After publishing a blog post titled, "When a TERF is not a TERF" in July, leading Canadian sex researcher Dr. James Cantor got into a heated exchange on the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) listserv. The post rather tepidly challenged the "always affirm" approach to kids who claim to be trans, suggesting there are valid questions to ask around the age at which a child may transition, and also pointed out that some of women's concerns about male access to women's spaces and sport might not qualify them as "transphobic." Because of this, he was accused of "violence," "harassment," and "hatred."
James was removed from the listserv as a result, leading him to quit the SSSS entirely, publishing a letter of resignation on August 10, saying:
"In the present culture war between science and popular appeal, the SSSS Board of Directors selected the latter. This is not the first time the SSSS Board abused their authority to silence science opposing their personal political views, and no valid organization can be in the name of science in name only. I am grateful to the other sexuality scientists who have resigned in sympathy, both publicly and privately."
James does not take a position on gender identity at all, but nonetheless was pilloried for even suggesting questions about the practices connected to transgenderism might be worth asking. While there is much James and I may disagree on, the push to politicize science is troubling, and the silencing of debate and critical thought around these issues is troubling.
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