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Are we being Gaslighted by gender ideologues?

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ROME, April 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – What would you do if, at your work at Acme Widget Manufacturing Inc, you were encountering constant pestering by a small group of coworkers to join an employee club promoting a particular political party? You don’t want to join the club because you don’t support that party’s ideals. Now, what if your boss, while claiming to be neutral himself on the party, allocated ten thousand dollars to the club to promote the platform of the party in your workplace, and said that all employees had to attend the group’s sessions?

Imagine that you complained that all this had nothing to do with making widgets, and you aren’t going to be changing your mind about which party to support, and it was grossly unfair to have this small lobby group funded by the company.

Now imagine that your boss then said, “But this club doesn’t exist. It’s all just part of your ideological commitment to your own party and your opposition to the other party that says it does. You’re making all this up to promote the ideals of your party.”

Who do you believe? A group that has willfully manipulated everyone around you, or your own senses?

About two years ago, without any fanfare, the Italian government’s anti-racism and equalities department signed a deal with their counterparts at the Council of Europe (which is not the EU) to start promoting “gender theory” in schools and the media under the rubric of fighting “homophobia”.

This “National Strategy” agreement is described by the UNAR as an “important and significant multi-year project” to change the social and cultural attitudes of the Italian people on homosexuality and “transgenderism” and implement “objectives and specific measures” to “give a strong impetus to the process of cultural change.” This was an agreement to implement a resolution passed at the Council of Europe in 2010 to promote the principles behind the international homosexualist lobby, namely, “gender theory”.

The CoE’s resolution said, “Neither cultural, traditional nor religious values, nor the rules of a ‘dominant culture’ can be invoked to justify hate speech or any other form of discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Since then, the National Bureau Against Racial Discrimination (UNAR) has created its “Diversity in Schools” project, in consultation with the country’s leading homosexualist lobby group Arcigay, to start inserting materials promoting homosexuality into schools, for which they have a budget of about 10 million Euros. In addition to its schools work, the UNAR has threatened journalists with professional sanctions and even prison, for failing to portray homosexuals and “trans-people” in anything other than a completely favorable light.

Very shortly after this document was drafted, and a timeframe was set for 2013-2015, news reports around the country started appearing of parents getting into clashes with their local schools authorities over the insertion of materials promoting homosexuality. In places like the UK all gender ideologues have to do is yell, “discrimination!” and the politely cowed populace meekly bow their heads. In Italy, where the family remains universally understood as the bedrock of society, the results have not been so satisfactory.

The reaction of parents to this multi-layered project was not what the CoE’s and UNAR’s change agents were expecting, and very soon the more conservative elements in the Church, along with vociferous parents’ groups, were sounding the alarm in the media and in the political sphere against the threat of “gender ideology”. So loud, so well informed and articluate has this chorus against the movement become in Italian media that a new strategy appears to have been adopted: denial.

There is no “gender ideology,” and if you say there is, you’re just evil… and Catholic …and rightwing and probably a promoter of hate. Anyone who says that “gender ideology” is being pushed in Italian schools, with the backing of a government-sized budget and materials from notorious homosexual activists, is crazy. Is, in fact, ideologically motivated themselves.

It’s a classic case of “Gaslighting.” The thing you see and hear doesn’t exist. What you see happening isn’t really happening; it’s all a product of your own paranoias.

Gaslighting is a common form of mental and emotional abuse used by sociopaths and malignant narcissists to control their victims. It was named after a brilliant 1938 play, (and subsequent brilliant film with Ingrid Bergman,) “Gas Light,” in which a controlling husband uses various tricks to convince his wife she is insane so he can control a fortune in gems he believes is hidden in their house.

Psychologists have identified the manipulation technique of Gaslighting as particularly harmful for the children of narcissistic parents. Simply described, (by Wikipedia) it involves “information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception and sanity.”

Recently, Dr. Alberto Pellai, one of Italy’s leading proponents and promoters of the “anti-homophobic bullying” strategy of the gender ideology, wrote recently in a blog post that for the last “several months” he has observed a “strange thing happening” at conferences he attends professionally.

“At the end of my many conferences on this issue, the debate is almost always monopolized by people who belong to the movements that oppose the spread of the ideology of ‘gender’ in schools and who are throwing strong alarms, asking parents present to be very careful because in Italian schools our children are approached by highly morally harmful programs that spread the ideology and induce children towards homosexuality. 

“I speak of ‘induction to homosexuality’ because of this I have been accused, in a conference for parents held at the Erickson study center on February 13.” At that conferene, Pellai was promoting his book, “All Too Soon” on sex education that he said, has nothing to do with “inducing” children to homosexuality.

It merely, he protests, “is designed to help children overcome gender stereotypes that now afflict significantly both sexes.” Yes, what on earth could this possibly have to do with sinister “gender ideology”?

As for homosexuality, he says, the problem is that adults are not allowing young people to adequately explore their sexuality, and are offering only “confusing” terminology for them.

“It can happen that a teenager with a homosexual orientation feels unable to talk about this because the world around him has no ‘healthy’ words to use. Just as it is possible that adolescents with heterosexual orientation feel in some areas of their growth an urge to explore (even at the level of fantasies and in a dimension totally intrapsychic) ​​homosexuality and that not being able to talk to anyone and feel that this is part of a passage of natural physiological growth and (which for some people is resolved then the ultimate membership of heterosexuality) things become complicated.”

Nope. No gender ideology being promoted under here…

And that’s because there’s no such thing: “I do not know the gender ideology and, personally as a father of four I’ve never met any in my way,” Pellai wrote.

In his work, Pellai said he has seen projects in sexual education, projects to prevent homophobia and sexual information projects. But no ideology. Indeed, objecting to “gender ideology” “…is just to prove that they have ideological prejudices.” 

In Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, Pellai wrote, “At this time there is a great deal of talk about gender theory. But I think there has been generated more than a misunderstanding around this theme. Our children really need to grow up with a good education that will help them overcome gender stereotypes.”

Meanwhile, a paper published by the Italian Association of Psychology (AIP) has also claimed that “gender ideology” does not exist outside politics. “Today we witness the organization of initiatives and mobilizations that, at a local and national level, tend to label the education interventions to gender differences and sexual orientation in Italian schools as pretexts for the disclosure of a so-called ‘gender ideology’.”

The AIP said they want to “calm the national debate on the issues of dissemination of studies on gender and sexual orientation in Italian schools and to clarify the scientific inconsistency of the concept of ‘gender ideology’.”

“There are, on the contrary, scientific studies of gender, better known as Gender Studies which, together with the Gay and Lesbian Studies, contributed significantly to the understanding of issues of great importance for many disciplines (from medicine to psychology, economics, law, social sciences),” the paper says.

Again, the Italian edition of Wired, has castigated those opposing the “phantom theory” of gender ideology as a paranoid fantasy of the “extreme right” and the Catholic Church.

“When you talk about the effectiveness of education, sex education, homophobia, overcoming stereotypes, relationships between the sexes or the like, they all think it is contributing to a single purpose: ‘indoctrination’.”

Wired cites academic gender ideologues who now claim that even the term, “gender theory” is a “polemical invention” invented by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family to “label and delegitimize and deform …this field of study.” It has since, they claim, been adopted as the slogan of “thousands of protesters, especially in France and in Italy, opposed to the adoption of desired reforms to reduce discrimination suffered by persons not heterosexual.”

According to these hundreds of thousands of wicked people who made up and use the term, sexuality is biologically built in to who we are as persons; “we are born male or female… The biological sex is the only thing that counts. Sexual identity is not created, but you receive it.” And this whole “complementarity” business always crops up.

In reality, “gender studies are an interdisciplinary field of research that questions gender and the way in which the society…has interpreted and fed the differences between the male and the female, legitimizing not only disparities between men and women, but also denying the right of citizenship to non-heterosexuals.”

Nope, no ideology under here either.

But psychologist Roberto Marchesini wrote in an op-ed in La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana that this Gaslighting is just the next strategy, adopted in response to the success of of a “pugnacious” reaction from parents, a systematic backlash has been launched by the ideology’s supporters to simply deny it exists.

“Needless to say,” Marchesisni wrote, when you “separate the biological part of sexuality from the psychological, social and relational; [when you] define it as mere cultural conditioning and education; represent it as a grotesque caricature in order to eliminate it from society; insert into schools (without parental consent) programs that have this end, all this is precisely what is called ‘gender ideology’ (which, therefore, does exist).”

In these writings of gender ideologues insisting that they are the sane ones and anyone who disagrees with them is an evil manipulator of language, we are seeing the “famous rhetorical device called the ‘straw man’… to represent in a caricature the arguments of the opponent in order to refute them easily.” 

How do people avoid allowing themselves to be Gaslighted? Wikipedia helpfully quotes psychologist Hilde L. Nelson in her book, “Damaged Identities, narrative repair,” who said that the victim’s ability to resist depends upon “her ability to trust her own judgments.”

Or, perhaps we could cite someone else, who said, “By their fruits, ye shall know them.”

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Hilary White

Hilary is a Rome-based reporter for LifeSiteNews.