individuals from exploitation, and to create an environment where people can freely question all beliefs and ideas without fear.
This introduction will include an overview of what I hope to achieve with this essay, as well as an explanation of what manipulative groups are and why I believe the trans community functions as one. It will also include a personal introduction by me, the author, detailing my own transgender identity and the some of the events that led to me creating this resource for others.
If you find any terminology you don’t understand, I have created a lexicon which might be helpful.
Please keep an open mind.
Newthoughtcrime isn’t about me, but I want it to be known that I’m a real person with feelings and emotions, personal experience with the topics documented here, and a history that anyone would categorize as transgender.
I struggled with dysphoria for half of my life, and identified as various iterations of trans (trans man, nonbinary, genderqueer) on and off for around seven years. I never pursued medical help or came out to my family, but I was in the process of coming out to my (offline) friends when my transition plans came to a halt upon my discovery of online communities of detransitioned men and women — people who had started to medically and/or socially transition, changed their minds, and were now living as their original sex again.
Like many young trans people circa 2015, I had been led to believe that transition regret didn’t exist — and if it did, it was only in people who were genuinely transgender but couldn’t handle the social or financial consequences of transitioning, even though transition was ultimately in their best interests. Reading the testimonies of detransitioned people, I discovered that this wasn’t true. Some people checked every box in the criteria for ‘transgender’, like I did, but found themselves unsatisfied with their new bodies and lives, and were forced to face the reality that transition hadn’t solved all of their problems, or even, in some cases, any of them.
It’s not hard to find information about detransition online. Even four years ago, when less detransitioned people were speaking out about their experiences, it was not that difficult. I managed to stumble across communities of detransitioners by complete accident. And yet nobody — none of the several trans people I was friends or acquaintances with on- and offline — had mentioned the possibility of transition regret as anything but a right-wing myth.
The more I looked into it, the more I found out that an awful lot of things I thought I knew about being trans were misinformation or, in fact, outright lies. I had unthinkingly accepted so many ideas without hard evidence, not because I didn’t understand the importance of fact-checking, but because I’d become convinced that anecdotes from trans people were “facts” and scientific evidence that in some way failed to support the trans movement were “lies”. I realised that ordinary words had disappeared from my own vocabulary, replaced with language that only made sense to one insular group, language that couldn’t be concisely defined and didn’t adequately explain what I needed to say. I was firm in my beliefs about gender identity and transgenderism but couldn’t actually explain to myself why I felt that way. I was afraid of certain books and websites, and afraid of my own capacity to deviate from the ideas that all of my friends considered to be absolute truth. I was deeply confused, and perturbed by my own inability think anything through to resolve this confusion. It had become impossible to follow a train of thought once it began to stray into territory that I knew other trans community members would never condone.
In 2015 I created an anonymous Tumblr account to reach out to detransitioned and reidentified people. For reasons that will be explained later chapters, it was extremely important to me that the research I was doing was completely confidential. I used a throwaway email address not connected to any of my social media, and in the 12 months I ran the blog, only 1 or 2 of my several hundred followers ever learned my first name. When I became brave enough, I also talked about my own experiences and made posts about free thinking, posts about the inconsistencies in transgender ideology, and many many posts simply tracking the current state of my dysphoria and how unpacking what it really means to be transgender made it, at first, much worse, but then, gradually, almost non-existent.
It took me around a year to learn how to think for myself again. It took another year after that to decide what I wanted to do with the knowledge I’d acquired from my experiences; relatively “inside” knowledge of what I now knew to be a deeply unhealthy community, full of wilful misinformation, emotional manipulation and phobia-inducing, medical malpractice, and widespread protection of rapists and sexual abusers. Throughout 2016, I was working on a pet project focusing on the trans community’s stance on lesbians and the specific way that lesbians'(1) sexual and emotional labour is exploited by trans women. This led to me attempting to write a guide on how to effectively speak with the affected lesbian women without triggering their cognitive dissonance and causing them to be more deeply entrenched in the ideology that was harming them. This guide ultimately failed because I was hitting brick wall after brick wall, realising time and again that the dynamics of the trans community are so obscure and specific that I couldn’t convey them to outsiders who didn’t have any personal experience with them. The depths of fear, guilt, confusion and dissonance experienced by people involved in the trans community just could not be explained without an in-depth analysis of how manipulative groups function. And trying to reach out to women in this community about one specific issue would be pointless without a resource to detail why they were being exploited, and how, and by whom — some kind of evidence that the wrongs that were being done to them weren’t just a freak accident but orchestrated manipulation, because if they didn’t understand that, then what was to stop them being manipulated all over again?
And now, here we are.
Newthoughtcrime isn’t about me, but I want it to be known that I’m real, and I know what it means to be transgender. I’m not here to purposely hurt feelings or cause offense. All I want is to promote healthy community dynamics, honesty, and free thought.
In Part 1, I’ll be debunking myths which are prevalent in the trans community. This part will contain a very clear divide between my own personal opinions, and indisputable, sourced, objective facts. Still, anyone reading is free to agree or disagree with whatever they wish.
In Part 2, I’ll give a detailed explanation of manipulative groups, what they look like and how they function, and sharing Robert Jay Lifton’s 8 Criteria for Thought Reform. This is a list of eight methods used in conjunction with one another to directly influence the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions of individuals under the control or a person or group. These methods can be used within any group environment, whether it is a family, a religious community, an activist organization, a charity, a multi-level marketing scheme, a harem, or anything else you can imagine. When most or all of these traits are found in a group, it has clearly become a space where members are not permitted complete freedom of thought.
Part 3 focuses in the concept of cognitive dissonance, what triggers it, and how to protect ourselves from it. Cognitive dissonance is the state of having one’s inner beliefs conflict with one’s observed reality. When we feel that we are unwilling or unable to change our beliefs to reflect reality, human nature dictates that we will subconsciously change our perception of reality to conform to our beliefs. The only way to protect ourselves from cognitive dissonance is to be willing and able to change our inner beliefs as we learn and grow. As people under the influence of manipulative groups are likely to be punished if their views stray too far from what’s “acceptable”, they may fall victim to cognitive dissonance as they try to rationalise why observed reality does not reflect the group’s ideology.
Part 4 is an explanation of my own personal theory on how manipulative group dynamics manifest throughout various phases of membership of the trans community specifically. Drawing from my own experiences and the testimonies of my detransitioned and reidentified friends, I seek to detail how the concepts explained in Parts 2 and 3 relate specifically to transition and gender identity.
Part 5 is a collection of personal stories from women who formerly identified as transgender, sharing their first-hand experiences of what their time in the trans community was like. These pieces were all requested and volunteered specifically for this project.
Part 6 is currently a work in progress. It will be a thinkpiece-style conclusion, delving into the question of why the trans community has become a manipulative group, and who might benefit from this state of affairs.
What is a manipulative group?
A manipulative group is any group which fits the criteria for using ‘mind control’, an intense form of manipulation wherein the group attempts to alter not only the behaviours of its victims, but also their thoughts and emotions.
The term “manipulative group” does not mean that every person in the group is a manipulator. It only means that the majority of members of the group are being denied freedom of thought.
|Healthy Group||Unhealthy Group|
|New ideas are encouraged||Doctrine is memorized|
|Free to leave at any time||Consequences for leaving|
|Mistakes are forgiven and learned from||Mistakes are shamed and atoned for|
|Requests only as much funding as it needs to function||Funding goes into leaders’ own pockets|
|Disagreement is respected||Disagreement is punished|
|Facts are presented with sources, opinions are presented with reasoning||Facts and opinions are considered valid based only on who is stating them|
|Outside relationships are encouraged||Outsiders are feared|
|Cooperation is encouraged||Permission is required|
The practices of manipulative groups will be described in far more detail in Part 2.
I’d like to close this introduction with some affirmations. I hope my readers will repeat them, and take them to heart.
First, I know who I am. Other people’s opinions about me does not change who I know myself to be.
Second, I know what I believe. I can read and consider the opinions of others without giving them control over me.
Third, I am entitled to privacy. I can be judged by my words and my actions, but nobody can judge me for my thoughts.
Last, thoughts are not dangerous. I can hurt others with my words and my actions, but nobody can be harmed by my thoughts.
Thank you for being here. While reading the following chapters, please feel free to take as many breaks as you need.
Note: Newthoughtcrime is not a resource for the parents or therapists of trans youth and the author does not in any way support or condone diagnosis or treatment of so-called ‘rapid onset gender dysphoria’. Please be respectful.
Footnotes and Citations
- despite being assigned female at birth and identifying as lesbians, many lesbians also identify as trans and are fringe members of the trans community, or are members of a social justice community which focuses heavily on trans rights