The Corner

PC Culture

Twitter Mob Attacks Transgender YouTube Star

(Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

In a profile of Natalie Wynn, a.k.a ContraPoints, a socialist transgender (male to female) YouTube star, The Economist wrote that “Ms. Wynn’s 21st century weapons are social media and videos, where she flamboyantly yet thoughtfully argues for freedom and tolerance.” Wynn’s channel has over 700,000 subscribers and more than 20 million views in total. The most popular videos are discussions about Incels and Jordan Peterson. The videos are entertaining and thought-provoking, if also a little creepy and weird. Wynn told The Economist:

I try to swim against the current as much as possible when it comes to the tribalism that defines the way people do politics on social media, and I try to present myself as an individual and humanistic voice. I’m interested in people, not just factions. I don’t just want to show how somebody might be wrong, I want to know why people believe the things they believe in the first place. I want to understand the mindset that would lead somebody toward the alt-right.

And so I tend to be somewhat evasive when I’m asked to nail myself down to one ideological position, because I like to keep myself free and open. I think the way people on the left do things is really ineffective and terrible.

If I swap the word “alt-right” with “authoritarian left,” and “people on the left” with “people on the right,” I find I have more in common with Wynn than may make either of us comfortable. Still, as a social media influencer depending on the approval of progressives, Wynn’s position is far more precarious. Something she now knows only too well.

Wynn ran into trouble this week after she explored — with characteristic self-reflection, nuance, and irony — a particular contradiction in trans culture. The original post she shared was from another trans person. It read:

Sometimes it’s funny when you’re the only trans person in a space where everyone is announcing their pronouns. Like it gets to you and a hush falls over the room and you can just like check your phone because cis* ppl need to be working on their pronouns game.

*“cis” is short for cisgender, which is trans lingo for non-trans.

Noting this observation, Wynn then wrote the following thread: 

  • This has happened to me before in hyperwoke spaces. Like it’s me and a bunch of cis women and we all have to go in a circle saying “she/her” because I’m there.

  • I guess it’s good for people who use they/them only and want only gender neutral language. But it comes at the minor expense of semi-passable transes like me and that’s super f****ng hard for us.

However, for observing the counter-productiveness of the pronouns game and the “minor expense” it causes people who simply want to get on with their lives, the Twitter mob rose up in fury and, summoning all its wrath, did smite ContraPoints! Though it was futile, she tried to explain herself in another thread:

  • Y’all who’re mad about this thread – I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a norm of disclosing pronouns in trans positive spaces, and I’m happy [to] give up having my gender assumed to help NB*/non-passing trans ppl. But why can’t I at least acknowledge this hurts more than helps me?

*“NB” is short for non-binary, which is trans lingo for someone who identifies as neither exclusively male nor female.

  • Not all trans people have the same needs, and some of the rules that trans people have taught woke cis people to follow lead [me to] be misgendered (“they”) and interrogated about my gender more often. Why can’t I point that out? Can’t a trans [person] vent on Twitter.com?

The answer is no. For the one-thousandth time: There is no trans heterodoxy allowed on Twitter. Of course, being as smart as she is, Wynn figured this out for herself and deleted her account.

Madeleine Kearns is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute. She is from Glasgow, Scotland, and is a trained singer.

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