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Dr. Ray Blanchard, an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, is a well-noted foe to the trans community. His most recent bad idea that’s gone viral: Anime might be making trans girls transition.
Blanchard is a 73-year-old cis man who was once the head of the Clinical Sexology Services at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, a facility that has come under fire for its “conversion therapy” type tactics, among other problems. He is probably most infamous for coming up with a typology that classifies trans women as either “homosexual transsexuals” or “autogynephilic.” Simply put, he believes trans women are either predominantly attracted to men or predominantly sexually aroused by “becoming” women.
The theory has since haunted trans women, as it conflates the erotic desire to embrace one’s gender identity—which is a universal experience shared by cisgender women—with a fetishistic interest in one’s body. That discredits trans women attracted to other women and centers transitioning around straight trans women, erasing queer trans experiences.
Blanchard has continued to champion the idea over the years, which led him to endorse a Medium essay written by a Twitter user named SocialJusticeWizard recently. In his post, SocialJusticeWizard—who, to be clear, is no fan of social justice—claims trans women are actually “lonely” and “repressed” cis men who develop gender dysphoria because slice-of-life anime makes them realize that they “always wanted to be soft and gentle like [an anime girl], carefree and cheerful like her, enjoy life in its fullest without the heavy chains of masculinity, like her.”
In other words, SocialJusticeWizard thinks trans women are really cis men who want to become women after watching anime.
In reality, trans women are women who are forced to live in a world that assumes sex assigned at birth and gender are one and the same. Some trans women may repress their gender identity until they transition, so media that focuses predominantly on women, like slice-of-life anime, may bring out pre-transition trans women’s repressed feelings and desires. Other trans women may see parts of themselves in anime, feel attraction to certain anime characters, or simply like anime, period—all of which are all perfectly normal experiences.
Blanchard doesn’t see it that way, of course. He’s since slapped his seal of approval onto SocialJusticeWizard’s essay, praising it for introducing “the possible relations among anime, gender dysphoria, and autogynephilia.”
remember when a bunch of right-wing doofuses decided that I was a bad trans and possibly an otherkin because I talk a lot about Korra and JRPGs?— Emily Prince (@emily_esque) November 12, 2018
that’s… that’s now the take of someone held up as an expert in transness
(h/t @quatoria) pic.twitter.com/8jg8sSHxMn
It didn’t take long for trans users to poke fun at Dr. Blanchard.
... Do we even have to take this seriously? pic.twitter.com/s2M9siOJVM— Black Hole Sun Won’t Ya Come.... (@deep_frank) November 13, 2018
"Anime turned my kid trans!"— Coffee Sloth ☕ (@CaseyExplosion) November 12, 2018
This is real. This isn't a parody, it's freaking Whispers blaming anime for making people trans. I can't even, he's beyond parody. pic.twitter.com/XYoDlHBv1e
I have seen some shit takes in recent history, but this takes the shit cake.— Jackson A. (@JacksonA20) November 13, 2018
Anime doesn't make people trans, being born trans makes people trans.— Diese Ellie 🛡 (@SehrLesbisch) November 13, 2018
Wow, so surprising that a white cis man doesn't get why women would gravitate toward media where they are more represented (depending on what they watch) than in the general mainstream 🙄 https://t.co/0cAg6JRxyU
Anime made me trans y'all. We finally got to the bottom of it. pic.twitter.com/UoJel3MyLH— Ashley Cooper (@ashleyjaycooper) November 12, 2018
Some people wonder how Dr. Blanchard is even a practicing doctor and educator if he is willing to endorse “anime made me trans” as a real theory.
Anime makes u trans according to very serious PhD man https://t.co/qYFanGyoSm— Lapis🌹🦋 (@DegenerateThing) November 13, 2018
turns out anyone can get a phd https://t.co/qPIMiYB7g2— lil D the based dog (@BetChaker) November 13, 2018
If you’re a PhD then I’m a Royal Shakespearean actor. https://t.co/F8k0TKSGFB— John “The Dwayne” Rockson (@CrowdDemon) November 12, 2018
I guess I have him to thank for removing any last romance I attached to having a PhD. https://t.co/7BU6SSIJae— Ruksana Faraon (@ruksanafaraon) November 13, 2018
The fact that you receive grant money and worked on the DSM IV and V will forever bewilder me.— Alejandro (@starvinganthro) November 13, 2018
No PhD in any subject will save you from the amount of stupid Im looking at— Chu aint nothin but a hound do (@FatMoonMonster) November 13, 2018
"We don’t have statistic or anything to confirm it (would be a strange thing to research)" https://t.co/JEMYjMLv3K— GENVOKE (@genvoke) November 13, 2018
Playing along with this preposterous theory, trans people are now declaring which anime series made them trans.
“Plaintiff was discriminated against because of her change from her birth-assigned sex, but it was not discrimination on the basis of sex but rather an emphasis on Western roleplaying games over so-called ‘Final Fantasy.’”¹— Emily Prince (@emily_esque) November 12, 2018
¹ The Court observes more than 20 “Final” Fantasy games
TIL Fist of the North Star, Dragon Ball and Robot Carnival made me trans. https://t.co/3nt7RwsG7x— AndreaⓋOdessa (@riboflavinachan) November 13, 2018
in light of the "anime makes people trans" article i'd like to acknowledge that naruto made me get in touch w the ~masculinity~ side of my nb identity and made me feel not so fucking stupid about it so that's that. lmao— naruto-themed blowjob for weed (@exthiccnt) November 13, 2018
i wish somebody could tell me, was it anime or demon possession that made me trans? these are the two opinions of the leading expert in the field and GOSH i'd hate to be one of those BAD trans who doesn't listen to her experts. please, daddy B, am I a demon or an anime, lmk— it doesn't exist⚧ (@quatoria) November 12, 2018
anime tiddies made me trans confirmed— 15 hour nap gang ⚧ 🏳️🌈 (@twitchytails) November 13, 2018
- What it means to be transgender
- What does it mean to be a TERF?
- Breaking down the difference between gender identity and sex
- Trans and nonbinary people explain what gender dysphoria feels like
In other news, Dr. Blanchard has also suggested that the trans community grew as “the goth/emo population died” and has compared transitioning to demonic possession.
“A couple weeks ago, he said that trans people are just goth kids. A little after that, he said that we’re demons. Now we watch too much anime,” one Twitter user wrote. “Someone got grandpa riled up about those gosh darn ‘transgenders’ again.”
Here is Ray Blanchard comparing gender transition to demonic possession. Why does anybody take this guy seriously?? pic.twitter.com/Ae50IubGUm— Georgia Soros (@transegghatcher) October 30, 2018
Yeah he's been spiraling recently tbh pic.twitter.com/AKBGZJGT3t— Being Trans on OKCupid (@BeingTonOKC) October 30, 2018
A couple weeks ago, he said that trans people are just goth kids.— Heather May (@HeatheryBun) November 12, 2018
A little after that, he said that we're demons.
Now we watch too much anime.
Someone got grandpa riled up about those gosh darn "transgenders" again. *sigh* pic.twitter.com/X8udIuyPMT
Perhaps it’s time that we stop letting people who hate trans people call themselves “trans experts” and then give them space to discuss thier “expertise”? Just a thought.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.