Abigail Shrier: Trans Activists, Cancel Culture, and the Future of Free Expression

The Irreversible Damage author talks about getting deplatformed from Target and her support for gender-reassignment interventions.


Abigail Shrier's Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters was one of last year's most celebrated—and condemned—books. It showed up in year-end lists of top books but was also banned by Target and her publisher was disallowed from buying ads at Amazon.*

"Abigail Shrier's book is a dangerous polemic with a goal of making people not trans," wrote an American Civil Liberties Union attorney on Twitter. "We have to fight these ideas which are leading to the criminalization of trans life again."

A lawyer by training, Shrier says she fully supports the rights of adults to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. But she's concerned that teenage girls are making irrevocable changes to their bodies that in coming years they might wish they could reverse.

In a new paperback edition of Irreversible Damage, Shrier follows up on several of the women she spoke with and details her experiences of being deplatformed.*

Reason's Nick Gillespie spoke with Shrier about the controversy over her book, the Streisand effect, and the future of free expression in an increasingly polarized cultural landscape.

*CORRECTION: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that Irreversible Damage had been banned at Amazon. The platform never stopped offering the book for sale but its publisher, Regnery, was not allowed to buy ads and other promotions for it on the site.

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  1. It showed up in year-end lists of top books but was also banned by Amazon, Target, and other retailers.

    Book burning, like flag burning is protected speech.

    1. Book burning is a violation of the NAP. Carbon emissions, madafakah!

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  2. ACLU is now for fighting insufficiently woke ideas

    1. It has been, intermittently, for its entire history. It has, also for most of its history, done good work defending civil liberties.

      Unlike the SPLC, which was always a scam.

      1. They avoid 2A cases because they know who butters their bread.

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  3. Bitter clingers culture war losers. In before Kirkland.

  4. Cold Facts;

    1) “Gender Reassignment Surgery” is a fraud.

    2) The hormone therapy given to persons declaring themselves to be Trans is nowhere near as safe as is being claimed.

    3) There is a good deal of money being made in the Transgender fad, and too little examination of that fact.

    4) (speculative but pretty certain) When the Trans fad blows up of its internal idiocies, the backlash is going to primarily hit the unfortunate mutilated victims, and the profiteers will go on to the next fad largely unscathed.

    1. 4)a) The rest of us will likely be left with the vague half-defined stupidity that’s being woven into law in their wake. Still have yet to hear how an individual can identify as gay/straight without knowing the gender of their partner(s) at any given moment. Can Masterpiece Bakery refuse to bake a cake for a straight, trans wedding?

      1. If they were smart, they’d make shitty cakes for customers they don’t want.

    2. Planned Parenthood really stepped into the transition business, because they needed an extra income stream, when the youth became a little less promiscuous and government funding for abortion stopped growing as fast.

      They had access to female teens, practitioners without ethics, and clinics that needed to be filled. Now they’re the largest providers of medication-based transition services, mostly paid by taxpayers.

      It’s a real scam, like Christian charities encouraging illegal border crossings to get paid for providing migrant shelters.

    3. yeah, it is money, money, money.

      There are problems with a “private” (scare quotes intended and in full effect) health care system. Maybe there are problems with this trans-centric view of medicine in England, too (don’t know), but these problems are all but inevitable in the US. There is a chance to make good money. Many will take that opportunity, even if it is in violation of their Sacred Oath.

      We call these people “entrepreneurs” and, at least as a general category, they are viewed favorably by Fonz and his Reason.Com.

  5. Estrogeneration Y

  6. “In a new paperback edition of Irreversible Damage, Shrier follows up on several of the women she spoke with and details her experiences of being deplatformed and, in the case of Amazon, replatformed.”

    Darn it. I’m disappointed Jeff Bezos did the right thing, then backed down.

    I’d much rather live in a perfect left-libertarian world in which hateful screeds like Shrier’s cannot secure wide distribution — or better yet, cannot even find a publisher. Then we Koch / Reason libertarians would say “Don’t like it? Build your own publishing company and bookstore chain.”

    1. Of course there’s another option: government censorship. Reason contributor Noah Berlatsky has persuasively argued that hate speech does not deserve First Amendment protection. And surely anti-trans bigotry qualifies as hate speech.

      Hopefully when Biden expands the Supreme Court to at least 13 members, this country will move away from First Amendment absolutism.


      1. So is it bigotry or hate speech? Why do you need to cover your tracks so widely? If either of those things are operative then present an argument for either which you have not done yet.

      2. Who determines the definition of hate speech?
        You post is offensive to me. Should you be fined or should you be sentenced to jail time?

    2. ^When an attempt at parody ends up parodying itself.

  7. It sound like she’d be more at home at Stormfront, or Fox News, or OAN, or one of the other platforms that caters to stale-thinking right-wing bigots.

    Anyway, the Amazon ban was overstated and it is being reported that the Target ban lasted for one day.

    Carry on, clingers. So far and so long as your betters permit, that is.

    1. Now, Art, do you finally understand why I must correct you every time you type “ladyparts” when you really mean “uterus”?


      1. birthing person interior organs. dammit.

  8. Minors should not transition. They are too young to take such a large risk with their bodies.

    1. But how will the mother become a social media sensation if she can’t transition her six year old, and doesn’t have the genetic gifts to get likes on instagram the usual way?

      1. She wants her kid to be the first girl on the block to have her breasts shaved and her vagina exflated into a penis.

      2. Gender dysphoria by proxy?

        Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

        1. Munchausen by proxy is scary shit; in fact after working in health care for decades it concerns me more than anything because you have a sick fuck who plays out their fuckness on a helpless child whom they have access to and control over 24/7. They die a long and painful death, and the perpetrator covers it very well.

          I see the power of suggestion at work with the “trans fad,” and I believe many persons conclude “Oh, that’s my problem, I need to be a boy/girl IO of girl/boy” and they can proceed along that path, genuine or not, largely unhampered in the current idiotic environment. I hadn’t thought about MBP playing a part in this, but it is a perfect opportunity for someone to torture and fuck up their kids in truly inventive ways.

    2. Nonsense. 6 year olds are plenty mature enough to take hormones and cut off their dicks or tits. Just like 16 year olds are plenty mature enough to vote. However, you have to be 21 to smoke a cigarette or place a bet on a horse because you are far too stupid and immature to comprehend the risks involved in those decisions before that age. And you can’t be expected to obtain your own health insurance until the age of 26, because as we all know, the human brain is not fully developed until at least 25 years of age. Follow THE SCIENCE™!

      1. I remember back in the early 2000s there was a study released that showed that children’s brains weren’t close to fully developed into well after legal adulthood. Criminal justice advocates seized upon this and were all over NPR (back when I listened) declaring that no young person could possibly be held responsible for their crimes because they were clearly incapable of even making basic rational decisions. Because SCIENCE!

        Interesting how much things have changed.

        1. Being a leftist means a willingness to accept two completely opposed positions simultaneously. So none of that is shocking.

          1. Cram it traitor

        2. NPR (back when I listened); you too? I turned them off in 2016, after being an avid listener for nigh on 30 years.

          1. Same here. I had it on the day after the election the hysteria was unbelievable. Tuned in a couple more times to see if cooler heads might prevail. Nope. Not even a preset on the car radio since then.

  9. Isn’t it a little strange how support for children transitioning sexes went from “is that a real thing?” to “you’re a bigot if don’t endorse this!”in about 15 seconds?

    1. YES! For me, the day of realization of the depth of this insanity was the day celebrity Jesse Thorn tweeted about it at length. I was not shocked by what Jesse said and thought, but was dumbfounded by the support his extreme views garnered. There were critics to be sure (and some of them were mean), but it was the supporters that blew me away with respect to numbers and apparaent strength of conviction. The BIG YIKES moment!

      1. I wish they would give people a break. If “silence is violence” and I’m supposed to make some decision to support this or not, could I at least have the time to read the dozen books and research papers with interviews and studies before I get called out for crimes against humanity?

        Jesus Christ these people are demanding and vindictive.

        1. It is a lot like a religious movement; initially it is prosecuted, then increasingly tolerated and accepted, and then becomes orthodox and is itself intolerant of heretics and apostates. Very similar to Christianity between the fourth and sixth centuries. Before you know it you go from being a good and tolerant guy to being burned at the stake for not embracing the new rubrics heart and soul and participating in the stoning of those who do not.

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  12. Semi-anonymous here, so I suppose I can finally state my opinion without fear of physical violence.

    I am in agreement with Shrier. Adults can do what they want, but stop reassigning genders (which is synonymous with reassigning sex) in children. They’re not old enough to make that decision, and the parents don’t have the right to make it for them.

    With two exceptions. First, in cases of actual intersex individuals. This has been routine for half a century, it’s just not discussed. And the surgery happens in infancy and most never even know it was performed on them. The other exception is those very rare cases where there is actual medical danger. I’m not going to list them, I’m just leaving open in case there is. What is NOT excepted is the idea that a confused teenager gets to have a surgical sex reassignment and lifelong hormone treatments because they *might* have psychological issues. I might feel I’m Napoleon, that doesn’t make it true, and certainly doesn’t necessitate a medical procedure to turn me into a five foot Frenchmen.

    It’s a rare problem but it is a problem, and needs to be addressed rationally rather than on the basis of feelz.

    Now go ahead and attack me for not feelzing your feelz.

    1. Social and mass media like trends, and clicks and likes; they are all in on this, no matter how misguided it is. We have to have to courage to speak the truth, especially when it is not “popular” because truth seldom is.

  13. If her ideas are wrong, then people should be able to explain why they are wrong. Trans is a concept which is new to the public and it has not adjusted to the idea that inner self-identity is vital to mental health. However, we cannot grasp the concept if we suppress discussion. When surgery is involved, caution is prudent.

    There is a similar concept with being Gay. One does not have to shout from the roof tops that they’re Gay as soon as they discover. While being Gay is good thing, but there is nothing wrong with thinking. There is nothing wrong with asking older Gays about impact on family. That does not mean the family gets a veto. It merely means that truly important life events, like marriage, having a child, or coming out merit some thought. We should not suppress discussion.

    1. If ‘inner self-identity’ is vital to mental health Then why should anyone question it? A person’s mental health should be the overiding value.

      If being gay is a good thing then that is all we need to know. Questions about family impacts are just that. They are questions about side issues and not about the fundamental importance to the mental health of their self-identity.

      You are saying that mental health should be the overiding value and how someone protects their mental health should not be questioned. The same could be said of trans people. Their overiding value should not be questioned but that is exactly what many in society want to do. They want to challenge the notion that self-identity is beyond question.

      This questioning applies to gay people as well. We should be free to question anyone’s values. If someone’s values cannot be questioned then neither can mine and my values include the importance of asking questions about the behaviour of others in society.

  14. I hope this is the same kind of mass hysteria we had when Janet Reno built a career on satanic daycares and repressed memories that ultimately were discredited and mocked. Of course the world wasn’t ruled by twitter back then.

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