National Association of Scholars position statement on transgenderism insanity
Recently, I applauded the position statement of the National Association of Scholars (NAS) on the infiltration of Marxist ideologues and ideology in the educational system and society in general. The craziness of the radical leftists is intended to create an Orwellian Ministry of Truth thought police state with the themes of Critical Race Theory played by a kazoo pep band of postmodernist true believers, blowhards, screamers and bullies. The mob focuses its noisemaking and blather on Marxist theories of oppression and class or group/ethnic/tribal conflict and oppressions, always with an anti-American and anti–traditional Western civilization theme fortified by memes, canards, and propagandist rhetoric.
One element of the present-day Marxist insanity promoted by the progressive left that has developed impressive heat and noise, with no light, is gender nonsense. As a physician, I have the chops to decide that it is nonsense, but leftist propagandists have even recruited those who should know better — like my fellow physicians and other academic and professional groups.
Peter Wood, longtime president of the NAS, regularly prepares research studies and position papers on political and particularly cultural/education issues, and transgender talk and political action is presently center stage. So the NAS prepared a timely takedown of the insanity, "Against Transgenderism," published July 25, 2022, that deserves your consideration. It articulates my arguments about this nonsense very well.
Dr. Wood is an anthropologist (Ph.D., U of Rochester) and well schooled and prepared to discuss this societal pathology, a politically driven cultural menace, since his expertise is humans. He is an excellent scholar, teacher, and writer.
My role is to show you some interesting and compelling points in the position paper, but the whole text of more than 1,500 words is available at the link above. Originally, I thought I would comment, but the position paper is authoritative and tightly written and begs no commentary — Dr. Wood knows what he's doing.
The National Association of Scholars is striving, perhaps against the temper of the times, to expand the "Overton window" of matters that can be debated with reason, evidence, and good will in American higher education. In recent years, the ideology of transgenderism has been striving to slam the Overton window shut. This new statement, Against Transgenderism, extends the argument we made in October 2021 in our statement on Gender Ideology in Higher Education: that gender ideology is fundamentally a means of power and control. Gender spectrum ideology springs from gender ideology, and is similarly totalitarian in nature and motivation. We oppose this. Here is why.
The human species has two sexes and they are sexually dimorphic. That is, they differ from one another in characteristic physical ways. ... Asserting these basic facts of human biology ought not to be controversial, but a strange doctrine has arisen lately that asserts that some humans are best understood as "transgender," and that society has an obligation to recognize this condition, respect it, and make numerous adjustments to accommodate it. That entails regarding that person as if he or she were of the opposite sex. Gender, however, is best understood as variation in temperament, specifically along the Big Five personality traits. There are masculine women and feminine men. Despite being "transgender," those masculine women are still women, and feminine men are still men.
The ideology of transgenderism is so pronounced and so widespread that there is no need to describe it in detail. What occasions a statement from the National Association of Scholars on it are several of the ways that that ideology has disrupted American education at all levels. These include attacks. ... on faculty members and medical professionals who dissent from the transgender orthodoxy. ... [i]nsisting that faculty members and students divulge their "preferred pronouns" and that others address and refer to people by these pronouns. ...
A certain percentage of infants are born with genital anomalies. These infants may be classified as "intersex". ... Some of the intersex individuals have chromosomal anomalies such as XXY sex chromosomes. This condition — Klinefelter syndrome — affects only males and occurs between 1 in 500 and 1 in a thousand boys. The extra female chromosome in these individuals results in lower testosterone, reduced muscle mass, and enlarged breast tissue, among other symptoms.
When activists today speak of transgenderism, however, they mean far more than the individuals whose unusual physiology mixes some male and female traits. Rather, they refer to the "lived experience" of individuals who self-identify as the opposite of their own sex. Such self-identification in no way changes the sex of such individuals. ... In cases where individuals subject themselves to hormone treatments… the fundamental biological reality is certainly disturbed but at a cellular level the individual's sex is likewise unchanged. Simply put a "transgender woman" is a man pretending to be a woman.
"Gender dysphoria" — an individual's false belief that he or she is not accurately described by his or her actual sex — was not long ago recognized as a mental health condition. (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Third Edition). The field of clinical psychology having proved its eagerness to endorse a great many political enthusiasms, has turned away from that classification, but the truth remains that an eagerness to be seen as a member of the opposite sex is best understood as a neurosis. Of course, a neurosis that is fostered and encouraged by others — a peer contagion — can become something worse: a condition in which the sufferer becomes delusional and loses touch with reality and may even become "contagious" as well.
Gender dysphoria is one of several forms of body dysphoria. Another is anorexia nervosa, in which the victim starves herself in the false belief that she is fat. ...
The folly in transgenderism is not just among those who suffer gender dysphoria but as much or more among those who celebrate and advance the ideology, going so far as to groom young children to pursue "transgender identities" and even gender "transitions." […] parents too are sometimes complicit in efforts to foist transgender identities on children. Teachers are frequent contributors to the transgendering of young children, and peer influence appears to play a significant part especially among teenage girls.
The spectrum of personal and social ills stemming from the transgender ideology is broad and deep, but the National Association of Scholars does not seek to offer a comprehensive critique of the phenomenon. Rather, our focus is on the damages transgenderism inflicts on education. In addition to those already mentioned, we add… replacement of the biological binary of male and female by a "socially constructed" spectrum of gender identities… undermines not just the teaching of biology but perhaps more significantly the humanities and the social sciences, in which a fundamental difference is effaced in favor of a false supposition.
The aggrandizing of subjective feelings in contexts where students and scholars should prioritize the pursuit of facts. ... The blinding of students to the received wisdom of our own and other civilizations. ... Among the legacies of this wisdom is defense of women against stronger and more assertive males, exemplified in the gender confusion permeating women's athletics. The self-contradiction of an ideology that denies the reality of sexual differences while at the same time enthusiastically supporting the "transitioning" from one sex to another... "compelled speech" in the form of "preferred pronouns" and other forms of forced consent to the fictitious "gender identity" of transgendered persons. ... elevation of victimhood as a form of status and social competition to be a victim including of so-called gender discrimination, all of which is at odds with real accomplishment and character. ... education not as an attempt to study or understand the world, but instead as a way to change the world... via social and political activism.
To oppose the transgender ideology these days is to risk various forms of ostracism such as exclusion from some social media sites, verbal attacks by student activists, and punishment from institutional authorities, already eager to police ideological transgressions. NAS is relatively immune to these forms of ostracism — though perhaps not entirely. We announce our opposition to transgender ideology first to open wider the "Overton window" of views that can be expressed in American society, and second to support the many faculty members and students who endure this ideological abuse despite their objections to it. They see no recourse. But there is recourse. Standing up for the truth is sometimes not easy, but it becomes easier when you know that others are with you.
Dr. Wood reviewed my summary of his position paper and exclaimed his deep concern about the transgenderism threat to American and World Culture, families, and civil society:
The transgenderism ideology is mainly a weapon against the autonomy of the family, which is where our civilization "reproduces" itself generation upon generation. Disrupting the way in which boys grow into men and girls grow into women is a powerful assault on our civilization. That some children are susceptible to this assault is no great surprise. Children are susceptible to all sorts of manipulation. That such manipulation is now touted as respect for the "freedom" of children is pure evil.
(End notes are deleted but available in the position paper linked above.)