Conference cancels panel on biological sex in human skeletons over transphobia fears: Commits a ‘cardinal sin’
EXCLUSIVE – Anthropologists from the largest associations of anthropologists in the world canceled an event discussing the importance of biological sex in the context of studying the human skeleton while citing “transphobia” as the reason for the panel being cut.
The American Anthropological Association (AAA) and The Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) were skewered for walking back their approval for a panel event at its 2023 conference discussing biological sex. The AAA and CASCA said that it was now tightening its review process to ensure such an event wouldn’t recur in the future.
The event in question discussed “Sex identification whether an individual was male or female – using the skeleton is one of the most fundamental components in bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology.”
One of the speakers who was slated to attend, Elizabeth Weiss, an anthropology professor at San José State University, said in an interview with FOX News Digital that the field has been nose-diving into an “off the rails” agenda, with activists pushing for some facts to be replaced with feelings. As anthropologists have developed more precise metrics to determine the sex of the human skeleton they study in the field, the more they get attacked for knowing and being able to determine those differences, she said.
“So just as we are getting better and better at identifying what is male and what is a female and the skeletal record, we are getting more and more attacked for knowing how to do this,” she said in an interview with FOX News Digital. “Truth is not necessarily considered an objective goal and the victims’ narrative is more important than facts. Who tells the story is more important than the data, which we obviously know is not true.”
The letter announcing the session being canceled said, “Dear Panelists, We write to inform you that at the request of numerous members the respective executive boards of AAA and CASCA reviewed the panel submission ‘Why biological sex remains a necessary analytic category in anthropology’ and reached a decision to remove the session.”
It was written by the president of the AAA Ramona Pérez and the president of CASCA Monica Heller.
In response, the anthropologists who were slated to speak at the event wrote a letter calling the decision to remove the session from the conference an “anti-science response.”
“Your suggestion that our panel would somehow compromise ‘the scientific integrity of the program’ seems to us particularly egregious, as the decision to anathematize our panel looks very much like an anti-science response to a politicized lobbying campaign,” they wrote. “Anthropologists around the world will quite rightly find chilling this declaration of war on dissent and on scholarly controversy. It is a profound betrayal of the AAA’s principle of ‘advancing human understanding and applying this understanding to the world’s most pressing problems.’”
FOX News Digital contacted the heads of the AAA and CASCA. The AAA released a comment to FOX which said, “There is no place for transphobia in anthropology.”
It went on to claim that the science of biological sex was not settled and that sex was not binary.
“The session was rejected because it [was] framed in ways that do harm to vulnerable members of our community. It commits one of the cardinal sins of scholarship—it assumes the truth of the proposition that it sets out to prove, namely, that sex and gender are simplistically binary, and that this is a fact with meaningful implications for the discipline,” the AAA told FOX News Digital.
It further said that anthropologists should not strive to identify sex conclusively and that such determinations were merely an “estimation.”
“Around the world and throughout human history, there have always been people whose gender roles do not align neatly with their reproductive anatomy. There is no single biological standard by which all humans can be reliably sorted into a binary male/female sex classification,” the AAA continued.
The AAA went on to compare “gender critical” scholarship to “race science” of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”
Weiss said activists want to push their agenda in the field of anthropology.
“I also think that the increase in the trans what I would say ‘social contagion’ has led to activists in the field… So they’re not really interested in understanding… how a tribe in the rainforest of Brazil lived. They want to push their agenda onto those narratives to make it more seem more normal,” Weiss said.
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