Last Sunday, left-wing whistleblower and congressional candidate Chelsea Manning tweeted an alarming message to her 324,000 followers. The tweet read “im sorry” and included a photo of what appeared to be her feet, standing on the ledge of a building with a view of the street below. That tweet was deleted and replaced shortly after midnight on Monday with the following message:
** chelsea is safe. she is on the phone with friends, thanks everyone for your concern and please give her some space
Another tweet implored people to contact the Trans Lifeline or the Trevor Project if they or someone they know is “in crisis.” For the fascists of the alt-right movement this was a moment to celebrate. Transgender people — especially ones aligned with antifa — are universally loathed by white nationalists.
On Gab, a Twitter knock-off that’s even friendlier to white supremacists than the original, alt-right accounts rejoiced and urged Manning to commit suicide. Chief among them was Christopher Cantwell, who just last year filmed himself tearfully complaining about the warrant that was issued for his arrest. In that video Cantwell mentioned Manning by name, and referred to her as a “tranny fanatic.”
Cantwell frequently attacks transgender people on his Radical Agenda podcast, routinely and falsely calling them “mentally ill.” In one episode from September 2016 he said transgender people were “lucky” that “we haven’t fuckin’ rounded you up and put you into [concentration] camps.” During that same episode a caller told Cantwell he has “trouble looking at a … tranny and not wanting to just break their neck right there.”
On the May 28, 2018 episode of his show, titled “Jump,” Cantwell mocked Manning’s suicidal tweet and interviewed anti-transgender activist Walt Heyer about so-called “sex change regret.” Heyer himself transitioned from male to female and back again, having been misdiagnosed as suffering from gender dysphoria. Today the 77-year-old runs the website Sex Change Regret and authors transphobic screeds for websites like The Federalist and the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal.
Heyer’s career centers around promoting the discredited idea that most transgender people who transition experience regret after the fact. While detransitioning does occur, it’s a more complicated matter than Heyer makes it out to be. Another unsupported claim made by Heyer is that no one is really transgender, but rather such individuals suffer from several untreated mental illnesses.
Heyer told Cantwell that “the real truth is people who identify and say they’re transgender are suffering from some form of mental illness, either it’s emotional, psychological, or sexual.” He added that for 50 years “they’ve been trying to prove that there’s a transgender gene and there isn’t one” — and therefore there is no such thing as being transgender.
“So we’re experimenting with peoples’ emotions where the reason why somebody like [Chelsea] Manning and other transgenders [sic] wanna attempt suicide is because we’re affirming them, and not providing effective psychotherapy for the vast number of mental disorders that most of them suffer from,” he continued.
“And those disorders are body dysmorphic disorder, dissociative disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and many other emotional and psychological disorders that never get treated because alls we’re doin’ is affirming these poor saps, and as a result of that they have no treatment for the actual disorder that’s causing them to behave in these bizarre ways.”
And, according to Heyer, the medical issues faced by transgender people are actually a “political tool” used by politicians to “fund raise” and “aggravate our school systems” — presumably by allowing children to use the restrooms that match their gender identity.
“And so we’re destroying kids’ lives, I mean adults who identify as a transgender person ages 25 and above attempt suicide at a rate above 40%,” he said. “The young children that are bein’ encouraged in our schools to change genders and not even tell their parents, attempt suicide at a rate of 50%.” It’s unclear how Heyer thinks children “change genders” in school without their parents’ knowledge, or where he gets his statistics from.
Another theory of Heyer’s is that male-to-female transgender individuals transition due to “autogynephilia” — that is, a male’s arousal at seeing himself as a female. The theory was proposed by Ray Blanchard in the 1980s and — in spite of its lack of mainstream acceptance as an explanation for male-to-female transitioning — pushed heavily by Christian extremists and trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs).
In short, it’s used to brush aside transwomen as men with perverted desires.
“So they all have something going on,” Heyer told Cantwell, “and no one wants to talk publicly, like I do on television about autogynephilia or transvestic fetishism, which is a fetish where they actually fall in love with themselves as they see themselves in cross-gender clothing, and it becomes their sexual arousal.”
“Wow,” Cantwell exclaimed, no doubt eager to buy anything Heyer told him that would invalidate the existence of transgender people. After the interview concluded, Cantwell once again mocked Manning by playing Kriss Kross’ 1992 hit song “Jump.”