When gender ideologues use suicide to further their cause, it hurts everyone.
Last week, an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming, US, posted a tweet about one of her students who died by suicide. The tweet, neatly packaged and carefully stated, left people to infer that the suicide was because of the “cruel comments” people had left after an op-ed the student had sent in to a “local newspaper arguing for trans inclusion in high school sports”.
In the mind of the assistant professor, the cruelty of those comments must have led her student to take his/her own life. The academic finishes off with a definitive statement: “These annual “debates” hurt trans people”, leaving no room for doubt that the professor felt the cruel comments were the reason for the suicide.
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This However, oversimplifies the situation and does not give any wider context to the student's circumstances. In fact, in posting this tweet, the academic appears to have abandoned any modicum of sensibility and level-headedness in favour of communicating an ideological message, designed to strike fear into young people who may be confused about their identity and likewise, into family and loved ones who are connected to them.
Communications like this are plenty, on Twitter, Facebook and much of social media; they stir up young minds and usher them into a world of fear and fatalism. They set the scene of a terrifying world, where most people hate them and there is scant hope of escaping the claws of phobic mobs. There is so much wrong with this one tweet, it’s difficult to unpack. But it’s worth doing because the impact of such messages that are widely spread by the incredible reach of Twitter etc (at the time of writing this, the post in question had been viewed 1.2 million times via close to five thousand retweets) is concerning. especially at a time when many young people are struggling to maintain their mental health.
On initial reading of the post, one could be forgiven for recoiling with great sadness and automatically thinking, how sad and how awful that the student went through such an experience and how nasty the comments after his/her article must have been. After all…why would anyone doubt such a statement? The poster is a legitimate ‘assistant professor’, a ‘PhD’ no doubt, with a proper link to an academic profile at a University. All seems in order. Nevertheless, we must ask questions about the legitimacy of the claims and even more fundamentally, about whether it was at all appropriate for this student’s suicide to be used in this manner, or at all.
In their ‘media guidelines’ document, The Samaritans (suicide charity) make it very clear that:
Oversimplification of the causes or perceived ‘triggers’ for a suicide can be misleading … the suggestion that a single circumstance or incident, such as bullying, job loss, relationship breakdown or a bereavement, was the cause increases the risk of contagion. Vulnerable people experiencing similar issues are more likely to over-identify with the deceased when a single reason is given.
While this professor is not part of a media organisation per se, this tweet has now been viewed well over a million times (far more than even some mainstream publications are viewed) and on a public platform like Twitter, is as good as. Reading through that advice from the Samaritans, it’s impossible to see how the professor’s statement is anything other than a grossly irresponsible tweet, apparently capitalising on the tragic death of a student who was clearly vulnerable and fragile. The message is clear - you are likely to be bullied (for identifying as “trans”) and you will probably end your own life.
The inevitability and fatalism these kinds of statements convey is a damning indictment on the attitudes of those who portray themselves as champions and allies of “trans people”. Many times, I have seen these ‘allies’ make comments designed to garner support and sympathy for those identifying as trans, but instead, I can’t help feel that they are deliberately using them (trans-identifying people) for their own gains; to raise their profile and paint themselves as saviours. Certainly, if they really cared, they wouldn’t be milking them to boost their own social status. Even more worryingly, I’ve seen this happen from within the ‘trans’ community itself. For example, India Willoughby once casually suggested, “Anyone telling trans jokes on stage should be made to have a trans woman stood next to them. Just so the audience can see what they’re laughing at.”
Willoughby appears to be happy for a sacrificial lamb to be used to argue a point. A point which is continually driven home by him and many other activists, chiefly, that they are the ‘most marginalised’ group in society. Note how Willoughby doesn’t offer himself up for the task, but someone else.
This last issue, of being mocked and attacked etc, leads me onto how the professor left things hanging; the idea that the comments - left by people after an article by the student in support of ‘trans-inclusion’ in sports - were precisely what had led to the student to end his/her own life. Giving the benefit of the doubt, there is the possibility that this is not what the professor was aiming to convey to the general public. However, that is how it came across and consequently there are questions that go unanswered.
All the same, the act of pondering these questions in a public arena would risk falling into the trap of speculating on this person’s life and thoughts which flies in the face of Samaritans advice and is surely a distasteful way to treat someone after a major tragedy like this. Indeed, the other major problem with the professor’s actions, is the seemingly unethical way she took it upon herself to post about the student; with no apparent permission from the family (or their knowledge even) and certainly no apparent clearance from the University.
Even in higher education, there remains a power dynamic, between teacher and student and thus a professional boundary. An act like this, blurs those boundaries. Assuming the University has a duty of care to students who may well be vulnerable, emotionally and mentally, it is alarming that this lecturer is, with impunity, firmly deflecting the blame from the University and its staff, elsewhere and this is not an isolated incident.
What is clear, is there is always a swirl of complex issues and events going on in a person’s life around the time of ending their own life. There will almost certainly have been a history of difficulties and a lengthy build up to the event and while one particular element could be cited as the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’, it would be profoundly wrong to broadcast to the world, that this particular straw was the one reason (whatever the reason) for someone’s suicide.
I have previously written about the way activists weaponise suicide to garner support for their ideological cause and to persuade parents, teachers and health professionals to instantly affirm children and young people’s claimed identities, without question. Poor mental health, leading to suicide is an ongoing issue and without doubt, for many, it is the burning issue of the day. According to The Children’s Society, UK, one in six children aged 5-16 likely to have a mental health problem and women aged 17-22 are the group most at risk of developing a mental health problem. More so, while we know that men are at most risk of suicide, the rates of women attempting suicide are also very high.
Therefore, it is essential that when a suicide occurs, everyone who is directly impacted by it, whether through family, socially or professionally, the utmost care is taken to support those affected most and to minimise the shockwaves felt by the surrounding community.
In the Samaritans media guidelines, it goes onto say this:
Steer clear of presenting suicidal behaviour as an understandable response to a crisis or adversity. This can contribute to unhelpful and risky normalising of suicide as an appropriate response to distress.
The more I read the tweet by the professor, the more wrong it becomes. In one fell swoop, the tweet…
speculated on a person’s suicide
attributed one specific reason for the act
publicised it to the world via a widely used public platform…
…and seemingly enjoyed the attention for which the tweet received to the tune of 1.2 million people
firmly pointed the finger of (unsubstantiated) blame at one particular group
potentially exacerbated mental health problems for many others and increased the risk of contagion
possibly broke the university’s social media guidelines
Never mind that the professor’s profile is open and the links to her department are all conveniently available, making it very easy for this student to be identified by anyone curious enough to go digging for more information. This all seems like an appalling way to behave over such a deeply traumatic and sensitive issue for so many people who are, likely experiencing mental health difficulties at the moment.
This is a concern (activists pushing an ideological agenda) that Universities and organisations really need to get a grip on, urgently. Far from helping those they are so eager to be seen supporting, they are very much a part of the problem; driving common, misinformed narratives which spread fear and contagion and which serve to normalise suicide.
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It seems, in writing this and suggesting that some people's (and organisations') focus is making things worse and contributing to a contagion, has hugely annoyed certain activists.
My bottom line here, is that a very dangerous narrative is being spoon fed to (maybe) dysphoric children and young people, that if their 'identity' is not welcomed and affirmed by all those around them (loved ones, family, friends etc), then they will most likely be suicidal or worse.
This is a new tactic. The use of suicide to motivate people via fear, to accept and affirm these 'identities' unquestioningly.
Activists propagate this narrative like it's just what happens. But it hasn't always been like this.
Throughout history, various groups of people, Jewish people, black people, religious people, lesbians and gays, have had their 'identities' comprehensively rejected. They have been cancelled, rejected, mocked, murdered and hugely oppressed but the idea that this all led many of them to end their lives by suicide does not feature...because that wasn't an issue.
Even if it were an issue, it was clear that suicide was a delicate subject and ought not to be thrown about so casually and carelessly.
But now, now we see in all of the literature put out by trans-supportive organisations, the regular use of suicide statistics. Language which warns about suicide and relentlessly mentions the idea.
These organisations and groups behave as if, to identify as trans and to be part of that group, is to be not only "the most marginalised" now...but "the most marginalised in history"; as if suicide is inevitable, or as the Samaritans put it, 'an understandable response' to an awful situation. It is exactly *that*, that makes things worse and brings a rationale to suicide. What we really need to be doing, is steering them away from that and saying, it doesn't have to be like this.
No civil rights group or religious group I know if, in history, have behaved like this, used suicide, like this. It is a new tactic and it's feeding into a new wave of mental health issues across the world.
It's sick, it's vile and it needs to stop. These people need help, not encouragement (to live up to the suicidal standards being preached).
I see a lot of people saying that transition is what leads to suicide most of the time and that it is impossible for people to be happy after transitioning (and in this case I am referring to people who began as adults). Do you take issue with this?
Blaire White and Buck Angel have transitioned as adults and are happy with their decisions. They have undergone breast implants/top surgery, Blaire has had facial feminization surgery, both have used hormones to transition. Both will tell you that they are happy with all of it. But I still see people saying that everyone who does this will regret it and become "another statistic" because of it.