Harvard President Summers

With President Summers’ actual statements still unknown, and while he continues to withhold transcripts of what he actually said, we are all left to guess as to what was controversial enough to make a Harvard graduate and female scientist walk out of his lecture in disgust.
What I think it’s important to keep in mind is that there are trends in science as elsewhere; what might be the hot thing today turns out to be absurd tomorrow.
Biological essentialism has its day every few decades, usually as a result of political/social progress. The anti-black science (a la “The Bell Curve”) that came out a few years ago was well-timed: the black middle class was making real inroads.
Likewise, biological essentialism vis a vis women became all the rage when we were trying to return those newly-liberated WWII female factory workers to their homes. It happened again after the 2nd wave of feminism in the 70s. John Gray didn’t come from nowhere; his bullshit is exactly the answer to so many people’s anxieties about the changes in gender roles.
Aside from that, there’s funding. During this presidency, which has proved itself willing to fund only research that it finds politically expedient, we have to see where the money is coming from.
Most theories can seem rational without proof. Interesting and worthy of research, too. But it doesn’t make them right – and until proven otherwise, I think Summers was talking out of his ass.
As trannies, you all are going to have to keep track of this stuff, too. You can’t be surprised when a sodomy law gets taken down, backlash happens – and it happens in all industries and cultures – even that untouchable behemoth we like to call science. One of the things you start to figure out as a minority is that the hotshots of science hobnob with the same legislators that won’t approve trans-friendly legislation. Everyone has politics, but some hide them behind their impressive degrees.
The one thing transwomen especially have to keep in mind – and which they may have no experience in – is understanding that a strong objection (like Hopkins’) isn’t usually about nothing. Find out who is objecting, and why, instead of dismissing a person’s compaints for being too sensitive, or being “politically correct.” Discrimination is a difficult thing to prove but terrifically oppressive to the people living with it. As transfolks, you know what oppression is, and if you’re not going to be accused of “crying wolf” when someone treats you like crap, learn how to give other kinds of objectors the benefit of the doubt before dismissing them.
Summers may be a scientist, but he’s also a man with a lot of power. Power is deafening to those who have it, and unbearably loud for those who don’t.