Sherri Tenpenny has been an antivaccine activist a long time. On this blog she was best known prepandemic for fear mongering about the MMR vaccine and denying that measles can kill (also, appearing on a cruise for conspiracy theorists). So it was no surprise that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit she saw an opportunity to rebrand herself into a more general conspiracy theorist, to the point that last year she was “honored” with inclusion in the list of the “Disinformation Dozen” compiled by the Center for Countering Digital Hate. Indeed, her grift rapidly led her to be part of a disinformation training session known as Mastering Vaccine Info Boot Camp. Frustratingly, despite her longtime quackery and antivaccine activism, Tenpenny is still licensed as a physician in Ohio and runs an “integrative medicine” practice in the Cleveland area, although these days I suspect that her main source of income is COVID-19 conspiracy theories and anti-public health activism. Whatever her main grift is now (and she has several), after having written about how Toby Rogers is blaming vaccines for the rise in the number of teens identifying as trans or nonbinary over the last decade, I thought I came across the concept of “TransTopia” on Tenpenny’s antivax website The Tenpenny Report.
“TransTopia” caught my eye not so much because it was another example of antivaxxers blaming vaccines for giving kids The Trans, but rather because of how it demonstrates how the concept of vaccines making kids transgender fits in to broader antivax concepts that go beyond The Trans. (Yes, as you’ve probably figured out, I’m intentionally capitalizing this to make fun of transphobes’ fear mongering about transgender kids.) What inspired me to write this was a two-part article someone named Maryam Henein:
- When Humans Transcend Biology: Part 1- Transitions To A New World Order
- When Humans Transcend Biology: Part 2 – Transitions To A New World Order
As you can see from the title, to Maryam Henein the link between vaccines and transgender teens is more than just vaccines supposedly giving kids The Trans (or TransTopia, or whatever), but rather links into broader conspiracy narratives of the “New World Order.” It’s even more than that, though, as it feeds into old antivax narratives that I first noticed a decade ago about vaccines being part of a scheme to promote transhumanism, a narrative that was once pretty fringe even among antivaxxers but is now very much in the mainstream of COVID-19 antivax fear mongering. Interestingly Ms. Henein doesn’t even mention vaccines in the first installment of her series, and then only mentions them briefly in the second. The message, however, is made clear by the context, as well as by her articles appearing prominently on the website of one of the Disinformation Dozen.
Oddly enough, after all the years I’ve been following antivaccine conspiracy theories (as well as conspiracy theories in general), I didn’t recall ever having encountered Maryam Henein. I even searched this blog. There was no mention of her before this, which was wild to me. So I Googled and found her Wikipedia entry. Ironically enough, she directed a documentary Vanishing of the Bees narrated by Elliot Page, who is a famous transgender actor. (Henein briefly mentions Page in one of her posts, but more as a totem to ward off accusations that she’s transphobic than anything else.) Learning this made me wonder: WTF happened? I couldn’t help but wonder if it had something to do with the film being made in 2009, more than a decade before Page came out as a trans man. Whatever the reason for Henein going all transphobe, I note that she only started writing for Tenpenny in 2020, right when the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to make world news as SARS-CoV-2 was spreading from China, starting her tenure by writing about the deadly measles outbreak that had ravaged Samoa during the latter half of 2019. She has also been big on misrepresenting mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines as “permanently altering your DNA” (they don’t) and being “gene therapy” disguised as vaccines (they aren’t).
Henein starts her first entry in the TransTopia series thusly:
Bastardizing God’s glorious human design is nothing new. Ever since directing the 2010 award-winning documentary film Vanishing of the Bees, my message has been about the poisons in our environment. So when I noticed that there seemed to be a rapidly growing population of transgenders, I wondered if toxins might play a role in transgenderism. Back in 2018, I wrote the following email to ComFood, a food politics email discussion list. Theoretically, the group was dedicated to “all” aspects of community food systems and beyond. Certainly, they were no strangers to the concept of poisons in our environment, right? Wrong.According to ComFood, I had committed a thought crime. And even though “Cancel Culture” wasn’t yet a thing, I was shamed and told I was being a “brackish bigot.”
I am an investigative journalist, and functional medicine coach, best known for directing the documentary film Vanishing of the Bees. I am outlining a theory/writing a piece about the burgeoning rate of transgenders. I suspect this has to do with the crazy amounts of estrogen mimickers, endocrine disruptors, soy, toxin synergy, etc. in our environment. I am looking for EXPERTS when it comes to these toxins.
This is NOT a piece about ethics or shaming.
If you study the food supply and you realize ‘food is thy medicine’ and that we are living in an increasingly toxic world where frogs are born as hermaphrodites, then yes it’s VERY possible that similar effects are happening to humans.
Propaganda about “cancel culture” was not yet a thing in 2018? Henein must have been pretty oblivious then or is engaging in selective memory now, as right-wing propaganda about “cancel culture” had been in full swing for several years now. It’s also satisfying to see how transphobic bigots are also often very surprised to find themselves being appropriately called out as such when they write things like “burgeoning rate of transgenders” being due to “crazy amounts of estrogen mimickers, endocrine disruptors, soy, toxin synergy, etc.” and then likening an observation in frogs to transgender people. It’s also very telling that she viewed the reaction to her transphobic bigotry as though she had been accused of a “thought crime.” Naturally, though, as is the case for all conspiracy theories and “thought crimes,” Ms. Henein points out that a few did contact her privately because, of course, they were afraid of being “canceled.”
It makes me think that “brackish bigot” was an excellent description of Ms. Henein, as her thinking aligns very nicely with the thinking of antivaxxers who view themselves as purebloods and view vaccines as “contaminating” their blood (sometimes going to dangerous lengths to prevent such “contamination”) and have aligned themselves with far right bigots. Even if evidence were to show that endocrine disruptor exposure somehow increases the chance of a child ultimately identifying as trans, the thought process here is quite clear: Trans is abnormal and must be due to contamination of some sort. Indeed, it’s worse than that to Ms. Henein. She gives the game away in the very first sentence; to her being transgender is “bastardizing God’s glorious human design,” and her referring to a Psychology Today editorial, rather than hard research, to back up her claims about TransTopia doesn’t help.
She does, however, apparently know how to use NIH RePorter, the website that allows anyone to search every NIH grant ever funded going back decades. Using her mad skillz, she found an R21 grant awarded to Mauricio Martins at Scripps Florida entitled A nonhuman primate model to study the immunological effects of feminizing hormone therapy in transgender women, which Ms. Henein referred to as “Fauci’s NIAID” spending “$478,188 of taxpayer money to turn monkeys transgender.”
The first thing you have to realize about this is that the NIH R21 is a grant mechanism intended to fund exploratory and speculative scientific projects, all in order to give the applicants funding to produce sufficient preliminary data to determine if more extensive studies are justified. In other words, it’s a mechanism designed to fund short (two years or less) preliminary scientific studies. This particular grant is based on the observation that trans women have a higher incidence of HIV, resulting in the hypothesis that maybe feminizing hormones affect immune function, which was the hypothesis tested in this grant. Is it a valid hypothesis to test? Without reading the whole grant, I have a hard time judging, but obviously an NIH study section thought that it was, and they almost certainly had more expertise in the relevant science than I do.
Ms. Henein makes great hay over the observation that there are no results in NIH RePorter yet for this grant:
Researchers stated they had injected male monkeys with female hormones in order to understand why transgender women reportedly experience higher rates of HIV. But what else did they glean?
Scientists planned to evaluate how the injected hormones altered the male monkey’s immune systems to determine if feminizing hormones had an adverse effect on the strength of immune systems. Yet no conclusions are available.
This is, of course, true. However, if you look at the details of the grant, you’ll see that it only concluded on April 1, 2022, having commenced in 2020, a typical two-year duration for an R21. Henein’s post was written in July, only about three and a half months after the grant period. For a primate study of this nature, it is not unusual to take several months to finish the correlative studies, analyze the data, submit a manuscript, and go through one or two rounds of revision before there are any publications. Also, this was a preliminary study. Maybe the investigators didn’t find anything publishable. It happens, particularly with preliminary studies. One other point to make is that Anthony Fauci does not personally decide who gets a grant from his Institute. Study sections score grants, ranking them based on scientific merit, and advisory councils finalize decisions on which grants are funded based primarily on those scores and how much money they have in the budget for each grant mechanism.
I’d be willing to bet that Ms. Henein actually knows all these things, but that she also knows that Tenpenny’s readers don’t know the basics of how NIH grants are awarded. This allows her to falsely portray this grant as having been personally awarded by Anthony Fauci to Mauricio Martins at Scripps Florida for the purpose of making monkeys trans in order to suppress their immune system. It also allows her to portray the lack of reported results (thus far) as not being due to (most likely) the slow grind of scientific publication after a study is finished (or failure to finish the study by the end of the grant period, which happens a lot) but to nefarious intent. Basically, it allows her to weaponize NIH funding not as something good (which scientists consider it to be) but rather as support for her conspiracy theory narrative. As I like to say in these cases: Ignorant or dishonest? You be the judge! (I pick dishonest.)
Also, don’t forget a variant of the “pharma shill gambit,” in this case the surgery shill gambit:
In addition to castration and gender-changing drugs, there are also ‘novel’ surgical procedures that ‘snip and tuck’, turning private body parts into commodities. Some procedures include facial feminization surgery, breast removal/augmentation, vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, phallectomy, orchiectomy, and hysterectomy.
Because (you guessed it!):
Just like they created a booming industry out of the Cult Of Corona, consider all the “gender clinics”, drugs, implants, and more that are needed to change the appearance and function of God-given body parts and to snuff out biological reality.
In fact, favorable government policies toward “gender transition surgeries” are the major factor “driving the industry demand,” according to the global market research and management consulting company, Global Market Insights. Under The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a Obamacare, health insurance is provided to transgender and gender non-conforming people for sex reassignment surgeries and other “technological advancements”.
In a variation of the “pharma shill gambit,” Ms. Henein is parroting that old transphobic trope that the increase in the number of teens coming out as transgender is being driven by Big Pharma—all those sweet, sweet imagined profits from selling puberty blockers and hormones, of course!—and Big Surgery, making all that sweet, sweet imagined bank doing top surgery and phalloplasties. This is, of course, the same claim Toby Rogers made; so I’ll just repeat now what I wrote then and ask: Does Ms. Henein know how few surgeons do gender reassignment surgery? Does she know how small the number of people who undergo surgical transition is (under 10,000 surgeries a year)? Then I’ll do as I did then and compare to the more common surgeries carried out in the US: Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal several hundred thousand performed every year because an estimated 20 million Americans have gallstones), because, obviously, gallstones are a plot by Big Pharma to sell antibiotics when patients get cholecystitis and by Big Surgery to make lots of money doing cholecystectomies after the antibiotics! I’ll also note again that a similar number of appendectomies are performed every year; so clearly appendicitis is a plot by Big Pharma to sell antibiotics and Big Surgery to do more surgery!
And, of course, the government is behind it all:
So, is it safe to say that the government is supporting the transitioning humanity? The current trend is helping to normalize the notion that souls can find themselves in the wrong body is skyrocketing at a rate like never before? Why isn’t there an option for detoxing our environment and our body before taking on these extreme medical procedures?
The perception is that the body must be thoroughly altered to match the mind’s perception of how it ought to be. Many critics argue that there is a concerted push to muddle the sexes. This ideology and practice of disembodiment is being driven across medical, legal, cultural, and educational institutions. For instance, an excellent piece, written by reporter Jennifer Bilek, outlines how the billionaire Pritzker family has played an integral role in normalizing transgenderism or what she calls “Synthetic Sex Identities (SSI).” In 2013, around the time gender ideology entered the mainstream American culture, Jennifer Pritzker announced a transition to womanhood.
I was waiting for Ms. Henein to mention Bill Gates, George Soros, or one of the other “puppetmasters” that conspiracy theorists like to identify, but instead I got the Pritzkers. Such is life. I do note that the article cited pointedly rejects the terms “transgender” and “transgenderism,” preferring instead to use a term called “synthetic sex identities.” Transphobes always give away the game. To them being trans is “synthetic” and therefore “unnatural” and must be due to an external influence, in much the same way that the collapse of bee colonies has been blamed on pesticides and other outside forces.
Don’t believe me? Get a load of this passage from the Tablet article cited:
Through investments in the techno-medical complex, where new highly medicalized sex identities are being conjured, Pritzkers and other elite donors are attempting to normalize the idea that human reproductive sex exists on a spectrum. These investments go toward creating new SSI using surgeries and drugs, and by instituting rapid language reforms to prop up these new identities and induce institutions and individuals to normalize them. In 2018, for example, at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center at the University of California Los Angeles (where the Pritzkers are major donors and hold various titles), the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology advertised several options for young females who think they can be men to have their reproductive organs removed, a procedure termed “gender-affirming care.”
No, gender-affirming care is not having your reproductive organs removed. Gender reassignment surgery (which also involves more than having reproductive organs removed—or might not even involve that at all) can be a part of gender-affirming care, but it’s not gender-affirming care. Gender-affirming care is the standard of care for gender dysphoria (the persistent feeling that one is a different gender than the one assigned at birth) and involves everything from an approach to care, to lifestyle changes, to pharmaceutical, and, in some cases, surgery. Transphobes like to portray all gender-affirming care as “cutting off dicks and breasts” (as Bill Maher—also an antivaxxer!—did not too long ago).
But why? Why is there this huge conspiracy? Enter TransTopia, as Ms. Henein writes that the “embrace of transgenderism is not simply about societal acceptance and inclusion of people with alternative views or lifestyles, but a giant ideological redefinition of what it means to be human,” which leads to part 2 of her series, in which TransTopia comes into play and is revealed to be a stepping stone to—you guessed it!—transhumanism:
Greg Bear’s 2010 novel Queen Of Angels depicts a society completely transformed by nanotechnology. In this world, a large proportion of the populace has been “therapied,” in which injected nanotech devices infiltrated a person’s brain to correct psychological imbalance and weaknesses. Meanwhile, many people undergo extensive nano-enabled body modification, ranging from practical enhancements for their occupation to beautification. A complex tension runs through the society because of prejudices and attitudes toward the ‘tranforms.’
Would you be surprised if I told you that transgender ideology is a stepping stone to transhumanism? Isn’t it obvious?
I was quite annoyed to see Ms. Henein bring Greg Bear into this. Bear is one of my favorite science-fiction writers, and I’ve read Queen of Angels. To be honest, I don’t consider the novel to be one of his best works, although even Bear’s middling novels are still better than the best of a lot of other SF writers. I did still enjoy it and note that, written over three decades ago, the novel anticipated the rise of the World Wide Web (although it was still mainly text-based given that the first websites hadn’t yet been created). Its themes were also a bit more—shall we say?—complex than what Ms. Henein notes. For example, although there are multiple interlocking plots, the main one involves a famous writer who has committed a series of gruesome murders, crimes that almost never happen anymore in the novel’s world. (There’s also a subplot about two computers achieving sentience.) In Bear’s world, there are those who are “therapied” and have undergone the nanotherapy to be turned into well-integrated personalities capable of productive work; those who are “high naturals,” who possess a mental makeup so stable and positive that they don’t need the nanotherapy; and, of course, the untherapied. No doubt, Ms. Henein is trying to make dire allusions to this world through the lens of gender-affirming care of transgender people, such that, as in Bear’s world, those who refuse to accept “therapy” (but are not “high normals”) are increasingly marginalized.
Transphobes always give the game away, even in their allusions.
I sometimes have trouble describing what “transhumanism” is, but suffice to say that it is a social, scientific, and philosophical movement devoted to the idea that humans can be enhanced by technology, be it biological, computer-based, or physical. The idea is that such technologies will augment or increase human perception, physical abilities, intelligence, and cognition, and also radically improve human health and extend our life span. Unsurprisingly, the movement’s adherents tend to be employed in technology, biotech, and academia, and there is undeniably a strong link between libertarianism and transhumanism. The ultimate outcome is thought to be the “singularity,” a time when computers become so advanced that artificial intelligence transcends human intelligence, potentially erasing the boundary between humanity and computers and potentially even leading to the merging of humans and computers. As I’ve said before, I’ve always looked a bit askance at transhumanism, in part because there is certainly a lot of woo in the movement and transhumanists tend to assume that the coming “singularity” will necessarily be a good thing. Science fiction, however, provides many potential counterexamples, SkyNet in the Terminator movies and the Borg in Star Trek being two of the most famous of them.
Naturally, those portraying vaccines and pharmaceuticals as “transhumanism” go in the opposite direction, automatically assuming that the singularity will be the most horrific development in human history, portend the end of the human race, and allow the enemy (“globalists”) to attain total control of what’s left of humanity, which is what Ms. Henein does:
How mRNA vaccines and wireless communication factor into this vision? mRNA technology is the mechanism for delivering genetic payloads that alter the human gene sequence, eventually creating a new, dehumanized, submissive, vulnerable, controllable “machine species.”
In time, Kurzweil and his cadre of godless, globalist colleagues hope to encode memory and personal identity into an artificial neural network often referred to as the Hive Mind.
The dark vision of nanobots running amok and the dangers that come from meddling with normal biology with God-like powers is a possibility they do not want to acknowledge. The era of eliminating Homo sapients and replacing humanity with Homo techno has begun.
Notice the anti-atheist bigotry and outright antisemitism in Ms. Henein’s fear mongering. Remember, the concept of “globalists” is a code word for “the Jews” and has been in conspiracy theories ever since The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and was a core component of Nazi antisemitism. Unsurprisingly, Ms. Henein views mRNA vaccines “interfering with your DNA” as one of the tools to make people trans on the way to the coming TransTopia that will result from transhumanism. She even includes this hilarious illustration, obviously scanned from a book:
In another article written for Tenpenny’s website, Ms. Henein speculates wildly, and I’m going to quote generously because her conspiracy theory really needs room to breathe in order for you to appreciate its full level of bonkers:
Seamless human-machine interaction is increasing rapidly.
What if these injections were never “vaccines” against a virus? What if instead, the jabs have been a secret nanotech project developed to control the brains of the human population? (Until now, we don’t know specifically how they can modify our DNA via 5G).
Seemingly, some jabs were manufactured using nanotechnology. In Spain, it was even described as “secret nanoparticles.” These nanoparticles become magnetic when they reach the same temperature as the human body. When they remain in an under-zero-degree environment, they remain non-magnetic. Maybe one of the reasons they use the injections?
The graphene hydroxide works as an antenna for the electronic circuits they are injecting. If they can create transistors, they can also make an identifier like an RFID chip that can ping a number back, once the person is near a radiofrequency (RF) field. Graphene oxide in the brain creates transistors, and ostensibly its own network.
Thanks in big part to Lieber, molecules of GRAPHENE can interact with neurons in the brain in a remote mode using different radiofrequencies (5G could be one of these). Can they also map the brain and transmit and receive INSTRUCTIONS remotely? Do these nano devices and smart biosensors become programmable? Yes!
You can see the outline of the whole conspiracy theory coming into view, though, and it’s as bizarre as anything that, for example, Mike Adams has come up with. To Ms. Henein, trans is just a form of transhumanism that is merely serving as a stepping stone to the TransTopia of unfettered transhumanism enabled by vaccines, 5G, pharma, and surgery that will allow the Jews—excuse me, the godless “globalists”—to control humanity and eliminate all human individuality:
Transhumanism is based on the assumption that there is no human soul and no human biofield with a unique genetic imprint. There is an assumption that human bodies are not disrupted by artificial implants and the mind can be made to meld with machines. The transgender agenda makes individual humans into herd animals and biological robots.
“Human biofield with a unique genetic imprint”? Note the connection to “energy healing,” which also assumes that there is a “biofield” that, for example, therapeutic touch practitioners and reiki masters can manipulate for healing effect.
As Toby Rogers did, Maryam Henein also has to bring autism into the mix, because that’s what antivaxxers almost always do. Whereas Mr. Rogers tried to portray being trans and being autistic as “vaccine injuries” that are related by their being due to exposure to vaccines, Ms. Henein does something slightly different:
This isn’t too far from the “neurodiversity” movement. Here, diagnoses of mental handicaps are handed out like candy. Any individuality that is adopted is told they have a “different brain” and likely need medication for symptom management. Any responsibility that Big Chemical and Big Pharma may have for the development of genuine illness is overlooked.
It’s all part of the same pipeline, from diagnosis to big pharma management, to transhumanism, then back to Big Pharma once medications and surgical alterations cause additional disease. All of these strange ideas are different branches of the same tree: a tree of social control where something is “wrong” with you if you exhibit any behavior outside of the propaganda machine’s intent for your life.
Of course, no conspiracy theory like this would be complete without a reference to Mark Zuckerberg:
AI and the Metaverse will erase the distinction between male and female, and man and machine. The intent is to engineer a new way to be “human.” Gender with become a choice, like picking the color of your shoes.
You will be genderless, and you will be happy.
Even if this were true, I find it hard to view it in as alarming a light as Ms. Henein does, but kudos to her “TransTopia” conspiracy theory for managing to drag Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg into the mix. I’m just disappointed that Bill Gates is nowhere to be seen.
The first time I ever saw vaccines portrayed as “transhumanism,” it was by Sayer Ji ten years ago. His “concern” was that vaccines were subverting evolution, referring to vaccination programs as the “cult of synthetic immunity” and attributing “eugenic undertones” to them while warning that transhumanism “participates in a dialectic which requires a simultaneous and systematic dehumanization of those who do not share the same way of thinking and behaving.” Sound familiar? My reaction was that not vaccinating was the real eugenics. After all, antivaxxers basically shrug their shoulders and dismiss children killed by vaccine-preventable diseases as “life unworthy of life.” (They might not use that exact Nazi term, but their idea is very much the same.) Then there was Sherri Tenpenny herself in 2017, who viewed DNA vaccines that were being developed then as—you guessed it!—transhumanism that was contaminating our DNA. (No wonder Tenpenny hired Henein!) Then there was Dr. Carrie Madej in 2020 speculating that mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 are also transhumanism that can contaminate your DNA.
Antivaxxers tend to belong to what I like to refer to as the “cult of the ‘natural,'” portraying vaccines as being “synthetic” and “artificial” and therefore to be feared because they threaten your purity. Given how trans people are also demonized by transphobes as somehow “unnatural”—with a “synthetic sex identity,” even!—it should not be surprising that there is such a strong affinity between antivaxxers and transphobes or that antivaxxers would link “unnatural” and “contaminating” nature of vaccines to becoming trans. They’ve long done so. Unfortunately, now that the antivaccine movement has been largely subsumed into the larger far right—dare I say fascist?—movement that views trans people as an abomination, the false claim linking vaccines to The Trans is becoming more and more common among them and more and more of a threat to trans people.