Mario Lopez apologizes for saying that parents shouldn’t force children to be trans
We are now at a point where it’s controversial to say parents shouldn’t go along with whatever whims their 3-year-old come up with. Actor Mario Lopez discovered this when he went on Candace Owen’s talk show and revealed that he was not in favour of either the transitioning or affirming of gender-confused toddlers.
It took a while for the mainstream media to take note of the comments. But since it was found out that the actor, best known for the role of A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell, had spoken his mind, the hate hasn’t stopped.
There appears to be some turbulence ahead for the LGBT community. According to a national survey by GLAAD, LGBT acceptance appears to be declining in America. Interestingly, it’s declining among a group that is often touted as the most accepting and socially “woke”—millennials.
The survey reports that the percentage of young people who reported being “somewhat” or “very” comfortable with LGBT people dropped from 53% to 45%. This is the second year in a row that the number has fallen. While many gay publications have shared this survey and rang the alarm, I’ve yet to see anyone online offer a measured opinion of why this is occurring beyond “ORANGE MAN BAD.”
I am a transgender woman and YouTuber who has witnessed LGBT discourse become more extreme and intense year after year. What used to simply be a conversation about marriage equality and treating those who are different than us as equals has become a cultural hailstorm. Our community’s most popular and decorated activists often preach the most extreme of our ideas rather our most practical. Buzzwords and genders are added into the community’s vernacular at such a rate that even I can’t keep up with them. What does that say about someone who is not within the community and their ability to keep pace with the dialogue?
I believe it is the T in LGBT (or whatever the current acronym is) that has contributed the most to the erosion of society’s understanding and acceptance of the community at large. When I transitioned 6 years ago, I remember being fearful of receiving rejection because of who I was. Now, I find myself fearful of rejection because of who trans activists have led the general public to believe I am. The push for 5-year-olds to transition, mandatory dating of trans people (unless you want to be called a bigot), and forced acceptance of biological males destroying female athletes in sports are among the most toxic ideas pushed by trans activists in 2019. As a trans woman myself, I believe none of them but often find myself anxious when meeting new people that they may think I do as a default.
To be clear, these are also all ideas that are incompatible with the general public. It is society’s natural inclination to protect children and women. So why is it that the trans community has made it their mission to brand themselves as something that at best disregards the harm to both children and women and at worst willingly inflicts it? If this is the route the community insists on going down, I don’t see much hope at all. I expect the decline of acceptance to continue.
There is an LGBT fatigue that has fallen on many in society that is a direct result of the constant bullying, shaming, and virtue signalling that comes out of the community—or at least, the activists that are placed on a pedestal to speak on our behalf. As the GLAAD survey reveals, it is particularly millennials who feel this fatigue the strongest. Millennials tend to be the most plugged into the culture war, so it only makes sense that many are beginning to question—what if this LGBT thing is derailing a bit? Why must I be forced to accept drag queens teaching sex ed to my children, and why am I feeling my heart race at the mere thought of questioning or challenging it publicly?
At some point, the community is going to have to address the overreach and bad ideas we are currently spouting. I am personally exhausted with all of it, but hey—all I can do is continue to try to sound the alarm myself.
Six months ago I reported a story about an Ontario couple, Pamela and Jason Buffone, whose daughter, “N,” suffered so much distress in her Grade One classes on gender fluidity that her parents eventually enrolled her in another school. A bright and impressionable child, N informed her parents that her teacher had told the class that “Girls are not real and boys are not real.” The teacher meant, of course, that biology is not an indicator of a child’s gender identity, a concept N was too cognitively immature to grasp at age six, and so found very frightening.
The Buffones were perturbed by the uniform commitment to the teaching of controversial gender theories to young children that they found when they took their objections, first to the school principal and then up the chain to the Superintendent of schools for their district. While sympathy was expressed for N’s confusion and anxiety, which persisted until her parents removed her from the school, approval for the program of instruction in gender fluidity remained firm in every rank.
Most parents would have let the matter drop once their own child’s troubles were over. But the Buffones looked at their daughter’s experiences through the larger lens of a changing culture and took their concern to the next level. Following Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party victory in June 2018, they filed a complaint with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT). That was dismissed, although an OCT representative conceded that the curriculum is based on ideology.
Then they filed an application before the Human rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) against the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board on behalf of their daughter, citing “discrimination on the basis of gender and gender identity in contravention of the Human Rights Code.”
That complaint is now in progress. From the materials I have seen, the School Board is taking the line that the gender-identity law only offers protection to those who are historically disadvantaged. Basically, they’re saying it’s too bad if N was distressed by the lesson plans, but the school’s greater obligation to ensure that dysphoric kids feel included.
From the Buffones’ point of view, inclusion for gender-dysphoric children seemed to require the deliberate erosion of N’s comfort and security in her normative gender identity as a girl—and nothing but a girl. This complaint will uncover whether the HRTO believes that all children’s gender identity rights are protect under Bill 33 (“Toby’s Act”), as its wording would imply, or whether some identities are to be considered more equal than others.
Sometimes a life experience galvanizes people into unexpected activism. It’s a bonus if that person is intelligent, highly organized and familiar with effective methods of communication. This has been the case for Pamela Buffone. Out of frustration at the stonewalling she and her husband received, she decided to take the only kind of action a concerned citizen with no official power can.
Buffone first educated herself on the subject of gender identity: the theories behind it, the proliferating affirmation movement, and the effects of puberty blockers on children. She reached out to other concerned parents and dissidents in the professions most directly involved in the treatment of gender dysphoria. She started to write blog posts based on her experience. With allies, Buffone founded an excellent site, for which she is the publisher, the Canadian Gender Report (CGR).
In the CGR’s “About Us” section, it says, “We are a group of parents and professionals concerned about the medicalization of identity and the lack of open discussion on issues that are affecting Canadian families and children.”
The CGR takes on some of the more pressing issues surrounding the explosion of gender-identity “contagion” all over the western world. It offers reliable science-based information on sex and gender and asks important questions, such as why gay and autistic kids are so radically over-represented in the rush to transition. It offers news on what is happening in this arena, here and abroad, such as a national inquiry into the safety and ethics of transgender medicine presently under way in Australia, conducted by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. It also provides a window into the under-studied area of detransitioning, a phenomenon that activists work hard to suppress knowledge of (usually successfully).
Just to give you an idea of why the CGR is so valuable: In a Dec 3 post, the Report assesses the recently announced Trans Youth Can! observational study of youth referred for blockers or hormones at ten clinics in Canada, funded with a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health research. It will collect data over a two-year period on about 300 Canadian youth under 16 years of age.
On the surface, it seems very bona fide. But the Report finds issues of concern. You can read their critique here. What leaped out at me was the fact that the research team is closely affiliated with Trans Pulse Canada, an organization that requires its board of directors to be majority trans. The CGR notes that Dr. Greta Bauer “is the research director of both the Trans Pulse survey of the trans community in Canada which has been credited with changing legislation and policy in Canada and this Trans Youth Can! study of youth referred for puberty blockers and hormone treatment.” Knowing this, I am skeptical that the study will produce an objective portrayal of the situation.
Indeed, objectivity on the skyrocketing demand for professional services for presumed gender dysphoria is hard to come by at all. The average parent who wants to serve their child’s gender interests, but also wants the most conservative possible process before arriving at affirmation, find themselves stymied when it seems that at every turn—whether it is teachers, social workers, psychologists or medical practitioners—everyone they consult is encouraging pro-active affirmation as a best practice, and any hesitancy to affirm a potential risk factor for the child’s mental health.
That is precisely why the CGR is so valuable as a resource for them. Readers often tell me they want to push back against the ideological excesses of the trans movement, but feel helpless to make a difference. Educating themselves through CGR posts and links and promoting CGR through their networks is an excellent beginning. For parents of young children being exposed to what parents consider age-inappropriate material, I particularly recommend CGR’s “Resources” section.
Here you will find links to other organizations working to bring responsibility and scientific integrity to the trans discussion; a Youtube channel offering interviews and insights on detransitioning; a support group and blog for parents of children with Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD); a U.K. group fighting for the protection of women’s rights in sports; and a link to gender-critical activist Meghan Murphy’s website, Feminist Current.
Also in this section, one finds access to the perspectives of seasoned, non-ideological medical professionals and therapists in this field. Their prudence, rationality and wisdom will act as a welcome balm to the anguished souls of parents caught up in this tangled web, who feel surrounded by trans activist bullies in their search for knowledge and disinterested advice.
I recommend this site to them, and to all Canadians seeking objective information and enlightenment on a culturally transformative, hypothesis-based experiment, in which our children and grandchildren are an unwitting and involuntary test group.
Disclaimer: Buffone has been represented by the JCCF (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms) where the author serves on the Board of Directors.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca).
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declared in 1969 that “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” and that the government should ignore “what’s done in private between adults.” On that basis, his Liberal government proceeded to remove sodomy from the Criminal Code.
Today, 50 years later, some Canadians believe that government should be keenly interested in “what’s done in private between adults”—this time not in bedrooms but in the offices of psychologists, on therapists’ couches, and in private counselling sessions with clergy at mosques, synagogues, churches and temples.
A proposed ban on “conversion therapy” in Edmonton is not limited to discredited practices such as shock therapy attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation. Rather, it is worded so broadly that it invites the government into every psychologist’s office, every therapy session, and every pastoral or spiritual counselling session that a religious leader might have with a member of her or his congregation.
If passed by Edmonton’s City Council, Bylaw 19061 would make it illegal to offer or provide “counselling or behaviour modification techniques, administration or prescription of medication, or any other purported treatment, service, or tactic used for the objective of changing a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or gender preference, or eliminating or reducing sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between persons of the same sex.”
Providing and promoting “gender-affirming surgery or any service related to gender-affirming surgery” would be the only legal choice left available under Bylaw 19061.
Bylaw 19061 applies not just to doctors, psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists, but also to pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and all religious leaders. The “business” prohibited by Bylaw 19061 includes non-profits “however organized or formed” and includes every “profession” or “calling” without an exemption for clergy.
Bylaw 19061 addresses practices that are governed not by politicians, but by the various professional associations that accredit doctors, psychologists, counsellors, pharmacists and other professionals. For example, the “administration or prescription of medication” is governed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, not by the 13 politicians who currently run Edmonton.
Based on information posted on the City of Edmonton website, neither Mayor Don Iveson nor any of the 12 Councillors appear to have any formal education, expertise or credentials in psychology, psychiatry, medicine or pastoral care.
Bylaw 19061 targets private conversations between consenting adults about sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and preference: conversations to which no government should have access. This Bylaw shows no respect, or even tolerance, for “what’s done in private between adults” in regard to their personal choices about sexual feelings and sexual behaviour, and their personal choices about what spiritual, psychological and behavioural goals to set for themselves. Bylaw 19061 is another example of a “government knows best” ideology that disrespects the freedom of adults to make their own choices about their own lives.
Bylaw 19061 takes away choice from a person struggling with gender identity confusion (dysphoria), by keeping legal only the option of seeking opposite-sex hormones, and eventually surgery, in an attempt to make the body conform to thoughts and feelings. The Bylaw makes it illegal for any psychologist, clergy, psychiatrist, doctor or counsellor to assist people in overcoming their feelings of confusion, and helping them to accept and embrace their biological reality. People “de-transition” all the time because they are dissatisfied with the transgender narrative and the results of their attempts to transition sexes. Government has no lawful business attempting to prevent them from doing so.
Bylaw 19061 also takes away the individual’s choice to seek and obtain help to practice celibacy. Not every Canadian accepts the motto “If it feels good, do it.” There are religious and non-religious persons in Canada who want to change or curtail their sexual behaviour, including people who are same-sex attracted. But Bylaw 19061 makes it illegal for pastors, rabbis, imams, priests and even leaders of voluntary 12-step programs, to assist same-sex attracted people who choose to practice celibacy.
Ironically, Bylaw 19061 allows these same pastors, rabbis, imams, priests and 12-step leaders to promote celibacy to those who feel attracted to the opposite sex. Under Bylaw 19061, an unmarried Orthodox Jewish man can receive his rabbi’s encouragement not to have sex with women, but it’s illegal for this rabbi to encourage an unmarried man to abstain from having sex with other men.
Those who support Bylaw 19061 are no doubt motivated by the good intentions of helping people and preventing harm, but their arrogance is astounding. Who are they to dictate to people struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions that the only valid choice is to act on those feelings? How is it humane or compassionate to remove support from people who want to practice celibacy? The number of people who want to practice celibacy may be small, but that is irrelevant to the importance of their rights and freedoms respected by a free society. After all, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is about protecting minorities, even very small ones, and especially unpopular ones. As the Supreme Court of Canada explains it, the majority’s views have no need for constitutional protection, as they are tolerated in any event.
Bylaw 19061 is pure politics, not medicine or science. It is political grandstanding, designed to impress the LGBTQ lobby, and to promote transgender ideology.
Fifty years after Trudeau proclaimed tolerance for “what’s done in private between adults,” Bylaw 19061 tells us that it’s OK for consenting adults to engage in the sexual practices of their choice, but it’s not OK for consenting adults to discuss those sexual practices freely if their conversation heads in the “wrong” direction. The “wrong” direction, under Bylaw 19061, is that which challenges currently popular beliefs about sexuality. By making certain private conversations between consenting adults illegal, Bylaw 19061 invites the government into private spaces that ought to remain private.
Six researchers from the UK have recently been awarded a grant by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) for a project entitled “Reforming Legal Gender Identity: A Socio-Legal Evaluation,” which runs from May 2018 through April 2021. This project is funded by the ESRC for £579,717 with the remaining 20% of funding coming from the host institution, bringing the total research funds to £724,000. This is an enormous amount of money for a research project whose aim, according to the project website, is to delineate these four aims:
- To critically explore different ways of reforming legal gender status, focusing on England and Wales, while drawing on experiences in other countries, the different legal approaches taken towards other social characteristics, such as religion, disability, ethnicity and sexuality, and the views of activists, policy-makers, NGOs, lawyers and the wider public.
- To contribute to ongoing policy and political discussions relating to current legal reform proposals, while taking a longer-term approach.
- To understand different people’s hopes and worries in relation to both the current legal framework and different approaches to legal reform.
- To contribute to broader discussions about the changing character of gender and the contribution law can make to how it is changing.
Headed by Davina Cooper, Research Professor in Law at King’s College London, this project questions if “we still need a legal gender status at all” while conterminously making the claim that the “project will draw on experiences in other countries, the legal approach taken towards other social characteristics, such as religion, ethnicity and sexuality, and the views of activists, policy-makers, NGOs, lawyers and the wider public.” All this seems rather ambiguous and ill-defined given that the entire research team does not define its terms on its website regarding gender or sex and it consistently demonstrates a lack of understanding of the somatic, or corporeal, in relation to sex. After all, what does it mean to engage the “changing character of gender” when this terminology has not at all been agreed upon nor clearly defined within the project itself and this term is used as a surrogate to sex, even to annex sex entirely?
I requested a copy of the grant proposal from the ESRC which informed me that they “do not disclose grant applications.” I also wrote to Davina Cooper, the Principle Investigator for this project, and never received responses to my questions regarding the projects phases and more specifically, the troubling obfuscation of terms used in the survey which does not bode well for a project of this budget and with such wide-flung aspirations within the sectors of policy and law. Cooper did write me back to clarify that, “This a feminist project, and we are currently exploring different perspectives in order to think about law reform in relation to gender and sex-related forms of subordination.” Yet, I see no evidence whatsoever of any feminist analysis represented in what is laid bare by the project’s website profile.
For instance, the research team led by Cooper consists of Emily Grabham, Elizabeth Peel, Flora Renz, Robyn Emerton, and Han Newman. All these researchers have pro-transgender agendas in their professional and public profiles, publications, and virtually nothing related to feminism. Intersectionality appears throughout many researchers’ bios, but this term has long ago been hijacked from feminism and is today very much a discourse that is used to instruct women that they are being “exclusionary” should they not focus feminism on men who claim to be women.
Historically, intersectionality is a concept that was introduced and coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw to help explain the oppression of African-American women in the larger conversation of racial justice, identity politics, and policing. Today, feminists are not in agreement at all that feminism has anything to do with males who identify as transgender, hence this term is not a sign of feminist leanings but is very much an indication of the subject’s belief in gender identity. And gender identity, which many feminists regard as a form of somatic essentialism embraced by trans-identified people, largely functions to cement gender stereotypes (since gender is stereotype). While it is not surprising that the words “trans” and “queer” regularly pop up in these researchers’ profiles, only one of the researchers has published a few articles marginally addressing feminism or women’s rights. And one co-authored piece clearly weighs the importance of gender over sex. All this leaves me wondering how this research project is anything other than a set-up for trans affirmative views and not a “wide range of people.” Presumably, a very narrow set of viewpoints espoused by this project’s website are being framed for investigation.
Aside from the research team, the advisory board shows a lack of balance where the word “woman” is eclipsed by the focus of most of these board members on issues directly related to gender, transgender, and queer identity. Notably, one of these board members, Cressida Heyes, was active in denouncing Canadian philosopher, Rebecca Tuvel, when her article on transracialism was published in Hypatia (2017). Heyes’s actions together with a letter calling for the retraction of Tuvel’s article unleashed an onslaught of harassment on Tuvel. Instead of offering a riposte to Tuvel’s piece, Heyes used her power as one of the editors of Hypatia to suggest that the article “should not have been published” while also publicly denouncing the article on her personal Facebook page. And where women are mentioned within the board members’ publications, they are generally framed within the discourse of “gender” and not sex. That is, of course, if women are mentioned at all. Overall, the professional profiles of most of these board members reveal academics who actively push transgender ideology within their professions and for whom women or sex-based theories like feminism are not even an afterthought.
But the eyebrow-raising moment for me in reading through the names of this advisory board was when I found Alex Sharpe on the list. A transgender-identified lawyer, Sharpe is well-known for harassing women on Twitter, generally calling any woman who disagrees with Sharpe a “TERF” (an epithet used against women to shut down debate quite frequently on social media especially) despite women’s many objections to this term. Sharpe also actively practices and publishes on the subject of “gender identity fraud,” namely when males or females fraudulently misrepresent their sex in order to procure sex from an unwitting person. Advocating against “sexual autonomy” and the guarding of physical boundaries, Sharpe frames sexual autonomy as “liberal” and suggests that the transsexual’s right to privacy takes precedence over the individual’s right to know the sex of the person with whom they might engage in coitus. And in another radio show last November, Sharpe compared women who are critical of gender ideology to the “bubonic plague” on Radio 4’s “Woman’s Hour.”
In the research team’s section entitled “Support & Resources,” there are few women’s organizations mentioned and they include Sisters Uncut, a women’s advocacy group which has also supported a trans-identified male who violently attacked a woman in London in 2017. Of this list of organizations, only a few actually represent women’s rights and are dwarfed in number by 16 transgender organizations and two related transgender projects. Absent from this list are various organizations that represent women’s rights like Fair Play for Women, Woman’s Place UK, and Transgender Trend.
From the ground up, this project’s experts and advisory board have a clear agenda to install pro-transgender conclusions given the ethos of the research team, their political and theoretical motivations, and what seems to be a troubling push by many in academia around the English-speaking world to elide any discussions of material reality to the extent of removing sex as a legal characteristic.
But let’s move onto the actual “stuff” of this project. How does research which describes taking an “intersectional approach” and examining “the implications of different reform proposals for single-sex/gender activities, services and spaces, the wider equality agenda and other fields of statutory law” actually do this given that intersectional feminism has nothing to do with this conflation of “sex/gender”? Intersectionality is a theory that addresses the interstices of “race and sex discrimination” among females specifically and uniquely. Still “Reforming Legal Gender Identity” pretends that intersectionality is a vital component of gender theory even though Crenshaw’s work not only predates gender theory as it was published in 1989, but she does not even mention transgender people whatsoever, only using the term “gender” as a linguistic substitute for sex, as was common at the time for scholars to get around the confusion between sex, the act of coitus, and gender, a more delicate form of saying sex.
For anyone working on the subject of gender identity versus sex, the basis for any kind of coherent analysis would begin by acknowledging that gender and sex are not at all the same thing when discussing identity (gender) as opposed to the corporal reality of the body (sex). So, when the project page begins with, “Currently in Britain, we are all assigned a legal gender at birth,” we are forced to recognize this as a misrepresentation since nobody is ever assigned a gender legally. Sex is recorded — not assigned — at birth. This is done so through the observation of genitalia which is fairly accurate, notwithstanding the .018% birthrate of intersex conditions. For the rest, writing “male” or “female” on the basis of genitalia is a fairly accurate measure of record. So how is it that researchers who received approximately three-quarter of a million pounds do not know that birth sex and not gender is recorded and not assigned?
The project claims that it “will also explore what legal gender status means to people and whether it matters in their everyday lives.” The problem with this statement, as “Women’s Hour” indicated last Fall as listeners tweeting to the producers who stated that they simply do not understand what “cis” means, is this: if gender identity is confusing to the average Radio 4 listener who tends to be well-educated, it is very likely hugely confusing to the masses. Gender as a social construct does matter in most people’s lives because it is a restrictive narrative that affirms gender as stereotype. And there is no better place to see this confusion than in the study itself.
For instance, the Phase 1 explanation gives a teleological view of history whereby transgender “self-declaration” serves some sort of progressive good by referring to “a growing number of countries, including Argentina, Republic of Ireland, Malta, Denmark and Colombia, now allow transgender people to change their assigned legal gender status by way of self-declaration.” This goes on to compare self-declaration with the UK where “a person who wants to change their assigned legal gender must provide evidence to a quasi-judicial panel, the Gender Recognition Panel, that they have lived in their ‘acquired gender’ for at least two years, and that they have been medically diagnosed with gender dysphoria.”
Yet, none of these terms really make any sense since no woman lives in a gender, much less any man. We live lives that are inflected by sex-specific realities (e.g. pregnancy or testicular cancer) and women disproportionately suffer discrimination based on older modalities for reading women’s bodies. In short, nobody really lives “in a gender” aside from these self-professed transgender persons. Despite the opaqueness of language here, the researchers propose to “identify different pathways for legal gender reform to take forward into Phase Two. Undoing gender inequality, gender as self-determination, and abolishing assigned gender are three possible starting points.” To recap, because several countries have included “self-declaration” (which is not on par with what is being proposed in the UK), that we must usher this in because…. Malta and Argentina. Got it.
The most damning part of this research project is the survey entitled “Attitudes to Gender” which can be viewed and taken here. This survey should be an alarm bell for anyone who wishes to investigate the use of public funds for research, much less academic research, which relies on obfuscation, misrepresentation, and word salad. This study is allegedly supposed to focus upon the issues of balance and the effects on women who represent 51% of the population yet can’t even speak to the somatic definition of sex, opening with: “How do you define yourself?” The choices are female, male, or other. This is followed by, “Does your current sex/gender match the sex you were given at birth?” These questions are nonsensical since sex is not a subjective definition, say where one person sees navy blue and the other black. Sex is rather clearly defined aside from the .018% who have intersex conditions. And there is no such thing as “sex/gender” since they are separate entities entirely.
Without defining crucial terms for meanings, such as “gender,” “sex” and “gender identity,” the questionnaire is impossible to answer. The questions are obtuse and carry ready-made assumptions which most people won’t understand because not even people like myself who have worked in the field of queer theory understand the terms, their conflations, their being paired with a slash, etc. Even among those who will understand some of the words (eg. those in the transgender community), there is a huge range of disagreement. There are many who think transgender is an umbrella term for transvestitism and intersex and those who do not; those who think transgender is uniquely transsexual and medicalized and those who do not; and there are many more variations of opinion within that community. Because of the lack of clear definitions, it is easy to see how any results produced by this study will be meaningless. Yet, because of the political ethos of the research team, we are not guaranteed any impartiality that would result in an admission that this study is gravely flawed, that this survey is nonsensical word salad, and that there has been an abuse of almost three-quarters of a million pounds.
One example of the misuse of terminology in the survey is a question that refers to “people who are not born male” instead of just using the term “female.” Such a choice of words reveals a deeper problem since the researchers clearly believe that “male” is a clearly-defined category hence the “not male” part of the question. It would then follow logically that the refusal to say “female” indicates that the female body is a discursive space of colonization — both linguistically and ontologically. After all, why is “not male” appropriate but “female” verboten? In other words, the question could have been worded: “people who are not born non-female.” Also, curiously absent on the survey was any question related to “people who are not born female.” The entire survey is incoherent and would not pass the muster for undergraduate thesis requirements. How is it that academics with PhDs not only got this study past an ethics committee but managed to get such an enormous amount of funding? And this study is just one of many others which are heavily funded by the ESRC and various UK universities where researchers either have direct links to pro-trans lobby groups and organizations and/or where they are working to influence policies within organizations like UNICEF.
Even researchers like Sally Hines in receipt of six-digit figure grants from British institutions, cannot explain the difference between sex and gender. Hines has received a grant from the ESRC (2017–2020), “Pregnant Men: An International Exploration of Trans Male Experiences and Practices of Reproduction.” This project ostensibly seeks “to gain an in-depth understanding of the practices, experiences, and health care needs of the growing number of men who may seek to, or become, pregnant and give birth after gender transition.” Additionally, Hines claims “to examine how trans male narratives of pregnancy and birth bring new understandings to the embodied and gendered processes of parenting.” So already, just at the descriptive level of the project, we note several problems of intellectual coherence whereby Hines staggers between calling these women who identify as transgender as “men” and then as “male.” Objectively speaking, however, these individuals are not “males” in any sense of the word. Moreover, examining the one moment in human life where biology (male, female) matters inasmuch as human reproduction is the result of biology, one would think that these terms are not only important but crucial to define correctly.
But read through the description of Hines’ ongoing research and what we notice are the precise workings of the academic pyramid scheme I refer to above:
The project consultants, ‘Gendered Intelligence’, ‘Trans Bare All’, represent major international stakeholders. They will organise and run focus groups with the PI and UK Co-I to ensure that stakeholder impact is built into the project’s methods of data collection…The focus groups with representatives from relevant health professional organisations in each country will embed impact and dissemination into the project at all stages in each of the geographical sites. Project consultants will organise two health practitioner training events, which will be co-coordinated with Public Health England. Key target audiences here will be midwives organisations and general practitioners. Dissemination events with health professionals are planned in the UK, US, Australia, Poland and Italy, and are costed into the project’s broader impact strategy. Information Sheets for health practitioners will be developed to impact on care standards, and guidelines will be drawn up for policy makers at UK, European and international levels.
What Hines’ project reveals at just the grant proposal level is that her research already has a built-in conclusion which aims to “embed impact” when there ostensibly could be any number of conclusions from such a project, beginning with healthcare practitioners and midwives stating that perhaps referring to pregnant women as men might be a problem, as many are already on record as stating. Why spend £502,251 on a project where women are simultaneously referred to as “trans men”, then “males”, then “trans masculine,” and “gender diverse people” when the bar for examining pregnancy ought to begin with the reality of the female body? Also of worry in this research agenda are the ways Hines makes clear her alliances to political lobby groups like Gendered Intelligence which is not a healthcare organization whatsoever.
So what we are seeing through Hines’ research is how she is giving the academic Newspeak to a movement that is invested in full-on recruitment. You can see here a video produced by Gendered Intelligence which basically shows recruitment of a young woman who describes her experiences with GI as an adolescent: “So being part of the youth group with GI…It really helped me figure out stuff to do with my gender…I was really really confused about what was going on. I didn’t even really know what “transgender” was and then I went to my first GI meeting and it was just really awesome being with other people who were transgender and were just completely normal …” The fact that organizations and researchers like GI and Hines, receive public funding in order to lend legitimacy to the others’ schemes is precisely the “stuff” of an academic Ponzi scheme when there is no real meaning being explored but where jargon serves as the fluff of member recruitment through the promise of lending “real meaning” to one’s life. But when this meaning is produced through the sacrifice of truth, we must begin to wonder how university funding of such “research” (which really, at this point, must be put into quotes) is creating a social scene of legitimation without the normal open scientific reviews and critiques that are part of any healthy academic process.
Ultimately, research projects like those of Hines and Cooper are fundamentally academic pyramid schemes where researchers all share political and ideological alliances, where scholarship is about anything but objective research, and where there is a larger mandate to involve organizations that influence policy and law and that lend political legitimacy to ideas that have zero scientific merit. All this while academics achieve a heightened status and increased funding for similarly flimsy research in a field where evidence matters less than woke points. Indeed, one has to wonder what sentences like this even mean: “Are the traditional binary male and female gender roles relevant in an increasingly fluid and flexible world?” The central aim of much of this “research” is clear: to replace sex with gender throughout public policy both nationally and internationally.
Given the heated debates during the Reform of Gender Recognition Act consultation in the UK last summer, it is no secret that the issue of legal reforms to gender necessarily invokes the disappearance of sex as a category. For women, this is an important issue because females are raped and murdered by males irrespective of how they identify.
The imbalance in these studies bulldozes the survey-taker and passive reader into having to collude with the ethos that gender is “good.” These research projects never put into question the possibility that gender is uniquely a stereotype and harmful to males and females alike. The planned impact of Cooper’s project is formulated around the researcher’s assumption that the research findings will be “ideally placed to influence future legal and policy debate.” What this means, when you sift through the bios of the principal investigators and many on the advisory board who hold seats on other granting institutions, editorial committees, and institutional seats of great power, is this: that an enormous amount of money has been thrown at academics who are using public funds for political activism within a dishonestly formulated project.