Yet experienced professionals are increasingly scared

This isn’t how it’s done:

Critical thinking and open debate are pillars of scientific and medical research. Yet experienced professionals are increasingly scared to openly discuss their views on the treatment of children questioning their gender identity. This was the conclusion drawn by Hilary Cass in her review of gender identity services for children this week, which warned that a toxic debate had resulted in a culture of fear.

Why are the professionals scared? Why is the debate toxic? Why is there a culture of fear?

We all know. We’ve been watching it for years. It’s because of the staggering level of bullying that the rah-rah-trans side goes in for.

Her conclusion was echoed by doctors, academic researchers and scientists, who have said this climate has had a chilling effect on research in an area that is in desperate need of better evidence.

Some said they had been deterred from pursuing what they believed to be crucial studies, saying that merely entering the arena would put their reputation at risk. Others spoke of abuse on social media, academic conferences being shut down, biases in publishing and the personal cost of speaking out.

It’s another loop of futility. The area desperately needs better evidence but can’t get it because they will be fiercely punished if they try, so the area needs better evidence even more desperately, and on the cycle goes. The area was founded on nonsense and is enforced by inquisitors, so the nonsense keeps getting more nonsensical and the inquisitors keep getting more ferocious and dishonest.

Another senior researcher in endocrinology, who wished to remain anonymous, said medical professionals had resorted to sharing concerns and views on anonymous WhatsApp groups.

“The bad-mouthing and the social media destruction of people’s reputation and careers is so damning,” the academic said. “Professional people are worried about how they will be characterised on social media and cannot express dissent without it resulting in very aggressive, inappropriate behaviours. It’s causing people to stop talking and just move away from it and not get involved.”

She added: “This isn’t how good scientific debate happens – it happens when people can talk honestly and without fear.”

So the debate will continue to get worse and worse and worse, and thus more ferociously enforced, and thus worse again, rinse and repeat.

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