Sunday, March 26, 2023

more evidence that Lisa Marchiano invented "transgender social contagion"

cover image for my recent Medium post
about Lisa Marchiano
In February 2019, on this very blog, I published Origins of “Social Contagion” and “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria,” which investigated the history of when these terms first appeared online and how they spread. The main finding of that piece was that the concept of “transgender social contagion” appears to have been invented by someone who went by the handle “skepticaltherapist” in a comment posted on February 20, 2016, on the anti-trans parent website 4thwavenow. I was not able to determine who exactly skepticaltherapist was, but I provided evidence that they went on to become one of the founders of the anti-trans website (YTCP).

A couple days ago, I published a follow up piece on Medium entitled Did Lisa Marchiano Invent “Transgender Social Contagion” and “No Transition Before Age 25”? It was based on recent findings that Marchiano ran YTCP (which has since been confirmed; see also below) and that she possibly invented ROGD too. Based on this, I proposed that Marchiano was also likely skepticaltherapist — aka, the person who invented the notion that “social contagion” is turning kids transgender. 

In this post, I provide further evidence that this is indeed the case.

The following evidence was provided to me by an anonymous researcher who emailed me last year (back when I didn't have the time to follow up). The incidents take place in a short period of time, on March 14th and 15th, 2016 – just a couple weeks after skepticaltherapist first proposed "transgender social contagion."

It begins with a generally pro-trans article posted on the website Psychotherapy Networker entitled The Great Escape: Welcome to the World of Gender Fluidity. If you scroll down to the comments section, you'll find that the first comment was posted on Monday, March 14, 2016 at 1:32:32 PM by someone named "Lisa" and the language is extremely Marchiano-esque. Particularly this passage: "[A] large number of young people -- especially teen age girls -- are coming out as trans after intense internet binges on sites such as reddit, tumblr, or YouTube." This phrasing is nearly identical to what YTCP (presumably Marchiano) said on TransgenderTrend on March 16, 2016 (two days later): "In many cases, these young people come to identify as trans after binges on social media sites such as tumblr, reddit, or YouTube."

On March 15, 2016 (the day after "Lisa" posts that comment), YTCP publishes its second blogpost, entitled What’s at Stake?, which is a lengthy critique of that same Psychotherapy Networker article. Once again, this is presumably Marchiano.

Also on March 15, 2016, at 6:07am (so very early in the day, likely before the aforementioned YTCP piece is published), skepticaltherapist posts her final comment on 4thwavenow before mysteriously disappearing. In a reply to someone named Starrymessenger, skepticaltherapist says: 'I wanted to mention that this month’s Psychotherapy Networker is focusing on trans youth issues, and the tone of each article is uncritically celebratory — lots of mentions of “courage,” and “bravery.” You may need a subscription or at least an account to comment, but I have so far.'

At the time of this comment, "Lisa" is the *only* person to have posted a comment on this particular Psychotherapy Networker article, as the 2nd comment doesn't appear until later that evening (7:30:15 PM on March 15th; both 4thwavenow & Psychotherapy Networker appear to be based in the U.S., so the should be only a few hours apart, if at all). Therefore, "Lisa" and skepticaltherapist must be the same person.

The fact that Psychotherapy Networker requires a subscription might explain why Marchiano went by her first name (e.g., if that's the name she originally used when she subscribed) rather than by one of her other internet handles (e.g., skepticaltherapist, timetodream).

As I pointed out in my Did Lisa Marchiano Invent “Transgender Social Contagion” and “No Transition Before Age 25”? piece, if all this is true, then Marchiano has told the same story from three perspectives: 1) as the mother of a trans child, 2) the mother is her friend "B", 3) the mother was a client of hers. I cannot say whether she posed as a mother (via the persona of "skepticaltherapist"), or whether she is the mother of a trans child but later played that personal aspect down in order to come across as an "objective" therapist. I suppose either could be true. 

Finally, I remember when writing my Origins timeline, I tried to figure out if "B" (her purported friend who had a trans child) was someone involved in this trans-skeptical parent scene, but I could not make any headway. But now knowing that Lisa Marchiano also often went by the name "Lisa Bell" online, I cannot help but wonder whether the "B" could possibly stand for "Bell" in a self-referential way?

POSTSCRIPT: The link above confirming that Marchiano ran YTCP points to a tweet from Zinnia Jones, where she uncovered one of the "Shupe emails" where Marchiano admits to this. But since Zinnia has recently made her Twitter account private, most people cannot access it, so I have grabbed those screenshots and inserted them below. In the first image (the beginning & bulk of the email to Shupe, dated May 23, 2017), Marchiano outright states: "So now you know I am the blogger for YTCP. I am not 'out' so I appreciate your keeping my secret. I have copied 4thwavenow on this email to keep her in the loop." The second image contains the end of that same message, including Marchiano's email signature.

Also of note, Zinnia Jones has compiled all the pertinent research from my "Origins of Social Contagion" timeline with recent findings from the Shupe emails and other online evidence to create this timeline of Lisa Marchiano's involvement in anti-trans activism.

[note: If you appreciate this piece and want to see more like it, please check out my Patreon page]