Twelve philosophers from across Europe, North America and Australia recently released a letter to defend the right of members of their profession to express “skepticism about the concept of gender identity.” These philosophers are asking for open discussion of gender issues. As it stands, they say, philosophers are being censored, sanctioned for expressing their opposition to “replacing biological sex with gender identity in institutional policy making.”
In a recent commentary, I wondered where the feminists were on the issue of biological men competing in women’s sports. Well here they are!
Travis Barham of Alliance Defending Freedom writes about them in The Federalist. “Some feminist philosophers” he points out, “advanced the common-sense idea that men who think they are women are not really women and that women will get hurt if society pretends otherwise.”
So, we have what’s being called TERF wars— T-E-R-F. It stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” These feminists see their successes threatened when biological males can enter their private spaces or confiscate their athletic opportunities.
Feminist philosophers aren’t the only signatories to this letter. Even Princeton Professor Peter Singer, infamous for supporting infanticide, signed on. He’s joining others asking that those critical of the transgender regime that exists in academia right now not be sanctioned or censured, as is being threatened. The letter argues for protection of “the fundamental academic commitment to free inquiry.”
Here’s the core of it:
“Policy makers and citizens are currently confronting such metaphysical questions about sex and gender as What is a man? What is a lesbian? What makes someone female? Society at large is deliberating over the resolution of conflicting interests in contexts as varied as competitive sports, changing rooms, workplaces, and prisons. These discussions are of great importance, and philosophers can make an essential contribution to them, in part through academic debate.”
This may be an intramural war among academics on the Left. May common sense win the day!