CounterCurrent: Week of 10/3
“Hi, I’m Professor John Doe. My pronouns are he/him/his.”
If you’ve spent any time on a college campus in the last five years, you’ve almost certainly heard some variant of the above. Whether it’s he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, or even xe/xim and ze/zim (yes, these last two are real and in use), so-called “personal pronouns” are now a firm fixture in the academic workplace. And they’re only the tip of the iceberg—colleges and universities are now chock-full of “gender neutral” bathrooms, men playing women’s sports, “gender identity” questions on admissions applications, and entire gender studies departments, to name but a few examples.
The idea that gender, and even biological sex, is part of a “spectrum” rather than a binary is now so common within academia as to be assumed a priori. Those who dare to question this new gender ideology are met with swift punishment. “What’s that? You won’t use my personal pronouns? What are you, some kind of transphobic bigot?”
Take the case of Nicholas Meriwether, professor of philosophy at Shawnee State University. In January 2018, Professor Meriwether was formally censured by his school and endured widespread scorn on social media. His crime? Referring to a male student as “sir” after the student demanded to be addressed using female pronouns. Meriwether later explained that to use female pronouns for a male student would violate his Christian beliefs. Thankfully, he kept his job and is pursuing a lawsuit against Shawnee State.
Some are not so fortunate. Kathleen Lowrey, an anthropologist formerly employed by the University of Alberta, was terminated from an administrative position in March of last year for expressing her views as a “gender-critical feminist” in one of her classes. That is, she does not view biological sex as irrelevant to womens' issues as some segments of the LGBTQ+ movement apparently do. Did her offended students respectfully disagree and initiate a reasoned dialogue with Professor Lowrey, through which they could honestly seek the truth? Of course not. Instead, they effectively said “Off with her head!” and turned her over to the academic authorities.
What’s more, the U.S. Department of Education has officially recognized such concepts as “gender identity” and sexual orientation, reinterpreting Title IX—the federal law banning sex discrimination in higher education—to include these as well.
Once relegated to obscure corners of the ivory tower, the tenets of gender ideology are now so widespread that the National Association of Scholars has felt compelled to issue a formal statement detailing our stance on the matter. The relevant concepts are numerous but interrelated, so we simply refer to them as “gender ideology,” which is itself part of the broader concept of extreme human plasticity. Our statement reads,
NAS does not seek the role of moral arbiter over all higher education, but we are willing to recognize the existence of moral issues that are all too often swept under the rug so that harmful ideologies can advance under cover of “progress.” We are moved by the need to enunciate our concern for the harm done to students in the name of gender identity. And we are moved by the need to stand up for the pursuit of truth, which is imperiled by a regime founded on falsehood. Extreme human plasticity is an illusion that has no valid basis in biology, anthropology, or psychology. In that light we state our principled opposition to gender ideology in American higher education.
American colleges and universities must reverse course on their embrace of gender ideology. Too much is at stake: the health of our students, the livelihoods of our dissenting professors and staff, and the truth of humanity itself.
Click here to read the full NAS Statement on Gender Ideology in Higher Education.
CounterCurrent is the National Association of Scholars’ weekly newsletter, written by Communications & Research Associate David Acevedo. To subscribe, update your email preferences here.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Professor Kathleen Lowrey "was terminated in March of last year." Professor Lowery still maintains her teaching position at the university although her role as associate chair of undergraduate programs was terminated. The article has been edited to reflect this fact.