Over the weekend, a British university rejected a proposal for research on people who regretted undergoing transgender surgery, saying that it would be “potentially ‘politically incorrect'” and might lead to “attacks on social media.” Meanwhile, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced two $200,000 studies on transgender health.
Britain’s The Times reported that Bath Spa University rejected a proposal from psychotherapist James Caspian, who is working on his master’s degree at the school. He originally obtained partial permission to survey people who undertook reverse gender reassignment surgery (E.G. a biological woman who underwent surgery to become a man and then took another surgery to become a woman again). He was unable to find people to take part, and asked to amend the proposal to survey those who regretted their transition without reversing surgery.
The sub-committee rejected Caspian’s proposal, writing, “Engaging in a potentially ‘politically incorrect’ piece of research carries a risk to the university. Attacks on social media may not be confined to the researcher but may involve the university.”
On a section discussing ethical issues, the sub-committee added, “The posting of unpleasant material on blogs or social media may be detrimental to the reputation of the university.” The institution also warned that there could be risks to Caspian’s own safety and well-being, and in ensuring the confidentiality of participants.
Caspian bristled at these suggestions. “In the language of psychotherapy, my ego is strong enough to withstand attack or criticism should I read it elsewhere than social media,” he said.
The researcher attacked the university’s position as antithetical to intellectual freedom and the spirit of what a university should be.
“That would mean that the university cannot withstand disagreement, argument, dissension,” Caspian explained. “Where would stand the reputation of a university that cannot follow the most basic tenets of academic and intellectual freedom of enquiry?”
“I am more concerned about the potential impact of that stance on its reputation than I am about possible comments on social media,” Caspian declared. This position comports with the ideal of open dialogue and free inquiry that forms the centerpiece of the very idea of a university.
Caspian has lodged a complaint with the university, and Bath Spa University told The Times that it was unable to comment while the complaint was being investigated.
This followed a recent announcement from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that it would spend $400,000 on two studies on transgender health. The agency announced that it will accept applications for transgender studies to begin next year.
“This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) calls for exploratory or developmental research on the health of transgender and gender nonconforming people,” one grant announcement read.
The announcement went on to define transgender and gender nonconforming people as “individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex on their original birth certificate.” The U.S. government has so accepted the transgender ideology that the NIH defines transgender as differing from the birth certificate, not the DNA, the genitals, or the basic biological sex of a person. According to this definition, if a biological male identifies as male, but his birth certificate had a typo, he is transgender.
But if the NIH were to acknowledge the basic biological fact that people with two X chromosomes are female, while those with one X and one Y are male, and define transgenderism as rejecting that biological reality, perhaps that would be “potentially politically incorrect” and lead to “attacks on social media.” So good riddance to the truth — even just in the definition of what transgenderism is.
But of course, the NIH had to acknowledge that even “transgender and gender nonconforming” are inadequate terms to refer to the wide “spectrum” of gender identities. The agency plaintively suggested, “While there are a number of terms for this group of individuals, for the sake of consistency this document will refer to the group as ‘transgender and gender nonconforming people.'”
The NIH will be accepting applications starting in October, the beginning of the fiscal year. Suggested research topics include “understanding the impact of stigma,” “minority stress,” “diversity in gender identity and expression,” transgender employment, and incarceration. Other topics include the “biological underpinnings of gender and gender identity,” “how estrogen hormone treatments affect the male reproductive tissues,” and studies on puberty blockers for adolescents.
The NIH has funded a plethora of transgender studies in the past. One research project seeking to give jailed male-to-female transgenders “gender affirmation” has now cost taxpayers $675,715. Another spent $393,790 studying male-to-female transgenders in Uganda. The agency also gave $43,576 to a researcher who wrote that having a “vagina does not equal woman” to study the health status of transgender people.
The NIH has also spent $1,082,833 to find out why gay men and transgender people get syphilis in Peru. The agency doled out a further $351,608 to research how male-to-female transgenders use Facebook.
One imagines that if a researcher applied for a grant to study the attitudes of people who regretted their transgender surgery, however, that researcher would be rejected.
The research, after all, must come from only one perspective, because otherwise it might be “potentially politically incorrect” and lead to “attacks on social media.” Who would want to risk those deadly results, in the stodgy name of academic freedom?