I hear this a bunch in my discussions with people on Twitter. Usually of the radfem persuasion though some claim they’re not radical feminists, all the while touting radical feminists nonsense such as “male violence”. Trans cult is no different, its a buzzword they invented to make fun of trans. Why? Because they believe it’s a cult. I’m about to show you how it isn’t.
Luckily for me, I watch a lot of YouTube videos and stuff like that. I like the intellectual and over thinking kind of stuff, so MatPat’s “Film Theory” channel was right up my alley. In his series he did a video on how Christian Grey of 50 Shades fame actually behaves like a cult leader. MatPat lists the 8 defining characteristics of a cult and compares them against it, showing Grey’s true colours. I’ll be doing the same here, thanks MatPat!
Step 1: The cult recruiter gets the target to say yes to an non-threatening event.
You could easily argue that the attendance of a gender clinic is this. You’re referred to, then invited by the clinic, a yes here is a yes to a non-threatening event. So we can easily tick this box.
As MatPat argues – a cult can’t just come out and say they’re a cult, they have to lure you into it. Doing something normal like a coffee in the instance of 50 Shades or an invitation to a therapy session would definitely be the best option.
Though on the flipside, trans people who attend these invitations tend to have sought it out initially. Its very unlikely you’d be reached out to by a gender clinic first, you always have to make the first step. In my story I remember going to my doctor and asking him for a referral to the services because I was pretty done being an alcoholic loser who could barely function. This makes this point more vague, and until you’re offered treatments – there are no opportunities for that “yes”. Therapy doesn’t focus on offering you stuff until enough evidence has been collected for a diagnosis.
This box gets a tick, but only because they do in fact, offer treatments that are non-threatening. You’re not going to be in any real danger from dropping some hormone therapy pills. So this sort of counts.
Step 2: The LoveBomb.
This step is all about positive reinforcement. Its a psychological trick that makes you associate happy and good feelings with X. X in the case of 50 Shades being Christian, and in the case of trans being – I guesss… being trans?
In 50 Shades Christian showers Ana with gifts. In real life, there’s a lot of love and support from the trans community for trans people. Sometimes unending love. Though this also exists on every single teenage girls Facebook photos too – are teenage girls cult leaders?
Our society as a whole favours positive reinforcement to negative, because it makes us feel good. Movements such as body positivity etc are set up purposely for this reason. However with trans, this doesn’t happen across the board. I’m hardly “showered with love” for being trans – the vast majority of my trans related experiences come from Twitter. Where I get the inspiration to write these posts about how much people hate me from.
Being trans doesn’t guarantee you a love bomb, and I’ve been shouted out by other trans people before too. This box gets no tick.
Step 3: Dangling the prize right in front of you.
In the case of 50 Shades, the prize isn’t as MatPat suggests, just about his penis. It’s about him, the prize is him. Join the cult, be my girlfriend! Point being that Christian constantly dangles his affection and love for Ana just out of reach making her want to try and get it all the more. Can we say the same for trans? What’s the prize?
I suppose you could argue its happiness. Dysphoria is a bitch and its a common goal of the vast majority of transsexual people to minimise it to make way for happiness. We could argue this is our prize, but is it really dangled in front of us by anyone? I wouldn’t say so.
Dysphoria comes from within your own self, its a fundamental feeling of discomfort with one’s physical body and the way they are socially perceived. This splits “gender dysphoria” into two categories, physical dysphoria and social dysphoria. None of these can be minimised by anyone else’s efforts, only by your own. Nor do these come from any where else and neither are they prohibited from you by other people.
I live a largely dysphoria free life at this point. As the Tim Minchin song goes, its not perfect, but it’s mine, and I worked really blood hard of my own volition to get to this point.
Another tickless box.
Step 4 Getting an agreement that they want the prize.
If the prize is minimisation of dysphoria and happiness, then an agreement to this prize could take the form of taking your medication every day. So this box can easily get a tick.
Step 5 Shutting down dissent by threatening to withhold the prize.
I’ve kinda seen this happen before. It’s not unusual for parents to be told that if their child doesn’t transition it will kill itself. That’s no good, and of course, no parent would allow this to happen. Of course they would take their child in to get all the help, that’s what parents do.
However this doesn’t happen with adults so much, no doctor ever told me I would kill myself if I didn’t transition. So this box can only really get half a tick at best.
Step 6 The establishment of guilt.
MatPat eloquently describes this as “shaming them for not valuing the cult, its efforts or the leader enough”.
There isn’t a cult leader of trans people. Nor are there really “efforts” as a monolithic group the way you see with cults. We’re all just individual people, the only thing we inherently have in common is that we’re trans. That’s no more similar to all women being the same, or all men being the same. Though, that’s part of the rad fem ideology, so its kinda unsurprising this is how they see it.
Step 7 The carrot and the stick.
“Behaviour is reinforced by rewarding good behaviour and punishing bad behaviour”
In the context of trans, the behaviour isn’t punished. You’re free to behave however you like, and trans people do. We have trans people in porn, construction, politics, the media. We have people like Blaire White as well as people like Milo Stewart. There’s no one kind of behaviour that seems to be inherently promoted for trans people over the others. Again, its almost like we’re all just individuals or something…
Step 8 Controlling the identity, information and environment.
This doesn’t happen in trans circles either. There are trans people with identities which vary hugely, see the examples above. There is total freedom of information – we’re able to go look up and take part in the discussion freely. The same way I do every day on my Twitter – you’ll even see that I tend to disagree with other trans people pretty often. Nor is our environment controlled either.
In extreme cults this means moving into a commune but in less extreme circumstances it could just be the people you surround yourself with. Trans people don’t all know each other though, and nobody is guiding our environment for push us together either. Meaning this box doesn’t get a tick.
So there you have it. Trans cult debunked. That was easy. Allow me to use this space to shill my friend’s artwork, because she’s smart, gorgeous and funny. Please go give her a like and I’ll love you forever, if you don’t then I might just have to block you or something I guess. What? You clearly don’t appreciate the work I do here, why should you reap the benefits? Well if you do… all you have to do is say yes to clicking here and giving her a follow… It’s just one yes guys… what’s the harm?