Female University of Rhode Island professor under fire for criticizing trans movement

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A University of Rhode Island professor is under fire for what has been deemed as "anti-transgender perspectives" for stating, among other things, that people cannot be born in the wrong body.

In an essay published in 4W last month, a "publication for cancelled women, brave feminists, and heterodox thinkers," Donna Hughes, a pioneer in the academic study of human trafficking and a professor of women's studies, wrote of the fantasy worlds that exist on both sides of the political aisle in the United States.  

While many on the left are quick to accuse those on the right of falling for conspiracy theories, Hughes stressed in her piece titled, "Fantasy Worlds on the Political Right and Left: QAnon and Trans-Sex Beliefs," that "fake news and harmful politicized beliefs leading to real harm are not solely a right-wing phenomenon." 

"The American political left is increasingly diving headfirst into their own world of lies and fantasy and, unlike in the imaginary world of QAnon, real children are becoming actual victims.

"The trans-sex fantasy, the belief that a person can change his or her sex, either from male to female or from female to male, is spreading largely unquestioned among the political left." 

In an email to The Christian Post on Sunday, Hughes said that the gender identity movement is authoritarian and that the ferocious backlash to any criticism of it is part of the strategy to shut down all discussion of the subject. She also noted that she has received statements of support from trans-identifying people who are happy living as transgender but acknowledge they cannot change their sex. 

"A tremendous amount of rage is generated toward those with 'privilege,' a very slippery, non-exact concept, so it can be applied to anyone. The same with accusations of racism," Hughes said. 

“There is a tremendous amount of money behind the transgender movement. They use their money to influence large institutions, such as medical centers, pharmacies, schools, and human rights groups. People refer to this as institutional capture. It is a corrupt process of becoming large donors to institutions, usually with a lot of money, come to dictate thinking.”

In response to her essay, the University of Rhode Island released a statement saying that it "does not support statements and publications by Professor Donna Hughes that espouse anti-transgender perspectives and recognize that such discourse can cause pain and discomfort for many transgender individuals."

The statement was not part of a press release or in an email to students but was posted on the university's website, and noted the school is committed to “transgender rights and the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence aimed at transgender individuals and the LGBTQIA+ community.”

While acknowledging Hughes' "general right to 'academic freedom'" the statement argued that such freedom and free speech rights under the First Amendment "are not boundless, however, and should be exercised responsibly with due regard for the faculty member’s other obligations, including their obligations to the university’s students and the university community.”

When asked by CP why university administrations seem hesitant to defend the free speech rights of their staff who criticize this movement, she replied that universities no longer teach about principles of democracy, except for specialized classes.

“Administrators are frightened by the bullies. They rush to accommodate any complaints. They fear if they do not appear to be progressive enough, they will come under attack. On Twitter, some of the activists said they would take me down, and if the Gender and Women’s Studies Department didn’t support them, they’d go after the department, too,” she said. 

Many people don't know about the experimental nature of the medicalization of gender, she added, which she also detailed in her 4W essay.

“The average member of the public likely thinks that men become transgender by starting to wear female clothing and makeup, while women cut their hair short and wear masculine clothes. Few know about the puberty-blocking drugs and the cross-sex hormones that effectively sterilize teens. They don’t know the changes they cause, particularly to girls, are not reversible. They don’t know about the girls getting double mastectomies,” Hughes told CP.  

The cosmetic gender surgeries that are done on women are disguised with euphemisms, she added, and the ways gender has become medicalized “are forms of sterilization, but no one talks about that.” 

“It’s part of the fantasy that sex changes ‘magically’ happen," Hughes added.  

The ideology that accompanies the contemporary phenomenon of a self-declared "gender identity" is an attack against women's hard-won sex-based rights, Hughes wrote last month, and the "biological category of sex, particularly women’s sex, is being smashed."

President Joe Biden's Jan. 20 executive order enshrining gender identity into federal administrative law, she said, "flies in the face of rationality and truth."

Speaking to the "hormonal and surgical horrors" young people are being encouraged to pursue to "de-sex" them, and the pharmaceutical companies, medical facilities and physicians who profit off these procedures, Hughes likened these to the eugenics movement where certain groups of people were deemed unfit to reproduce and then forcibly sterilized. 

Hughes told the Boston Globe that she has the right to speak on issues of public concern as a private citizen.  

"It’s sad that we have reached a point in society where difficult issues cannot be freely and openly discussed without resort to personal attacks and calls for censorship,” she said.

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