Katie Herzog is an American podcaster best known for her gender critical views and anti-transgender activism. Her work includes
- promoting disease models:
- “rapid onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD) and its “social contagion” model of trans identity
- promoting the “ex-trans” movement:
- never correcting or updating her reporting on former ex-trans activist Ky Schevers
- sex segregationism regarding sports, incarceration, and other remaining sex-segregated institutions
- criticizing value-neutral and gender-neutral language like pronouns and inclusive medical terminology
- promoting separatist and binary ideas of sex and sexuality
- criticizing nuance and nonbinary ideas of sex and sexuality
Note: for the trans-supportive artist born in 1979, see Katie Herzog and transgender people.
Catherine Ronan “Katie” Herzog was born on May 18, 1983 in Asheville, North Carolina. Her parents are both emeritus professors who taught at Western Carolina University. Her father, Harold Albert “Hal” Herzog, served as a psychology professor. Her mother, Mary Jean Ronan Herzog, served as an education professor. Katie Herzog graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Herzog has a twin sibling.
Herzog has published writing in numerous outlets, listed below. Herzog identifies as lesbian and lives in Washington state with her wife, Janna (on left below).
Views on transgender people
Herzog worked for Dan Savage as a freelancer for The Stranger, later serving as a staff writer from 2017 to 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was furloughed and was no longer employed there as of 2020.
In 2017, she wrote “The Detransitioners,” a piece critics considered a biased and flawed article supporting the ex-trans movement. The piece mentioned several people:
- Brynn Tannehill, a trans journalist whose criticism of the ex-trans movement appears to have motivated Herzog’s piece
- Marlo Mack, How to Be a Girl podcaster and supportive parent of a gender diverse child
- John Otto, a happily transitioned trans man
Supporting Herzog’s views were several activists promoting the ex-trans movement:
- James Cantor, a fellow gender critical troll in Toronto and promoter of many disease models of gender identity and expression
- “Jackie” aka “Jackal,” a Seattle area resident who was 25 in 2017 and moderated detransinfo.tumblr.com
- “Jane,” a Southern California resident who was 53 in 2017 and who joined the ex-trans movement after discovering radfem forums online
- “Ryan,” who was 43 in 2017 and who underwent medical transition steps but was not socially transitioned at the time
- “Cass,” who later came out as ex-trans whistleblower Ky Schevers
Schevers was deeply involved in the “gender critical” movement connected to trans-exclusionary radical feminism (TERF):
While hanging out among ourselves, I and other younger members of this scene would jokingly refer to ourselves and each other as “TERFs”, reclaiming what we viewed as a slur. Many of us got a kick out of having a secret life in a subculture outsiders (correctly) viewed as a hate group. We thought such people were ridiculous and misogynistic for seeing us as hateful and we frequently mocked them, acting as if they were ignorant, misled and/or overly sensitive. We would gather at a lesbian-owned coffee shop and complain about how trans activists were a threat to lesbian culture, talk about dangerous and disgusting “autogynephiles” trying to infiltrate “female-only” spaces, and the social forces supposedly pushing lesbians to “dis-identify from femaleness” and identify as trans.Schevers 2021
Neither Herzog nor The Stranger has ever updated the original piece or covered the subsequent developments. No one has ever independently confirmed Herzog’s claims about “Jackie,” “Jane,” or “Ryan,” and the only one independently confirmed has come out against Herzog’s article and its thesis. This is probably the prime example that Herzog is not an objective source for information on trans issues.
In response, some critics burned copies of The Stranger and distributed stickers that said “Katie Herzog (writer at the stranger) Is A Transphobe.” Herzog says she was ostracized by some friends. The New York Times and The New Republic described the reaction to “The Detransitioners” as an example of “cancel culture.”
After leaving The Stranger
Since leaving The Stranger, Herzog has become more outspoken on anti-transgender topics. Herzog has spoken frequently about the alleged cultural shift away from “lesbian” as an identity, promoted the disputed diagnosis “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” and suggested that the increase in trans-identified people is part of a “social contagion.” She has also gotten money and attention for claiming that medical schools are “denying biological sex” by presenting more inclusive and value-neutral scientific terminology. Her posts on the topic via intellectual dark web promoter Bari Weiss were tagged as unreliable self-published sources by the r/medicine forum on reddit, causing the usual suspects to claim they were being censored.
In 2020, she founded Permabanned Media LLC and began the podcast Blocked and Reported with co-host Jesse Singal, also a prominent figure in the ex-trans movement. That year, she co-signed “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate” for Harper’s. That letter was debated for being signed by a disproportionate number of people active in the ex-trans and “gender critical” movements.
As with most people who claim to be “canceled,” Herzog has seen an enormous increase in media appearances on conservative and anti-transgender shows and platforms since 2017. They include Bill Maher, Andrew Sullivan, Tim Dillon, Bret Weinstein, Sam Seder, Megyn Kelly, Heather Heying, Glenn Greenwald, Dan Savage, David Fuller, Alexander Beiner, Coleman Hughes, Meghan Murphy, Matt Taibbi, Kat Rosenfield, Michael Tracey, Brendan O’Neill, Phoebe Maltz Bovy, Andrew Doyle, Aryeh Cohen-Wade, Andrew Gold, Matt Lewis, Thaddeus Russell, Benjamin Boyce, Bridget Phetasy, Scott Barry Kaufman, Helen Lewis, Bari Weiss, Mick Hume, Ben Domenech, Aaron Kimberly, Aaron Terrell, Jamie Kirchick, Lou Perez.
Schevers, Ky (March 25, 2021). The Reality Behind the Story I Told: What My Life was Like When I was Interviewed for the Stranger. Medium https://kyschevers.medium.com/the-reality-behind-the-story-i-told-what-my-life-was-like-when-i-was-interviewed-for-the-stranger-2508d595689d
McDermott, John (November 2, 2019). Those People We Tried to Cancel? They’re All Hanging Out Together. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/02/style/what-is-cancel-culture.html
Grant, Melissa Gira (November 6, 2019). Fixating on “Cancel Culture” in an Age of Transphobia. The New Republic. https://newrepublic.com/article/155606/fxating-cancel-culture-age-transphobia
Doyle, Jude Ellison Sady (March 24, 2021). What’s So Scary About Detransitioning? GEN. https://gen.medium.com/whats-so-scary-about-detransitioning-a8340daf3132
Urquhart, Evan (February 1, 2021). An “Ex-Detransitioner” Disavows the Anti-Trans Movement She Helped Spark. Slate. https://slate.com/human-interest/2021/02/detransition-movement-star-ex-gay-explained.html
Selected resources by Katie Herzog
Katie Herzog (katieherzog.info) [no SSL – archive]
Muck Rack (muckrack.com)
- Chapter One: “And then I met Janna, the woman who would become my wife, and not only did I change my mind about dog fanatics, I’m ashamed to say I even became one myself.”
The Stranger (thestranger.com)
- Katie Herzog articles
- Herzog, Katie (June 28, 2017). The Detransitioners: They Were Transgender, Until They Weren’t. The Stranger. https://www.thestranger.com/features/2017/06/28/25252342/the-detransitioners-they-were-transgender-until-they-werent
- Herzog, Katie (July 3, 2017). A Response to the Uproar Over My Piece, “The Detransitioners.” The Stranger. https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/07/03/25262759/a-response-to-the-uproar-over-my-piece-the-detransitioners
- Herzog, Katie (September 6, 2018). “They” Is a Fine Pronoun, But It Ain’t Mine. The Stranger https://www.thestranger.com/articles/2018/09/06/31903785/they-is-a-fine-pronoun-but-it-aint-mine
Medium / Arc Digital (medium.com / arcdigital.media)
- @kherzog (2015-2016)
- @katieherzog (2020)
Portland Mercury (portlandmercury.com)
The Atlantic (theatlantic.com)
Mother Jones (motherjones.com)
Buzzfeed News (buzzfeednews.com)
The Guardian (theguardian.com)
Selected media appearances
Singal, Jesse (Apr 19, 2019) Singal-Minded, The Interview: Katie Herzog. Substack / Singal-Minded. https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/singal-minded-the-interview-katie
Rantz, Jason (June 11, 2020). Katie Herzog (Blocked and Reported host) on “cancel culture” in Seattle and at the New York Times. My Northwest. https://mynorthwest.com/1935924/cancel-culture-seattle-herzog/?
Kaufman, Scott Barry (July 9, 2020). Uncancellable with Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal. The Psychology Podcast. https://scottbarrykaufman.com/podcast/uncancellable-with-katie-herzog-and-jesse-singal/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4yALKu3RrE
Russell, Thaddeus (January 11, 2019). Episode 74: Katie Herzog. YouTube / Unregistered Podcast. http://www.thaddeusrussell.com/podcast/74
Weinstein, Bret (November 14, 2019). Katie Herzog. YouTube / DarkHorse Podcast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjELREOrtDc
Lewis, Matt K. (November 9, 2020). Katie Herzog on What the Media and the Left Get Wrong YouTube / Matt Lewis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt1i_8k2g5E
Phetasy, Bridget (September 3, 2020). Katie Herzog Never Expected the Concept of “Theybies” to Spread the Way It Has Walk-Ins Welcome. https://ricochet.com/podcast/walk-ins-welcome-bridget-phetasy/katie-herzog-never-expected-the-concept-of-theybies-to-spread-the-way-it-has/
Murphy, Meghan (February 7, 2019). Taking the white pill: Katie Herzog refuses to be put into a box. YouTube / Meghan Murphy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR5DmKCjgVg
Boyce, Benjamin A. (April 1, 2020). Quarantine Conversations: Katie Herzog. YouTube / Benjamin A Boyce. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfLoXgrfiio
Taibbi, Matt and Halper, Katie (March 22, 2021). Substack Cancel Wars With Jesse Singal & Katie Herzog. YouTube / Useful Idiots. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB6BIhnQJuo
Dillon, Tim (June 13, 2020). #204 – Katie Herzog | The Tim Dillon Show YouTube / The Tim Dillon Show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75N9DV8kGPg
Greenwald, Glenn (March 18, 2021). The Role of Claimed LGBT Identity in Political Discourse. YouTube / System Update. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt8BZzLFpzA
Rosenfeld, Kat and Bovy, Phoebe Maltz (March 12, 2020). Critiquing “Ugh-Men” Feminism. YouTube / Feminine Chaos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4593zo615iE
Tracey, Michael (June 11, 2020). When did all left-wing activists become trans? YouTube / M. Tracey. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGo4glpvGYc
Doyle, Andrew (October 22, 2020). America is exhausted, with Jesse Singal and Katie Herzog YouTube / Spiked [Culture Wars]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxVd-UyaSQg
Perez, Lou (February 7, 2020). Live in Portland with Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying, and Katie Herzog. YouTube / We the Internet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1sqivHa3sA
Fuller, David and Beiner, Alexander (June 19, 2020). The Death of Journalism? YouTube / Rebel Wisdom / Sensemaking Series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9AVo3jXjN8
Cohen-Wade, Aryeh (July 29, 2018). Jordan Peterson and Detransitioning. YouTube / Culturally Determined / Meaningoflife.tv. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IRAKuB1JI8
PhilosophyInsights (June 19, 2020). The Moral Panic and the Corruption of Journalism. YouTube / PhilosophyInsights. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjT9NVOQW10
This article originally misstated Herzog’s birthday. In 2022 the illustration was updated in response to feedback.