YouTube and the conservative Heritage Foundation are butting heads after the Google-owned video hosting site removed a video in which a leading pediatrician questioned the medical community's acceptance of transgenderism. YouTube claimed some of the doctor's statements violated a new policy against hate speech.
"See, if you want to cut off a leg or an arm, you're mentally ill—but if you want to cut off healthy breasts or a penis, you're transgender," American College of Pediatricians executive director Dr. Michelle Cretella said in the 2017 video posted by Heritage news outlet Daily Signal. According to YouTube, that statement violated a policy that bans "promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups" based on "gender identity and expression."
Cretella argued against the current medical consensus on transgenderism, saying that biological sex does not depend on psychological self-identification. "If I walk into my doctor's office today and say, ‘Hi, I'm Margaret Thatcher,' my physician will say I am delusional and give me an anti-psychotic," she said at another point. "Yet, if instead, I walked in and said, ‘I'm a man,' he would say, ‘Congratulations, you're transgender.'"
On Tuesday, the Daily Signal released a video criticizing YouTube's decision.
"By any objective measure, Dr. Cretella did not violate [the hate speech] policy," Heritage spokeswoman Genevieve Wood said. "We agree with the spirit of the YouTube policy, that every person should be treated with respect and that every conversation should be civil. But here's where we disagree; as our nation debates the whole issue of gender identity and parents consider whether to give their children hormone treatments, we need to have a robust, fact-filled serious debate."
Axios reports that the Daily Signal video comes after months of behind-the-scenes negotiation between the think tank and video streaming giant. Heritage reportedly faced a similar battle with Facebook, but won in the appeals process. YouTube, however, refused to repost the video unless it censored Dr. Cretella's transgender comments.
"As one of the largest content platforms in the world, YouTube should welcome more discussion rather than eliminating speech at the mob's command," Heritage's vice president of communications Rob Bluey told Axios in a statement.