Evolutionary biologist and atheist activist Richard Dawkins, known for his famed book “The God Delusion” and for routine attempts to try and disprove the existence of a higher power, sparked headlines this week after promoting a document that pushes back against puberty blockers and other facets of the contentious gender identity battle.
Dawkins tweeted Monday that he signed the “Declaration on Women’s Sex-based Rights,” a document aimed at reaffirming “women and girls’ sex-based rights.”
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The controversial proclamation pushes back on issues emerging from the cultural replacement of “sex” with “gender identity,” an issue that has risen to impact multiple facets of society.
“Please sign the Declaration on Women’s Sex-based Rights,” Dawkins wrote. “I have just done so.”
Please sign the Declaration on Women’s Sex-based Rights. I have just done so.https://t.co/QmJ1uzNY3k— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) November 29, 2021
Before exploring reactions to Dawkins’ decision to sign and promote the declaration, it’s essential to better discern its contents. By replacing “sex” with “gender,” the document alleges confusion has been fostered. This confusion, in turn, “ultimately risks undermining the protection of women’s human rights,” the document alleges.
The “Declaration on Women’s Sex-based Rights” goes on to discuss a plethora of issues, including claims biological men are women, sexual orientation, and motherhood, among many hotbeds of debate.
The stand taken on motherhood, though, is one of the elements that has sparked the most intrigue and attention.
“Some men who claim a female ‘gender identity’ seek to be included in the legal category of mother,” the text reads. “Maternal rights and services are based on women’s unique capacity to gestate and give birth to children. The inclusion of men who claim a female ‘gender identity’ within the legal category of mother erodes the social significance of maternity, and undermines the maternal rights for which the [United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women] provides.”
Aside from that element, of the most contentious issues addressed in the declaration is, no doubt, puberty blockers and the transitioning of children. The proclamation takes aim at the child gender reassignment, particularly referencing the potential long-term impact of such procedures.
“Medical interventions that carry a high risk of long-term adverse consequences on the physical or psychological health of a child, such as the use of puberty suppressing hormones, cross-sex hormones, and surgery, are used on children who are not developmentally competent to give full, free and informed consent,” the document reads, warning of permanent physical and psychological effects.
You can read the full-text of the “Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights” here.
Unsurprisingly, Dawkins’ promotion of the document — and his urging for people to sign — immediately sparked backlash. Here are just some of the responses:
As a woman, I really object to men signing this is the name of defending women’s rights. The majority or women are more than happy to share safe spaces with all women and understand that trans rights do not impact on our safety.— Stephanie Wall (@StephWall) November 29, 2021
Sorry Richard I looked up to you before this, but this beyond reason. I’m now currently trying to work out if I should block a man who I have hugely admired over the years. Why are you marginalising people who already have the odds heavily stacked against them? I won’t sign.— 10 years of austerity, 2 years of corruption (@henrypage) November 29, 2021
You do know that you’re only arguing for one singular, and very old school definition of sex right? Like the one that has been used justify patriarchal violence for centuries. One that glosses over the multivariate particulate nature of process in favour of teleological purpose.— Sarah-Jayne (@Acorn_2_oak) November 29, 2021
Others thanked and defended Dawkins for his stance, as the document continues to spark attention.
The organizers behind the “Declaration on Women’s Sex-based Rights” said Thursday nearly 27,000 people from 153 countries had signed on.
This isn’t the first time Dawkins has spoken out on the transgender issue. The famed biologist was stripped of his 1996 humanist of the year award earlier this year from the American Humanist Association over a tweet on the issue.
In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) April 10, 2021
“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black,” he said. “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.”
Dawkins doesn’t appear to be backing down from his position.
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