This, by Jude Doyle, is horrifying: more email evidence of how the Christian Right is pulling the strings of the anti-trans movement, this time in pushing the narrative of “detrans” people or “detransitioners”, people who undergo (or sometimes just propose to undergo) transition and then change their minds. The piece describes a huge and highly effective media machine that takes care of every detail, right down to writing the words it wants detransitioners to mime.
At the beginning of her gender-critical career, Shupe’s public voice was more or less her own; that is, she actually gave the interviews and wrote the blog posts that appeared under her name. As Shupe entered the world of the Christian right, however, her voice was increasingly retooled or outright manufactured by her handlers.
Sullivan quickly took over Shupe’s public image, instructing her to refer all requests for interviews or public appearances to him. In an email chain dated April 2019, he told her not to talk to a Washington Post reporter he deemed trans-friendly, and directed her to what he called “good Catholic media sources.” In another April 2019 email, Sullivan provided Shupe with what he called an “outline” for an op-ed, along with instructions for pitching: “You should shop it to the main liberal papers offering it to each one for 24 hours before offering it to a new one. After about four or five, you could then offer it to some more ‘conservative’ papers until you get one to bite.” The “outline” provided by Sullivan was a full essay of 1,609 words. One sentence was typed in red, indicating that Shupe should fill in the details herself.
This is clearly happening in the UK too.
If you’re a reader of the (Glasgow) Herald, this bit might jump out at you:
“ADF has some excellent writers familiar with the length and style that appeals to op-ed page editors, who could take even a very rough sketch or outline of thoughts from you—or just talk with you—and then create a draft that I think you will be very happy with.”
The ADF’s Lois McLatchie has popped up in The Herald’s pages several times recently as a columnist, and her columns are very good at what they do; unfortunately what they do is attempt to excuse the inexcusable and wage war on human rights. That The Herald publishes them without context is an indication not just of how effective the ADF’s machine is, but also how debased our journalistic institutions have become.
The piece makes it clear, yet again, that none of this is about “protecting children” or “protecting women”. It’s a religious war.
“I was gradually waking up to the fact that, you know, I was just a useful idiot, are the two words I would use,” Shupe tells me. “I got the vibe that they wanted me to help them, they wanted me to use them, but they wouldn’t trust somebody like me around their kids.”