Weekly Recap: April 18, 2021

The ACLU...again, NCAA, father imprisoned for speaking out, and more...

These Weekly Recaps are put out every Saturday or Sunday and cover the previous week’s news relating predominantly to sex denialism and gender identity. If you find these free recaps useful, please consider joining my free email list or becoming a subscriber if you would like to show your support.


News

ACLU blocks FOIA request on trans inmates

Last week I reported on a LA Times story documenting a recent spike in male prisoners in California claiming to identify as women in order to get transferred to women-only prisons. New California legislation surrounding transgender, intersex, and non-binary identities has resulted in 261 transfer requests since the beginning of this year. These are concerning numbers to anyone who believes prisons should remain segregated by sex—not identity—and who worry about accuracy in reporting crime statistics.

This week The Post Millennial reported on a situation in Washington state of a woman who was interested in the numbers of trans identifies inmates who have been transferred to women’s prisons from men’s prisons. One way to obtain this public data would be to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Washington State Department of Correction, and that’s exactly what this woman did. However, instead of receiving the date she requested, she received an injunction.

The email she received stated, “We have filed for an emergency Temporary Restraining Order and a Motion for Preliminary Injunction to prevent the disclosure of documents you have requested from the Department of Corrections.” Full email below.

According to The Post Millennial, it is “unclear as to how the ACLU got wind of this FOIA request, and had time to put together a lawsuit, within the 10 days from which the request was made.” The woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous for the time being, is now being represented by The Women's Liberation Front (WoLF).

This is a shocking new precedent, as it will be impossible to know whether, and the degree to which, males are being allowed access to women’s prisons on the basis of self-ID, which raise valid safety concerns, if we cannot access the data.

It is readily apparent when something like engineering is based in fantasy over fact, as you will see bridges and buildings collapsing all around you. Male prisoners exploiting gender ideology and “sex spectrum” pseudoscience by suddenly identifying as female to transfer to women’s prisons is the biological equivalent of a bridge collapsing. It’s an embarrassing demonstration of a deeply flawed worldview, and the ACLU knows this, which is why their knee-jerk reaction is to try and bury the data.

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NCAA caves to social pressure

In light of many states creating bills that protect female athletics from the intrusion of male athletes, the NCAA has caved to social pressure and will not be holding championship events in states that have passed such bills. The NCAA Board of Governors state (my emphasis):

The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.

The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports. Our approach — which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports — embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport. Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.

When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.

Firstly, it must be noted that nobody is telling trans people they cannot compete in college sports. All that’s being requested is that they do so according to their biological sex, since the irreversible androgenizing effects of male puberty confer clear advantages for male athletes over females.

Secondly, the statement claims to be “embracing the evolving science on this issue,” yet if that were the case they would be aware of two comprehensive reviews in two major journals. The first, on the left by Hilton and Lundberg (2021) finds that “muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed.” The second, by Harper et al (2021) corroborates the findings in Hilton and Lundberg (2021), finding that “values for strength LBM [lean body mass] and muscle area in transwomen remain above those of cisgender women, even after 36 months of hormone therapy.” The second study is also notable because the first author, Joanna Harper, is a transwomen who has previously argued for inclusion.

There is simply no longer any way one can claim to be following the science and still support the inclusion of trans women in female athletics. These recent reviews in two major sports medicine journals clearly demonstrate the retained advantage of trans women undergoing hormone therapy. The “evolving science” imply does not support inclusion of male athletes, trans or otherwise, in female sports.

Of course, the ACLU wasted no time in distorting the issue.

A more accurate tweet would have read, “Today the NCAA confirmed it will pull events from states with bills banning biologically male student athletes from competing against female athletes in school sports.”

Father sentenced to 6 months prison for speaking out about daughter’s transition

A father in BC has recently been sentenced to 6 months in prison for speaking out about a court case involving his 14-year old daughter and his attempt to prevent her medical transition. The Canadian Gender Report gives some of the details surrounding the father’s decision to speak out:

Canadian Gender Report spoke with the father some time ago. Medical transition of children is an issue of moral conscience and it was obvious that he was very distraught that his daughter was making life-changing decisions with the full support of “professionals” who didn’t seem to consider whether medical transition was the only or best option for his daughter.

Like many other parents of trans-identified teens, the BC father was concerned that schools are introducing the idea of “being transgender” with their SOGI (sexual orientation gender identity) curriculum and resources. He told us that his daughter had been comfortable with in her body until the school had introduced the idea of “gender” and promoted identifying as a gender that is different from your biological sex. 

The girl started to identify as a boy and the school introduced her to a counsellor where she began to receive therapy. The therapist who counselled his daughter has recently come under investigation by his College for telling children and parents to threaten suicide to get what they want. This statement was recorded on video at an event where the therapist appeared frustrated that trans-identified children were not receiving access to medical transition fast enough.

Christoph Elston, known for his activism which involves holding a sign that states “children cannot consent to puberty blockers,” and who has recently been assaulted for doing so resulting in a broken arm, attended the trial’s final day and live tweeted the entire thing. It is worth reading to get a feel for the courtroom’s tense vibe.

Richard Dawkins sparks backlash from atheist groups

I was very much a part of the New Atheist movement in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Richard Dawkins is one of my heroes, and it is very likely that I would have never pursued evolutionary biology without his influence. This is why I was happy to see Dawkins dip a toe in the transgender debate when he tweeted a simple thought experiment:

Dawkins raised a very legitimate question: why are transgender identities socially acceptable and even celebrated, while transracial identities are viciously condemned? I have raised the same question on Twitter.

Some will remember that a philosopher named Rebecca Tuvel wrote a peer-reviewed paper published in Hypatia (Sci-Hub link here) titled “In Defense of Transracialism,” which looked at the ideological underpinnings of this question in great detail. Tuvel concluded in her paper:

I hope to have shown that, insofar as similar arguments that render transgenderism acceptable extend to transracialism, we have reason to allow racial self-identification, coupled with racial social treatment, to play a greater role in the determination of race than has previously been recognized. I conclude that society should accept such an individual’s decision to change race the same way it should accept an individual’s decision to change sex.

This paper sparked a massive backlash, and many called to have the paper retracted. Jesse Singal has a great write-up about the controversy in New York magazine titled “This Is What a Modern-Day Witch Hunt Looks Like.”

Back to Dawkins. In the wake of his simple thought experiment, many secular and atheist organizations spoke out against Dawkins with the all-too-common calls to “learn more and grow to be better.”

Gender ideology once again demonstrates that its only defense is to disallow debate and the open questioning of its tenets. No thought experiments are allowed, as these may lead you to conclusions that conflict with gender ideology’s Official Dogma.

Save the Children UK

I recently stumbled across the organization Save the Children UK on Twitter, and their tweet below caught me as so absurd I needed to share it.

The statement that “every child should have the right to be whoever they want to be” is just patently absurd. Should they have the right to be Elvis? I wanted to be a Ninja Turtle when I was a child. Should I have had the right to be one? This, to me, highlights just how far gender ideology has managed to go without push-back. Sure, we should do our best to let children come into their own, but the idea that we should be accepting of any self-declaration, no matter how wild, is simply preposterous.

CVS changes gender question on vaccine forms after trans ire

The move to replace biological sex with gender identity in all contexts is perhaps nowhere more concerning than in medicine. I have written about the significant medically-relevant sex differences for Quillette before in response to the New England Journal of Medicine’s scientifically ignorant claim that biological sex should be left off birth certificated because they “offer no clinical utility.”

Now we have an instance where CVS, following backlash from trans activists, will no longer require people to report their sex when filling out a COVID-19 vaccination form, but will instead ask only for their gender identity.

From Reuters:

A U.S. pharmacy chain has changed its online registration forms for COVID-19 vaccinations after transgender people complained about being asked to declare their birth sex, highlighting a heated nationwide debate about trans rights.

CVS Health Corp, which has administered millions of vaccines in the United States, said it was scrapping a "sex assigned at birth" question and would only ask people to state their gender following feedback from the LGBT+ community.

This “feedback from the LGBT+ community” is purely ideological and not based in fact. Given that we know there are sex differences in COVID-19 risk, it is important that we continue to collect accurate data. If there are sex differences in vaccine side effects, that is something we need to know, and allowing people to self-identify into any sex category they please will only make the data more messy.

It is one thing to respect gender identities out of politeness in a social context, but another thing entirely to adhere to them in medicine. Gender identity is simply not relevant information for vaccines. It makes about as much sense as asking for one’s favorite ice cream flavor.

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Good News

Events and Seminars

Fortunately there are many brilliant and brave people objecting to what’s going on in the news listed above. For instance, grab your tickets for a great conversation between Dr. Kathleen Stock and Suzanne Moor as they discuss Stock’s new book Material Girls.

Also, don’t miss a seminar put on by the Irish Women’s Lobby titled “Speak Up for Free Speech,” with Lisa Mackenzie, Meghan Murphy, and Iseult White.

Scottish Women Challenge Government’s Redefinition of ‘Woman’

There has been an ongoing legal challenge to Scotland’s recent redefinition of “woman” to be based purely on self-ID. The group For Women Scotland has been spearheading this challenge.

We are challenging the Scottish Ministers over the definition of "woman" in the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 which we believe is outside the legislative competency of the Scottish Parliament under the Scotland Act 1998 and in contravention of the Scottish Ministers' duties under equality legislation.

This leaves us with a definition that includes some men, while, remarkably, excluding some women. This cannot be allowed to stand.

We are concerned about the potential implications beyond Scotland, as, if it becomes established that devolved legislatures can amend key terms in the Equality Act via other pieces of legislation, then other countries within the UK may follow and the Equality Act may be eroded.

Unfortunately this legal challenge has failed judicial review. However, For Women Scotland is going to appeal the decision.

Having spoken to our lawyers and considered the financial implications and the appetite for this case, we have decided that we will appeal the decision on the Gender Representation on Public Boards Act. Our legal team is confident that the judgement is legally challengeable.

We have already seen this law cited by lobbyists hoping to roll back women's rights, and we have seen an MP claim that she would have no issue with a “gender balanced” board made up of 50% men and 50% transwomen. The Scottish Government also take the view that men who self-identify as women, are women - and this will be the basis of future policies. Therefore, we feel we have a duty to Scottish women to continue to fight: we cannot leave this law on the statute books to the detriment of women.

We would rather we did not have to seek redress from the courts, but as the Scottish Government continues to refuse to engage with women, we have little choice. Unchallenged, we feel this would only embolden those who wish to undermine Equality Act 2010 - we understand that the Scottish Green Party are now demanding the adoption of the flawed Yogyakarta Principles into Scots Law.

A reclaiming motion was formally marked on 9th April and we will leave open our fundraiser. Thank you so much for your support thus far, we cannot do this without you.

They have currently raised nearly 84% of their goal of £190,000, having raised £159,150 in just 4 days! There are still 27 days left to go in the fundraiser, so please consider helping to achieve their goal, and be sure to follow them on Twitter.


Articles

When Sons Become Daughters, Part III

This is the third installment of a series being published in Quillette by Angus Fox that “explores how parents react when a son announces he wants to be a girl.” If you haven’t been following this series, I highly recommend you go back and start at the beginning. This is a truly fantastic series of interviews, and you’ll want to take them all in.

From the article:

The first declaration that he was trans got to Coral by text message. She suspected right away that this was a consequence of the bullying, insecurity, and loneliness her son had experienced, as well as his sudden immersion in the Internet amid this isolation. She took the computer away from her son. For the next two years, he said nothing else about it.

But then came a new round of bullying, this time featuring nasty pictures shared online. He fell out with his best friend, and never reconciled. When the boys called him “sissy” and “girly,” the easiest way for him to process the insult was the most literal way, as a genuine assessment of deficient masculinity. He couldn’t perceive his bullies’ cruelty for what it was: Part of the crude sorting mechanism built into teenage male power hierarchies. To him, the most logical explanation was that he was a female in a male body, an interpretation that had the benefit of being the most generous to everyone, and which was approvingly centred in school curricula. Everything he saw on the Internet only reinforced this theory. What’s more, all this was happening just as his body was beginning to change in ways he didn’t like.

I Refuse to Stand By While My Students Are Indoctrinated

Bari Weiss has published a letter written by Paul Rossi, a teacher who is pushing back against Critical Race Theory that he is being forced to teach his students. It is a powerful letter I think you’ll enjoy.

From the article:

I am a teacher at Grace Church High School in Manhattan. Ten years ago, I changed careers when I discovered how rewarding it is to help young people explore the truth and beauty of mathematics. I love my work.

As a teacher, my first obligation is to my students. But right now, my school is asking me to embrace “antiracism” training and pedagogy that I believe is deeply harmful to them and to any person who seeks to nurture the virtues of curiosity, empathy and understanding. 

Cancel culture is real — and it’s getting worse

Noah Carl has a new piece in UnHerd responding to a recent piece that seemed to downplay cancel culture or at least view each side of the cancel culture debate as equally irrational.

From the article:

In a recent article, UnHerd’s science editor Tom Chivers argues that culture war debates are futile because the people on each side are working with different definitions of key terms. He takes ‘cancel culture’ as an example, arguing that “there’s nothing solid there to argue about” since the term has “no stable or universally agreed definition”. For Chivers, debating the existence of cancel culture is “all mood affiliation and tribalism”.

I’m a fan of Chivers’ writing on science and culture, but in this case I have to respectfully disagree with him. He wants to take a middle path between — as he sees it — two equally zealous factions: those who claim cancel culture doesn’t exist, and those who argue it’s a very real problem. However, this isn’t a debate where the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Rather, those who deny that cancel culture exists are simply wrong.


Videos

Dr. Debra Soh on sex and gender

Below is a great video by Dr. Debra Soh as part of the Oxford Union Web Series. In the video she gives a talk and responds to student newspaper reports regarding her work and her new book The End of Gender.

Darren Grimes on the potential UK conversion therapy ban

This is a great video where Darren Grimed interviews psychotherapist James Esses about the UK Government’s recently announced commitment to ban conversion therapy to "protect LGBT people from these abhorrent practices." In response, many healthcare practitioners have started a petition calling on the government not to ban proven therapies to help children with gender dysphoria.

As you may know, the move to include gender identity as part of a ban on “conversion therapy” is the route many trans activists are taking to ensure that any other form of therapy beyond “affirmation” therapy is considered a form of conversion therapy. This is harmful because affirmative care does not allow therapists to explore any potential underlying issues that may be causing dysphoria in order to relieve it. Instead, therapists must accept a child’s self-diagnosis of gender dysphoria and assist them in their social and medical transition, which results in permanent sterility and frequently invasive surgeries. Quillette ran a great piece on this complex issue last year, which I highly recommend you check out.


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