Gender Lysenkoism in action
Nancy Kelley, the incoming Chief Operating Officer for Stonewall UK, canceled an entire seminar because one of the speakers is a critic of trans activist demands for a sex-neutral census.
According to The Times of London, which has seen internal documents related to the decision, Kelley approved of efforts to de-platform sociologist Alice Sullivan.
Sullivan was slated to appear with officials from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the government office in charge of next year’s census.
“Sullivan leads the 1970 British Cohort Study, which follows 17,000 people born in one week 50 years ago,” writer Sian Griffiths explains.
She was invited by the research body NatCen, which works closely with the ONS. Kelley is NatCen’s deputy chief executive and is to move to Stonewall later this year.
The event was cancelled after some NatCen members alleged that Sullivan held “anti-trans views”. Emails disclosed under information laws reveal fears “that including Sullivan as a panellist could be seen as NatCen endorsing anti-trans views, risking reputational damage and perhaps more importantly risking harm to staff and audience members”. Circulated among the six-strong leadership team, the emails say the NatCen LGBT group “suggested she not take part or that the event be cancelled”. It was scrapped days later.
Sullivan had intended to discuss proposed ONS guidance that people should be allowed to self-identify as male or female in the 2021 census. Under the guidance, respondents would be able to answer according to what they felt themselves to be and not their birth sex. In December Sullivan organised a letter, signed by 80 social scientists and published in The Sunday Times, arguing that to let people choose how to answer will affect the accuracy of the census.
Ruth Hunt, the previous COO of Stonewall UK, resigned last year amid criticism from LGB advocates. They accused Hunt of letting the gender identity lobby take over the organization, upending the entire project of human rights based on sexual orientation.
Many of them have fled to an alternative organization, the LGB Alliance, which criticizes the impact of gender ideology on women, children, and gender nonconforming people.
So far, Kelley does not seem to be an improvement on her predecessor at Stonewall.
Meet Tracey, Stonewall's new COO. Like Nancy (new CEO) she was hired via a headhunting firm called Society. No news yet on her views on women, but she was sacked for her poor support of children (including unlawful policy) and given £100,000 to go https://t.co/MCEeAyk5mk
— Ella Witchwood (@EllaWitchwood) May 13, 2020
A sex-neutral census might soothe tender egos, but only at the cost of reducing its value for formulating public policies that were considered progressive just five minutes ago, such as reducing income disparity, or even trans rights.
“Without accurate data on sex, we lose the ability to understand differences and to design evidence-based policies tackling problems facing girls and boys, women and men,” Sullivan argues in a forthcoming paper in the International Journal of Research Methodology.
“We also lose the ability to gain an accurate understanding of issues facing trans people of both sexes.”
Alice Sullivan is not some sort of hatemonger. She is the director of the 1970 British Cohort Study, a research effort that surveys British babies born during one week of April in that year to detect long-term trends.
As an expert on social science data collection, her voice should be part of any debate; however, gender identitarians do not want to allow any debate.
Make no mistake – Stonewall is at the heart of this approach. They now need to turn the tanker around or founder on the rocks. Trying to use their muscle behind the scenes to suppress expertise because it doesn't fit their political agenda is not acceptable in a liberal society. https://t.co/y4h2YknZRX
— Kathleen Stock (@Docstockk) May 24, 2020
As Trofim Lysenko understood, silencing your enemies goes hand in hand with imposing your will on science. Send critics to Siberia, and they will never expose your chicanery or beat your results.
Everyone will simply learn to accept that Marx can be applied to biology and pretend they never knew the victims of the latest purge.
Something like that nonsense has been going on in the English-speaking academy, and Sullivan is trying to raise the alarm among her colleagues: now is the time to speak up.
For queer theorists, dismantling categories is a political project. Social scientists who are interested in measuring social phenomena that are ‘out there’ in the real world should understand that the postmodernists who used to denigrate all quantitative research are now coming for our questionnaires. Resisting postmodernism matters for everyone who believes that the distinction between fact and fiction matters for research and policy.
Nancy Kelly is not going to rein in transgender activists. Clearly a big fan of the new Lysenkoism, she clearly wants anyone who declares that sex matters sent to Siberia.
Can British academia find its spine and say no, or are we all doomed to decline in a bipartisan spiral of hyper-politicized pseudoscience?
One way to fight back is to name the problem.
What Stonewall UK and similar organizations push now is sex denial. It belongs in the same category as climate change denial, evolution denial, germ theory denial, and Lysenko’s denial of Mendelian genetics. Everyone must start saying so.
I'm frequently asked why I focus so much on the nature of biological sex. It's because in my view this may be reality's last stand. If this undeniable fact can be denied en masse, then we become hostages to chaos. We simply cannot afford to lose our collective tether to reality.
— Colin Wright (@SwipeWright) March 4, 2020