Leftist censored by Left again

June 2, 2016 • 9:45 am

Alice Dreger is a bioethicist and the author of Galileo’s Middle Finger, a book I’ve just started reading. It’s been recommended by several friends, and I gather it has something to do with her demonization by colleagues for her research on intersex individuals. But I’ve read only 30 pages and can’t yet tell. If anybody’s read the book, weigh in below.

On her personal website yesterday, Dreger wrote about her continuing ostracism by the Left in an essay called “Zero Tolerance: Censored by the Left.” What happened is that one of her very popular pieces of writing, “What if we admitted to children that sex is primarily about pleasure?“, was noticed by the website Everyday Feminism, which wanted to reprint it. She asked for a proper citation to the original publication, mention of her two most recent book, her approval if the site made any changes to her piece, and a modest fee. That’s exactly what I’d do.

Everyday Feminism did publish the piece, but then suddenly pulled it. Dreger reports:

I thought to myself, “I’ll bet someone told them I’m supposedly an enemy of transgender rights, and so they pulled it.”


Today by email, from Josette Sousa, Program Coordinator for Everyday Feminism, when I wrote to ask “wtf”:

“What happened was that we decided to pull the article from circulation shortly after it went up. When we asked permission from it we weren’t aware of some of the articles you’ve published on trans issues and after a reader brought it to our attention and we looked into them. We then realized that while we very much valued the information in the article on teaching children that sex is about pleasure, the views expressed in several of your other articles directly conflicts with the work we’re trying to do in Everyday Feminism. For that reason, we decided to pull the article.” 

So supposedly something I’ve written about trans issues is so terribly offensive, Everyday Feminism doesn’t dare publish a piece by me on talking to your kids about sex!

This is the literary equivalent of no-platforming: refusing to use any of an author’s pieces because you object to something they’ve written elsewhere. If we did that with Christopher Hitchens, nobody would reprint any of his work if they objected to his published defense of the Iraq war. And it’s unconscionable. We’ll never agree with everything everyone says, and if you’re a member of the Highly Offended Left, that means that you’ll reprint work only by those deemed 100% Morally Pure.

But is Dreger really a transphobe? She claims not, and her citations support it:

And what are the “viewed expressed in several of [my] other articles that directly conflicts with the work [they’re] trying to do”? Of course they don’t say. Because I think they’d have an awfully hard time pointing to any such thing.

A number of my fellow feminists have pointed out that today, women like me can subject to silencing simply on the basis that they have supposedly said something that is anti-trans rights, even if they have not. Anyone so labeled also gets labeled a “TERF”: trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

I’ve pointed out repeatedly that I’m no such thing. Take this article, for example (from a decade ago!). Take this report I helped author.Take this book I co-edited.

But it does no good. Because as soon as you assert anything that someone with the trans identity card claims is anti-trans, you are stripped of your rights to be a sex-positive feminist talking about sex ed at a feminist website. At least in the case of “Everyday Feminism.”

. . . I’m still on the left. I’m still pushing for trans rights. Try and stop me.

The Left is, to a large extent, destroying itself by eating its own. If you don’t meet someone’s Purity Test, you’re rejected lock, stock, and barrel. Indeed, this may cost the Democrats the Presidential election this fall if disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m not a big fan of Clinton, but I know that the election of Trump would destroy this country: an immense loss for all liberals and progressives. In the case of Dreger, I don’t know on what grounds she’s accused of being a transphobe. But the links above suggest she’s not, and is being demonized not by facts but by rumors.

What a shame that Everyday Feminism won’t publish a very nice article because its author has supposedly failed to meet every criterion for being a good Third-Wave Feminist. How does such censorship advance either feminism or liberalism? It reminds me of those leftist secular bloggers who spend all their time not improving society, but calling out the flaws of other liberals and secularists. To paraphrase Marx, “The point is not to criticize the world, but to change it.”


62 thoughts on “Leftist censored by Left again

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the very articles she points to in her defense are the ones that caused the offense. The topic is a minefield of conflicting guidelines and it’s hard to please everyone. One group says to use “man” and “woman” for identity and “male” and “female” for sex. Another says that trans people are not only their desired gender, but are also their desired sex, and saying a trans woman was “born male” is a grave offense.

    The only way to avoid being ostracized is to follow the hard line, that “there’s absolutely no difference between a woman and a ‘trans woman'”. That stance (and the others that tend to go along with it) will never get you banned, but that makes it hard to talk about many trans issues, since they involve differences that according to dogma do not exist.

    1. Another says that trans people are not only their desired gender, but are also their desired sex, and saying a trans woman was “born male” is a grave offense.

      The current dogma is that gender identity (which is unfalsifiable) is what determines biological sex. So if you state that your penis, testes, XY chromosomes and prostate are all ‘female sex traits’ then that is objectively true, and anyone who disagrees is a bigoted hater. Sadly, the Obama administration is going along with this regarding school locker rooms, showers and restrooms. A naked male body, with exposed penis, is considered acceptable in a female only space provided the owner states that xir anatomy is female, however, if the owner states that xir anatomy is male, it is suddenly not acceptable. Oh, and questioning the gender identity of such people is strictly off-limits: http://time.com/4324687/even-in-liberal-communities-transgender-bathroom-laws-worry-parents/

      This is not what being transexual is about. As several transexuals have pointed out (Yorick and Blaire White on youtube), the entire point of being trans is to *transition* from one sex to the other (even if it is only a matter of mimicry). That transexualism is about having a brain that doesn’t match up with the sex of the body. SJWs have chosen to make this about themselves, which is why they have ditched the sex binary all together, stating that biological sex itself is completely fabricated, a social construct, nothing more, and that you literally are whatever you think you are at any given moment.
      SJWs want the oppressed status of true trans people without actually taking any of the risks – and it is they who are claiming that their mental state is what determines the bio sex of their bodies – that penises are female, uteri are male anatomy etc etc. That ‘gender dysphoria’ is no longer required to be transexual – you are transexual if you say you are, period. True transexuals who argue against this are labelled ‘truscum’ in the flavour or ‘die cis scum’.
      The term ‘transxual’ has also fallen out of use and been replaced with ‘transgender’ – because ‘transexual’ contains within it the true meaning of the body dysmorphia that trans people feel, and attention hungry SJWs don’t have that problem with brain/body mismatch.

      1. A good lesson. I have also heard that there are individuals falling into the trans-spectrum who oscillate in their gender identity. That is, at times they feel like they are male, then later female, and perhaps at most times they feel like they are somewhere between. This must be terribly difficult, and it would be challenging to legislate which restrooms they should use.

        1. Yep. I used to think that ‘gender-fluid’ was just bullshit that was invented by SJWs to claim special snowflake status (though I would say that this is still true for many SJWs), but I do believe that it is real. As with most things trans, there can be a variety of causes. I think that in some cases genderfluid people are, like true transexuals, suffering from real body dysmorphia, only in the case of a genderfluid person it can come and go. In other cases, I suspect that there are folks who are deeply unhappy with who they are, or are searching for an identity etc…

          One of the big mistakes that folks make is to make blanket statements and assume that all trans people are identical. That every cause of transgenderism is the same. Walt Heyer, a former trans woman who detransitioned, believes that all transexualism is caused by dissociative disorder, and therefore he advocates against SRS. However, as Yorick explains in a video that is critical of Walt Heyer’s thesis, the tiny percentage of trans folks who do suffer from the mind/body mismatch *will* kill themselves if prevented from transitioning.

          I also believe that autogynephilia is real. Is it the one and only cause of transgenderism as some folks say? No, not at all. But, there is no doubt that transvestism exists, and in some cases, the transvestite male may identify so strongly with his female identity that he wishes to live full time as a woman, sometimes to the point of getting SRS. But anyone who claims that they are transexual, yet also claims to ‘love their body’ and to ‘suffer zero dyshporia’ is not actually trans.

          The final type of trans person is the male or female who is suffering from internalized homophobia. In countries where strict gender roles are enforced, a man cannot be gay, or even behave in a feminine manner without facing severe social disapproval. In Iran, gay men are forced to transition to women or be executed.

          And to get back to dissociative disorder briefly, I have noticed that there seems to be a trend wherein otherkin are also transgender. I wonder if, in these specific cases, that dissociative disorder can be rather haphazard in how it manifests itself – with some folks identifying with the opposite sex, whilst others identify with another species. Or ghost. Or dragon (Tiamat is a trans woman trans dragon). Species dysphoria *is* real. People really do experience it.

          My main beef is with the SJWs who have co-opted all things otherkin and trans in a desperate attempt to claim oppressed snowflake status. It’s really easy for a garden variety attention seeking SJW to claim that they are trans and to reap all of the benefits of their new status. These are the people who have invented the idea that gender identity is innate, whilst biological sex is a social construct. That one can be trans simply by dyeing their hair pink or playing with dolls.

          I have learned a lot from Yorick, a trans man who is disgusted with how SJWs have co-opted his condition, so I will link to his superb youtube channel again:


          Non-Binary: Bullied or Bullshitters (girl with pink hair and pink skirt decides she is a boy and uses boy’s bathroom)
          Transtenders: Milo Stewart (loves her body but claims to be trans)
          The Gender Spectrum: Justin Dennis (did not discover that he was trans until he went to college and voila, he now identifies as a woman)
          ^all of the above are 100pct contrary to Yorick’s lived experiences as a trans man with severe body dysphoria.

          1. Autogynephile here. I think people deny the condition for political reasons. The essentialist narrative is a lot easier to sell than “Man unhappy as man due to certain mental quirk; makes effort to change”. The vast majority of people are still religious and have a somewhat narrow view of right and wrong. If the truth came to light there is a genuine fear that the normies would flip and get lynchin’. Some unsavory groups know this and make effort to present all transsexuals as mere perverts for political gains. With that said I do not think the end justifies the means and ultimately it is important for us to embrace truth in order to grow as a society. That supposed feminists censored a noted pro-transsexual activist like Dreger stands testament to this.

            I feel that in general my condition is poorly understood. I distinctly remember fantasizing about men turning into women as early as 4 years old, long before ever getting aroused by the idea. I remained obsessed with it all the way to puberty, when I started to.. uh.. “enjoy it” in a different way. For years I tried to convince myself that it was just a fetish but with time I started to realize that it might be something more. I slowly started to yearn to be a woman in non-sexual contexts, then all the time, at a very primal level. I could never see myself entering a relationship as a man. While I do not outright hate my body I find it disgusting. If I am to be honest I’m deeply disturbed by my own arousal to the thought of transitioning, though I feel nothing but non-sexual longing when it comes to thinking of actually living as a woman.

            It is self-evident that one cannot fully change their sex and I’m okay with that. I can’t become a “real” woman, but post-hormones I will not be fully a man either. Many cultures have a third gender and though I intend to present female I think it would be more accurate to put me somewhere there. I hope that I’ve managed to convey why this is more than “just a fetish”, at least to me. Blanchard’s work captures much of my condition but I’m most definitely attracted to other humans in the same way people generally are in addition to having AGP.

          2. “Born that way” can be a double edged sword, for sure.

            On the one hand, it is a good argument against bigots who wish to cast anything out of the ordinary as a ‘perversion’.

            On the other hand, it can lead to essentialist ideas about gender, which can end up doing more harm than good. For example, I agree with Alice that it would be preferable to live in a society where people are more accepting of gender non-conforming men and women. Where it’s ok to have various sexual fetishes (provided that they are consensual and do not harm anyone). A society where, at the very least, these differences are tolerated.

            However, this current infatuation that the regressive left has with all things trans has lead to masculine women and feminine men declaring that they *must* be trans, and simply not GNC. That if you are a masculine women and a lesbian, that you cannot possibly be anything other than a man. When gay and trans people are victimized, it is precisely because they are not conforming to gender stereotypes. This only has the ultimate effect of reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes instead of loosening them. Also, I suspect that there are some trans folks out there who want the rigid gender stereotypes to persist because their gender identity must be validated at all costs (see Lila Perry, who refused to use a gender neutral shower/bathroom and instead demanded to shower with the girls at school).

    2. Yes, this topic is quite a minefield. I was criticized recently in a comment to an article where I simply cautioned the writer against a blanket statement that she had made that “no man has ever pretended to be transgender to get access to a women’s restroom for nefarious purposes.”

      While I strongly support the right of transgender people to use whatever restroom they are most comfortable with, the statement she made was an open invitation for someone to dismiss her whole thesis (which I agreed with) because it was too broad.

      (Cis) men have been caught dressing up as women to go into women’s restrooms. Who’s to say if they were dressing up as transwomen or ciswomen? My view is that a transwoman is a woman, but apparently they’re distinct when it supports what someone wants to argue.

      1. For a biological male, to want to stay undressed in one room with biological females without their consent is exactly “getting access to a women’s restroom for nefarious purposes”. S/he is traumatizing them. In the case of student Lila Perry who is offered safe individual locker room but still insists on waving his penis in front of undressed girls, I think s/he gets pleasure from harassing girls this way. Like those individuals who hide in parks and expose their penises to female joggers.

      2. Agreed. The same sort of caution should be applied to other cases as well. A while back I was discussing climate change with some people, they brought up the issue of scientists being accused of misrepresenting data to support the climate change consensus (Climategate and the like), and my first reaction was to start to say “NONE of those claims have ever been shown to be true!”

        Had the full sentence typed out, as well as a couple sentences beyond – then I proof-read the paragraph quickly for typos and suddenly it hit me: I’ve got no exhaustive knowledge on the topic. I’ve not spent hours coming every bit of news on it. I know enough to know it’s not been the case in most of the well-publicized cases, but if the person I’m arguing with can bring up a SINGLE case of it happening, then my credibility is undermined for any of those reading who aren’t well informed on the topic – and all I needed to do to avoid that is to change “none” to something like “few if any” or “none I am aware of”. A tiny alteration, and my statement was changed from arrogant assertion to simply a statement of known facts.

        Short version: overstatement and exaggeration have their place, but they can also be used to bite you in the ass when misapplied. 😉

  2. EverydayFeminism is one of the silliest websites on the internet.

    I really like Alice Dreger. Here she is in a great interview with Gad Saad:

    Alice Dreger Interview Gad Saad

    She makes an interesting point, in that she disapproves of the ‘born that way’ narrative regarding homosexuality, transexualism and so on – that it is a kind of naturalistic fallacy – that it can only be ok if the person does not have a ‘choice’. She has been labelled a transphobe because she is not denying the existence of autogynephiles aka transvestite fetishists. And her argument is that it is perfectly ok for a man to want to dress as a woman, to get off sexually on that, and to say that a man can *only* dress as a woman if ‘born that way’ serves to stigmatize gender nonconforming men.


    1. This is interesting and important. I am not familiar with the terminology here, but yes, I understand there are individuals who are, say, anatomically male, identify as a male, are attracted to women, but who also like to dress up in womens’ clothes. At least they do so on occasions and not really all the time.
      There is a tremendous variety of tastes and identities out there!

    1. I agree that it seems bogus. For example, they summarized this article by saying “She supports psychiatrists who use coercive behavior modification on children to prevent them from growing up to be transgender.” It’s fairly clear from reading the article that they’re misrepresenting it. Ditto for her other articles.

  3. Dr. Coyne,

    I have to disagree with your assessment of the Democratic side of the election. Time after time it is the Clinton wing that loves playing identity politics, and are more regressive. The far left support of Sanders hates identity politics because it distracts from their good old fashioned class politics. This article explains some of it, I hope you enjoy it:


    1. Perhaps you’re right, but I still think that when Sanders doesn’t get the nomination there will be a ‘purity’ test applied to her by many of his followers, and they won’t vote for her because she fails that test, even though the unthinkably horrible alternative–Trump as President–would be the result if many Sander supporters thought this way.

      1. I do not think something very terrible would happen to the USA if Trump becomes president. Established democracies are fairly immune to ruin by elected jerks. (It would be good if they were also immune to electing jerks in the first place, but I know no such society.)

        1. I’m not so sure the US system is able to stand up to Trump. For a start, he gets to appoint several Supreme Court justices. Saint Ronald had the Iran-contra affair. Trump would consider that just another deal and could be involving the country in something like that every other month.

          When the only two international leaders praising a candidate are Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, there’s a problem.

          1. I have the opposite fears about Trump’s foreign policy. I think he will be an isolationist thinking that the world ends at US borders, and every rogue leader on Earth will do exactly what he wishes. Does he describe illegals crossing the Mexico-US border as if they are invading extraterrestrials? I think this is the reason, Mexico is not really part of Trump’s Earth :-).
            As for the people appointed by him and the work they will do, there will be problems – but I think not so serious as they may look now.

          2. I didn’t mean deals necessarily with other countries, I just meant dodgy deals. I think you’re completely right that he would be far too isolationist and degrade the US’s position in the world.

            And yeah, the US will survive, but I think society will be badly scarred by the experience.

    2. You are right that the Sanders campaign is based on class conflict, not identity politics. At heart, Sanders is a 1960s radical, but his message that the “1%” must be reined in has largely fallen on the deaf ears of those his policies, if implemented, would most likely help: non-college graduated white males. This group overwhelmingly supports an ignorant demagogue. Conservatives have long managed to demonize with great success those who take a class analysis of American society as advocating “class warfare.” Of course, it is the 1% that are the real class warriors. Through identity politics, racism, and divide-and-conquer tactics meaningful reform such as Sanders advocates never quite seems to happen.

      I would just hope that the vast majority of Sanders supporters will take a reality based view of the election. Yes, Hillary is flawed, but the damage that Trump will cause may be irreparable. I fear that many of his supporters do not understand the fearful consequences of the 2000 election.

  4. In December of 2013,EverydayFeminism was just getting started. A woman self-defense teacher wrote a very mild piece, and was immediately swarmed by an angry online mob. The piece was pulled within *hours.*

    Supporters of the author Were Officially Deemed Wrong, and received this email: “It was not a piece about self-defense; it was a piece about ways that women can “protect” themselves against sexual assault, which we felt was victim-blaming rhetoric. We regret the way that the article was written, not the information therein. *We pulled the article so that we can rewrite it more sensitively.*”

    Onsite, they posted: “We want to be clear that we hear you – and that you’re right…
    • Report any comments that are personally hurtful… If you notice someone using making sexist / racist / homophobic / transphobic / classist / sizeist / ableist / ageist comments or use offensive language to threaten, harass, ridicule, silence, or personally attack a member, *report it here.*”

    And a footnote: “Please note that Everyday Feminism does not censure any particular view as long as it offered with respect toward others, shared in good faith for an actual discussion, and doesn’t encourage violence, exploitation, discrimination, or ignorance towards an individual or group of people.”

    Of course, this is before they really came into their own….

    1. • Report any comments that are personally hurtful… If you notice someone using making sexist / racist / homophobic / transphobic / classist / sizeist / ableist / ageist comments or use offensive language to threaten, harass, ridicule, silence, or personally attack a member, *report it here.*”

      You make it sound an utterly tedious waste of electrons.

  5. This is dreadful. Like those reports we used to hear from pre-war Germany and the Soviet Union.

    Reminds me of the warning our professor gave us in our final year: never to appear to accept the theory that continents are mobile if we ever intended to teach at an American university.

    S.J. Gould once remarked that graduate students in paleontology at Harvard had to meet on the back stairs to discuss Continental Drift, out of hearing of their supervisors.

    But still not quite as bad as the penalties suffered by academics who question the degree to which climate change is manmade and will be catastrophic. I am referring to death threats, refusal to publish results and dismissal from university positions.

    1. A seamless transition there from free speech and anti-censorship to the Sagan “Bozo the Clown” fallacy and conspiracy theories about suppressing “the truth” about climate change.

      Bravo, sir.

    2. She is clearly a right-deviationist. Or a left-deviationist. Or perhaps both, but, in either case, or both, she has committed the crime of not reflexively parroting the party line. TREF indeed. The very existence of such a label indicates that there is no search for truth or understanding here, but only passive conformity.

  6. I’m naive enough to think that we all advocate for social justice. Which is why some of us are bothered by what would appear to be the hijacking of modern feminism. To once again place the social issues faced by 50+% of us on the back burner seems unfortunate. It seems idiotic to have to explain that, at long last, advocating for the safety and equality for the billions of humans with XX chromosomes and female identify is not denial of the issues faced by transgender/sexual individuals. Only in the mind of the religious zealot is this absurdity a problem. The far left has created a list of issues and demands that must accompany and amend any and all calls for social justice if one wishes to avoid being de-platformed.

    The far left looks a lot like a religion – it has unassailable dogma, demonization of dissent, revealed truth and a clergy tasked with promoting the agenda and burning heretics.

    1. There was a piece, by Huffington Post I think, wherein people who advocated for womens rights, but were not interested in also advocating for black rights, was a “White Feminist”.

      A definition which would result in labeling many black feminists as “White” just because they were only concerned about a single social justice issue.

      That’s not crazy at all…

  7. I saw _Galileo’s Middle Finger_ in Chapters a few months ago when looking for something new to read randomly. I remember being intrigued, but the description sounded too pomo-y.

    (Yes, I judged a book by its cover, but what can you do? I can only read so much …)

  8. When I lived I Philadelphia in the 1970s, I noted there were seven separate socialist parties (all quite small) each of which spent a lot of energy explaining why the OTHER socialist parties were not REAL socialism and compromising. They did this more than addressing real social issues.

    This is not a new phenomenon, but now it is far more widespread.

    1. Modified from Life of Brian:

      “Excuse me, are you the Peoples’ Front for Feminism?”

      “Fuck off! ‘Peoples’ Front for Feminism’. We’re the People’s Feminist Front!”

      1. Don’t use the term Colored People! Do you have any idea how offensive that term is?

        The correct term is People of Color.

        1. I’m always careful at the laundromat to separate my clothes into white and clothes of color.

    2. When I lived I Philadelphia in the 1970s, I noted there were seven separate socialist parties

      Why so few? Oh, because it’s the City of Brotherly Love?

      1. The _Boomer Bible_ (a great read, BTW, even if you’re not a boomer – after all, I’m not) makes great hay of that literal meaning – as it does with the City of Angels, er, LA.

    1. They are very prolific. These are from Everday Feminism *today*:
      “• What Being Non-Binary in Female-Centric Spaces Is Like – And How to Be More Inclusive
      •7 Affirmations You Deserve as An Activist Facing Online Harassment
      •6 Ways to Tell If You Need to Be Called Out”

  9. I still have a hard time believing people who act like they just discovered the issues within the Left and feminism. Whether its in academia or the media, feminism has been represented by anti-intellectual self-serving bigots for quite some time. It’s rather disheartening to see how late some of our intellectual heroes are on this issue.

  10. ” – – – her ability to enjoy emotionally meaningless sex appears male-typical. In this sense, homosexual transsexuals might be especially well-suited to prostitution.”

    “What would make avoiding gay children wrong?”

    “Homosexual transsexuals tend to have a short time horizon, with certain pleasure in the present worth great risks for the future.”

    Those are quotes from the researcher, Bailey, that Alice Dreger is defending, published under the National Academies of Science label during the early Bush administration.

    Dreger has done an excellent job of obfuscating the critical fact that the original researcher behind the controversial theory on trans people in question faced no protests or personal backlash. This totally undercuts the claim this is a case of academic freedom rather than Bailey’s personal bigotry and misconduct blowing up in his face. Bailey did not conduct any formal research, but merely wrote up his casual observations and somehow got them published by the NAS. That’s the real scientific scandal here, it that the NAS published second-hand science, containing quotes like those above.

    My conclusion is that Dreger comes from the trans-intolerant Second Wave of feminism, and that her support for anti-trans research as a bioethicist is tied directly to this a priori prejudice. In the current climate of concern about the Regressive Left, she is well-positioned to avoid critical scrutiny when she claims to represent ‘academic freedom.’

    1. Why was Bailey threatened? Why did the exposure of those threats by Dreger result in her receiving threats? Would a news reporter digging into Bailey’s troubles have been labeled anti-trans? Why or why not?

      1. I read about a guy who killed an octopus while diving at a beach in Seattle get death threats after he posted his next meal on social media. It’s just a perverse reality to any sort of wider exposure.

        Obviously death threats are unacceptable for anyone, even violent offenders, I would suggest Bailey and the NAS Press made this an issue by publishing remarks like the ones I quoted.

        Again, the original researcher whom Bailey was basically paraphrasing was not threatened in such a manner.

        The fact no one here can even begin to defend Bailey’s remarks. There is controversial research and then their is rank bigotry under the veneer of research. Dreger has defended the later because, again, it bigotry meshes with her wider ideological views.

  11. Here is my Amazon review:

    Alice Dreger is my kind of scientist. She describes herself, like Galileo, as “pugnacious, articulate, political incorrect, and firmly centered in the belief that truth will save me, will have to save us all.” The truths she has to reveal from her personal experience and her research has professional historian of science include (a) how frequently what should remain at the level of scientific discourse and dispute ends up transforming into disgusting and unprofessional ad hominem arguments that seriously tarnish the reputations of even highly talented researchers; (b) “how badly most people want simple stories of make and female, nature and nurture, good and evil”; and (c) “So long as we believe that bad acts are only committed by evil people and that good people do only good, we will fail to see, believe, or prevent these kinds of travesties [of scientific discourse].”

    Alice Dreger learned something very important when she interviewed the great anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon when he was treated disgracefully by the politically correct post-modern honchos of the American Anthropological Association. However low they stoop to defame your character, never respond in kind. Just stick to the issues and present the evidence. It may take years, but the evidence almost always wins out.

    Some of my favorite behavioral scientists come out poorly in Dreger’s account (though none is a major actor) of the transgender issue. I will have to ask them for their side of this fascinating story.

  12. But is Dreger really a transphobe?

    No she isn’t. What she is (judging from her book) is someone who puts evidence above ideology. That gets her into trouble with the ideological left who think that evidence should be molded to fit ideology.

    1. What she is (judging from her book) is someone who puts evidence above ideology

      I’ll just get some faggots, oil and an ignition source. If you bring along some steaks and a stake, we can have ourselves a nice little barbecue.

      1. I hope US readers realise that you are referring to burning a bundle of sticks. Or was your ambiguity deliberate?

  13. When I first heard about this bathroom issue, I thought it was just about toilets and wondered what the big deal was. No one can see you in a stall, so trans people should be able to use whichever one feels right for them. I didn’t realize that people, including children, were expected to shower with people who had the genitalia of another sex. Surely that violates the rights of all those who aren’t comfortable doing that? An accommodation of some kind should be made for trans people, but not one that simultaneously creates a new problem.

    1. Ummm, Heather, you do know that approximately half of the worlds toilets have open urinals and a considerably reduced number of stalls.
      Now that this molehill has reached Himalayan proportions, I suspect that all toilets which are constructed in future will have only “stalled” facilities an be unavoidably unisex. I’d sell my shares in manufacturers of “Damen” and “Herren” signs as soon as possible.

    2. A man walks naked into a women’s shower (including young children). Is he:

      How would you know? Apparently under the rules, questioning is forbidden (causes discomfort). Discomfort of the others does not matter.

      1. How would you know? Apparently under the rules, questioning is forbidden (causes discomfort). Discomfort of the others does not matter.

        Yes, on the feminist blogs that I have visited, the blogs where it is repeated that ‘all men are rapists’, and that the ‘male gaze’ is often brought up as a source of concern, women and girls who even bring up the fact that they might feel discomfited in such a situation are branded as ‘vile,hateful bigots’. Their concerns are never valid, and if they don’t want to see the genitalia of the opposite sex in their change room or shower, or be seen naked by the opposite sex, they are told to ‘get over it’ and then, usually, compared to those who supported Jim Crow laws.

        Curiously, women who expressed concern over the Cologne rapes were also branded as ‘vile, hateful bigots’. I recall a story about one of the sexual assault victims from that night being accused of being a white supremacist bigot because she was raped and went on TV to talk about it.

        As Johnathan Haidt said in the video linked in another post here, certain groups of oppressed people gain an almost mythical, sacred status, and they can do no wrong in the eyes of regressives. Even questioning the narrative, in the pursuit of truth, is considered to be blasphemy.

      2. Yeah. The idea is supposed to be we all get the same rights. This misses the boat on that test.

  14. I’ve read the book and I think it’s quite good, but I may suffer from some bias. But don’t take my word for it. Check out: http://alicedreger.com/gmf

    Seriously, thanks for bringing this and encouraging discussion. It’s nice to look at comments where people bother to look shit up.

  15. “The point is not to criticize the world, but to change it.”

    Yes that’s the point, but criticism can be an important part of the solution. If the problem is a result of someone’s behaviour then criticising that behaviour is a good way to make them see the error of their ways.

  16. Galileo’s Middle Finger is essential reading for anyone concerned about the Authoritarian Left. When people actively seek to suppress scientific evidence because it conflicts with their ideology, they have ceded whatever moral high ground they might otherwise have claimed, and harmed the very minorities they purport to protect. Alice Dreger is a champion of transgender rights and for Everyday Feminism to suggest otherwise demonstrates either gross journalistic incompetence or severe intellectual laziness (or both).

  17. While I’m a fan of Alice Dreger’s work, and strongly agree with the sentiments expressed in the article in question, I have a hard time seeing this as a censorship issue. Everyday Feminism is very much a private, partisan entity with a distinct editorial stance. Freedom of speech includes their right to not publish anything they don’t want to publish. It isn’t a free speech issue that Skeptical Inquirer doesn’t publish articles Michael Behe, after all.

    What is the alternative to this? Coerced “equal time” regulations for all publications and forums? Can’t see that working out too well.

    I see this as very different from “no platforming”, which I define as the concerted effort to drive a targetted individual off of any and all platforms. That, of course, is censorship, even if it’s coming from a non-state entity. (And I’ll note at this point that I have little patience for the idea that “Censorship can only come from the government” canard coming from some supposed progressives.) It’s also different from the kind of college campus censorship we’re seeing too much of as of late – that kind of thing is a violation of academic freedom at the very least, and of the First Amendment and similar national protections on free speech in the case of public universities.

    Lastly, I have to wonder why Alice Dreger and others even consider this a battle worth fighting. Have you looked at Everyday Feminism? The publication is an utter and complete shitshow – the deformed offspring of self-help meets extreme identity politics, carried along by loud, clickbaity, and formulaic “# Things About a Thing” headlines. Dreger is a professional writer, and I can’t begrudge her a paid writing gig, but I’d have to ask why Dreger or any other reasonable person would want to be associated with a publication like this.

  18. Theres a fascinating schin within the Trans community and Dreget is the equivalent of a Battlefield reporter. Steven Pinker had this to say after he blurbed for Bailey’s book about the resulting shitstorm:

    “The intimidation directed at Bailey will ensure that graduate students, post-docs, and other young researchers will not touch this topic with a ten-foot pole, starving the field of new talent. Only tenured professors who have decided to change fields—a tiny number—would take it on”.
    –Steven Pinker

    This is a great look at the controversy.


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