Why Do Cis-Feminists Discriminate Against Trans*-Women?

A colleague of mine just shared with me a defensive manifesto of “gender-critical philosophers,” which I find extremely transphobic. When I read things like this, I’m not sure if I’m more angry, sad, shocked, or just embarrassed by my own naïveté (why can’t we just be respectful and get along?!).

These feminists (!) claim that “no trans woman is an adult human female, no trans woman is correctly categorised as a woman,” but they “don’t accept that [their] views are ‘transphobic’.” Instead, they claim that their “views are motivated, as most views in political philosophy are, by a belief in the existence of a certain combination of values and facts.”

What is it that makes members of a minority lash out against similarly or even more marginalized individuals within the same group? Continue reading

“I’m Not a Bigot, It’s Just Science”

You might have already heard of Grace Pokela’s pointed facebook post that dismantles the “science” of transphobia. But just in case you haven’t—and chances are you haven’t, because I myself only learned about it through my brother—you should totally check it out.

It’s important to remind ourselves that “science” can be used quite easily to essentialize socio-economic injustice and culturally specific stereotypes. But it’s not only the misrepresentation of scientific “facts” that is the problem (e.g., denying that there’s more than XX and XY). Sometimes it is the bare attempt of scientifically classifying individuals that is already problematic. Typing humans secures the basis for discrimination, regardless of how fine-grained the categories are. Continue reading

What Kind of Sex Do We Need in Neuroimaging?


(”Like Dancers in a Line” by Viewminder, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Four members of the NeuroGenderings network, Gina Rippon, Rebecca Jordan-Young, Anelis Kaiser, and Cordelia Fine, recently published a fabulous piece on “Recommendations for Sex/Gender Neuroimaging Research: Key Principles and Implications for Research Design, Analysis, and Interpretation” in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience.

Continue reading

Help Needed for Survey of (Natural/Medical/Social) Scientists

Today I want to ask you to contribute your perspective on sex/gender and other types of classification of human subjects in your research on behalf of my Berlinian colleague Diana Schellenberg (psychologist). Please find her call for participants for her study below. (And PLEASE take the time to support her research, since it’s very important from a meta-science point of view; besides that, she asked me to post this announcement on my weblog, so it’s also about my being able to motivate readers to participate—reimbursement with chocolate and gratitude is guaranteed if you let me know that you completed the survey.) Continue reading

What Kind of Sex Do We Need in the Lab?

The historian of science’s creed to begin with:

I believe in the material existence of beards, breasts and chest hair. I believe in the function of gonads and genitals. I believe in the usefulness of concepts like chromosomes and hormones. I believe in the ideal of meticulously controlled research trials covering a wide variety of test subjects.

However, I do not believe that vaginas are always accompanied by hairless chests and faces, and I am convinced that scrota and breasts sometimes adorn the same organism (pre-plastic surgery!). I believe that integrating sex/gender into scientific research as it is presented in the video below will lead us neither to a more reliable science nor to a better world altogether. Continue reading