Conspicuously absent from the "pro-science" progressive movement is a pro-science perspective on gender. In fact, it's probably more accurate to characterize their perspective on gender as anti-science, enforcing dogma rooted more in the work of wayward Women's Studies departments than biological reality.
Just this April, for instance, Bill Nye, anointed disciple of the pro-science Left, framed the idea that gender exists on a spectrum from which people can choose points that match their identities as settled science.
But in an interview published Thursday with the Weekly Standard, dissident feminist Camille Paglia gave a compelling take on the contemporary progressive dogma on transgenderism. "Although I describe myself as transgender (I was donning flamboyant male costumes from early childhood on), I am highly skeptical about the current transgender wave, which I think has been produced by far more complicated psychological and sociological factors than current gender discourse allows," Paglia explained.
"The cold biological truth is that sex changes are impossible. Every single cell of the human body remains coded with one's birth gender for life. Intersex ambiguities can occur, but they are developmental anomalies that represent a tiny proportion of all human births," pronounced Paglia. The bestselling author also condemned "the escalating prescription of puberty blockers" for children, referring to the practice as "a criminal violation of human rights."
"It is certainly ironic," she observed, "how liberals who posture as defenders of science when it comes to global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence) flee all reference to biology when it comes to gender."
To correct these trends, Paglia turned to a proposition she's offered for years (as evidenced by her new book), calling on gender studies departments to reintroduce the serious study of biology into their curriculums. "Biology has been programmatically excluded from Women's Studies and Gender Studies programs for almost 50 years now," she remarked. "Thus very few current gender studies professors and theorists, here and abroad, are intellectually or scientifically prepared to teach their subjects."
True as I think that is, the most unfortunate part is that progressives don't even want to debate it, choosing instead to present their beliefs as settled science, any questions of which, they say, pose threats to the safety of transgender people. This makes it impossible to subject these relatively new ideas to the process of rigorous debate and questioning in the public square. And, of course, it seems the opposite could turn out to be, that forcing blind acceptance of these new ideas may actually harm children, many of whom are prescribed puberty blockers to halt development, as Paglia noted.
But, alas, she has been shunned. And, unfortunately, so, too, have most thinkers who subvert the progressive orthodoxy on sex and gender.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.