Protesters decry Hebrew edition launch of book criticizing ‘transgender craze’

Hundreds rally outside event for US writer Abigail Shrier’s ‘Irreversible Damage,’ which says gender dysphoria caused by peer pressure

Members of the LGBT community and supporters participate in a protest march in support of the transgender community, in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Illustrative: Members of the LGBTQ community and supporters participate in a protest march in support of the transgender community, in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Hundreds of demonstrators protested in Ramat Gan on Sunday against the launch of the Hebrew edition of “Irreversible Damage,” a controversial book that says gender dysphoria is the result of peer pressure.

US author Abigail Shrier attended the sold-out event hosted by the conservative publishing house Sella Meir as about 300 protesters waved pride flags and Israeli flags and chanted outside, according to the Ynet news site.

Video from the scene showed demonstrators waving Pride flags, transgender flags and Israeli flags while beating drums and chanting LGBTQ slogans.

An earlier event had been canceled in Tel Aviv after the venue said it was made aware of the book’s controversial content. Shrier said on Twitter that two of Israel’s largest retailers refused to carry the book.

Inside, an activist interrupted Shrier’s presentation, yelling: “I am not a disease, I am a person,” before being dragged from the hall by security.

Sella Meir thanked the author for conducting a dialogue on her book that “analyzes a disturbing phenomenon that reaches every Israeli parent.”

“In spite of massive protests, we had an incredible turnout tonight and the spirited, raucous dialogue that Israel is known for,” Shrier said.

“Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” was originally published in 2020. Shrier claimed that “biological girls” identify as male and seek gender therapy due to social pressures.

She charged that such a phenomenon was rare until recently, and offered advice to parents to “protect their daughters” from the so-called trend.

The book faced immediate criticism from LGBTQ activists and the medical community, who accused Shrier of spreading misinformation and endangering young transgender people by framing their identity as a mental illness.

Amy Roseman, a protest organizer in Israel who underwent a gender-affirming process, said it was important to demonstrate against the book because it aims “to convince parents to not accept their transgender children.”

“It’s a book that is full of lies. Inside it, there is an attempt to import ideas from overseas, which are foreign to the political dialogue in Israel. It’s something that has no place here and is full of hate,” Roseman told Ynet. “The book promotes the idea that transgenderism is something that can be cured. We speak a lot about conversion therapy. It leads to depression, suicide, mental illness, and a lot of pain that can be prevented if parents only accept their children.”

Labor MK Gilad Kariv drew a link between the protest against the “transphobic and LGBTQ-phobic” book and demonstrations against the government’s controversial judicial overhaul push, citing Sella Meir’s publishing of texts by Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman, one of the architects of the legislation.

“This attack costs the lives of young people, and we cannot remain silent,” Kariv said.

Since its release in 2020, the text has been translated into nine languages. Despite pressure, Amazon has not removed the book from its site but has refused to advertise the text.

Shrier is a California-based journalist who has written for The Wall Street Journal and other publications.

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