For an organization that refers to itself as an “ongoing champion of free expression,” an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyer has now chosen a strange hill to die on: stopping the circulation of books and ideas.
The statement came from Chase Strangio, a lawyer with the nonprofit group, and was made in the context of the lawyer being transgender and their harsh criticism of a book written by Abigail Shrier on the rise of transgender transitioning and regret of some of those who transitioned at an early age.
Whether this is ACLU’s official position remains unclear at this point, but Strangio’s stance is clear: Shrier’s book is dangerous because it might cause a debate and lead somebody to think they may not be transgender after all.
Strangio wants to fight ideas and stop the circulation of books and that is the hill they will die on.
Instead of debating or putting forward arguments against Shrier’s work, Strangio is instead supporting the complete suppression of the ideas.
If that is indeed also the ACLU’s chosen hill, it would represent a sharp u-turn from the organization’s declared, and in the past upheld, goal of defending and preserving the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person.
In fact, a paper published on its website detailing ACLU’s position on freedom of expression mentions that the ACLU “offers several books on the subject of freedom of expression.” It’s unlikely that any of them advocate for banning other books, though – no matter how controversial the subject, since the ACLU in the past stood up for the right to free speech even of Nazis and the KKK.
But any exploration of transgenderism that is not affirming and promoting it seems to be untouchable, while the ACLU itself has been coming under criticism lately on other issues, and is now seen by many as turning into the very thing that it fought against for decades.
Shrier has written about the attempts to get her ideas suppressed:
“The efforts to block my reporting have been legion, starting with staff threats at a publishing house, which quickly reversed its original intention to publish my book. Once I obtained a stalwart publisher, Regnery, Amazon refused to allow that company’s sales team to sponsor ads on its site. (Amazon allows sponsored ads for books that uncritically celebrate medical transition for teenagers)…
Because the book tackles an interesting phenomenon, a number of established journalists wanted to review it….[T]he issue has created surprising bedfellows. Religious conservatives are concerned about the trend—but so are lesbians, who look upon the shocking numbers of teen girls transitioning with abject alarm. Many suspect that all this transitioning of girls is effectively euthanizing a generation of young lesbians….In any case, every major newspaper and legacy magazine summarily turned interested journalists down.”
Meanwhile, Shrier’s book, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” recently got removed from Target when the company acted on a report coming from an anonymous Twitter account and reinstated it soon after Reclaim The Net contacted Target over the censorship.
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