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A backlash against gender idealism has begun at the university

HIn front of us Joe Phoenix, a professor of criminology at Open University, will speak at the University of Essex about detaining transgender women in women’s prisons, threatening students to create barricades in the hall. He complained that he was a “transphobia” who was more likely to make a “hate speech.”Gun image and “shut up Turf “(A radical feminist of the trance exclusion group, slander) was spreading. The university told Ms. Phoenix that the event would be postponed. The Faculty of Sociology then asked her for a copy of the talk. A few days later, it voted to cancel the invitation and told her not to publish any more. Ms. Phoenix said she was “extremely resentful and terribly upset” about the loss of both her reputation and academic freedom.

The Vice President of the University of Essex asked Aqua Reindorf, a lawyer specializing in employment and discrimination law, to investigate. Eighteen months later, in mid-May, the university published Ms. Reindorf’s report on its website. Essex has violated Ms. Phoenix’s right to freedom of expression, and said the decision to “exclude and blacklist” her was also illegal. The university said she and Ms. Phoenix during Holocaust Memorial Week. He advised Professor Rosa Freedman of the University of Reading, who was excluded from the event, to apologize. (Finally, Essex allowed Friedman to attend.)

Ms. Reindorf’s report presents a challenge to transgender doctrine that originated in American universities and has spread to English-speaking universities. Its supporters say that gender identity (the feeling that you are a man or a woman) is as important as biological sex, and that transgender should be considered the gender you identify in all situations. thinking about. This is increasingly affecting policy makers. In some places, trans women once booked for women, from sports teams to prisons and shelters for victims of domestic violence. You can enter the space that was being used.

The opposite perspective, often referred to as “gender criticism,” may once have been considered mainstream. The belief that you were born in the wrong body should not be negative, as biological gender does not change with hormones, surgery, or other treatments. Gender critics say that due to biological gender differences. , Claims the need for continuous provision of women-only space. Transgender activists say that trans women should also have access to such places. “The emphasis that so-called gender-critical women describe as a threat to women ignores the fact that trans women are overwhelmingly threatened in a single-sex space,” said the University of Pennsylvania. Associate Professor Lisa Millatch says. The University of Pennsylvania has signed an open letter that does not recognize gender-critical feminists.

In other words, the arguments raised by both sides are complex and controversial. However, many transgender activists consider disagreements equal to hate speech and try to curb them. Several universities with policies that reflect the belief that trans women are women acted on the basis of dissatisfaction with those who only disagreed. In May, there was a student at Abertay University in Dundee. The university began an investigation after students reported at a seminar that women had vagina and men were stronger.

In some cases, scholars who opposed “gender idealism” (the view that gender identity outweighs biology) have been removed from the profession. In April, Callie Burt, an associate professor at Georgia State University, was fired from the editorial board. Feminist criminologyIt was said that her presence may discourage others from submitting manuscripts. The problem seems to have been her criticism of the fusion of sex and gender identity in the proposed anti-discrimination law. Last June, Kathleen Raleigh, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta, was dismissed by the undergraduate program chair after complaining that students were in danger. She says she attributed it to a gender-critical poster on the office door.

However, the most worrisome effects may not be visible. The number of college staff who avoid expressing their opinions for fear of damaging their careers or making them par par outcasts is unknown. According to a report on Essex, witnesses describe a “culture of horror” among those with a gender-critical view. This is not limited to one university. The report also argues that expressing the view that trans women are not women is not illegal under English law, not hate speech, as suggested by university policy.


The report is likely to strengthen scholars who are critical of gender, at least in the UK, where they have already spoken frankly. There are signs that gender ideological opposition is occurring elsewhere. In February, when Donna Hughes, a professor of women’s studies at the University of Rhode Island, published a critical article on gender ideology, a petition for her dismissal arose. Her college blamed her and warned that her right to free speech was “not unlimited.” Hughes, co-founder of the Academic Freedom Alliance (Academic Freedom Alliance).AFA) Was launched in March, and her college advised students to file complaints. She hired an “aggressive” lawyer. In may AFA The university has announced that it has canceled its investigation into Ms. Hughes and granted her voice.

The example of Ms. Hughes is striking in the United States, where concerns about freedom of speech in college tend to focus on racial considerations, where gender-critical views are rarely publicly expressed. Body. This is partly due to the lack of federal law that specifically protects transgender (or gay) people from discrimination. LGBT Activism. A transgender woman, Professor Jamie Taylor of the University of Toledo experiences a “transgender-related bias” throughout her career, from being called “it” by students and colleagues to being guided to a men’s toilet. I say I did. ..

The political polarization of the United States makes it even more difficult to discuss such topics. Transgender activists often portray gender criticism as the far right cause. That’s about to happen, but it’s a topic that left-wing feminists and social conservatives agree on. In Britain, most gender-critical scholars are left-handed atheist feminists. There are also some in the United States.

Their main concern is the conservation of women-only spaces. In February, Holly Lawford-Smith, a professor of philosophy at the University of Melbourne, launched a website ( to show women the experience of sharing women-only spaces with trans women. This is not a research project and the report has not been validated. Most often it describes discomfort rather than some physical assault. Shortly thereafter, about 100 of her colleagues signed an open letter claiming that the website promoted “harmful ideology.” He called for “quick and decisive action at the university.” Ms. Lawford Smith continued to work, but there were at least two marches at the university condemning it. “I think people really enjoy having their nemesis on campus,” she says.

How did the undisputed idealism become so established in a system that seems to be dedicated to fostering independent thinking? Pressure groups played a major role. In the UK, most universities and many public institutions participate in the Stonewall Diversity Champion scheme. In short, we have policies that reflect the Group’s position on transgender identity. A report on Essex states that the university’s policy is “not to keep the law as it is, but to favor Stonewall,” which could cause the university to break the law by indirectly discriminating against women. Essex recommended rethinking its relationship with Stonewall. Since then, several groups, including the government’s equality watchdog, have withdrawn from the Champions program.

The influence of pressure groups illustrates another major reason why transgender idealism has gained a foothold in academia. It is the exclusion of homosexual rights. Many organizations established to defend gay rights have transformed into transgender groups. Tamsin Braxter, a researcher and trans woman at Gonville and Kaius College in Cambridge, says that academia has become more welcoming to transgender people, largely thanks to Stonewall. But some gay people are against that new focus. In 2019, some supporters left the group. Part of the reason is that its stance redefines itself as transgender (and straight) to gay people, LGB Alliance. Similar groups have been born all over the world.

Students are increasingly expressing their criticism of gender. This year, a group of Cambridge feminist student groups held a “re-platform” event for gender-critical scholars who were excluded from academic events (Ms. Phoenix was one of the speakers). One of the organizers, Sophie Watson, says she lost a friend on the matter. “It’s very scary to use the wrong words. It’s really disgusting to disagree with the line that transgender women are women,” she says.

Campus rebellion

Gender-critical scholars hope that more people will speak out to encourage those who share their concerns but are afraid to express them. Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex. And when Kathleen Stock, one of Britain’s most famous gender-critical scholars, was awarded a government award for her contribution to education last December, hundreds of people around the world. A scholar has signed an open letter condemning her. More than 400 have signed a counter-evidence in her defense. However, many prefer to express their support personally, she says.

Universities will undoubtedly look at how the debate progresses outside academia, especially in court. From treating transgender children to treating those who have been accused of transphobia and then dismissed, as judges make decisions, the risk of freedom of speech becomes increasingly apparent. If Maya Forstater, a British researcher who lost her job because of a gender-critical view, wins an appeal against an employment court ruling that this is legal, the university is gender-critical. You may be able to defend your employees more quickly.

Regulations can also have an impact. In February, the British Government announced proposals to strengthen academic freedom at universities, including the appointment of defenders of freedom of speech. Some (but not all) gender-critical scholars welcome this idea. In the United States, proceedings claiming freedom of speech can make a difference. But universities that are successful thanks to a tradition of dissent and debate should actually defend it.

This article was published in the printed International section under the heading “Let’s talk about sex.”

A backlash against gender idealism has begun at the university

Source link A backlash against gender idealism has begun at the university

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