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NOT Science: Anthropology Conference Cancels Panel Discussing Biological Sex

The American Anthropology Association (AAA) and the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) reportedly canceled a panel discussing biological sex due to concerns that it would harm the transgender and LGBTQI community, according to a letter sent to the panelists.

The panel, titled “Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby,” was supposed to be held during the AAA and CASCA’s annual conference in November to discuss how “biological sex remains irreplaceably relevant to anthropological analysis,” according to a summary of the panel. The presentation was allegedly approved in July, but the AAA and CASCA sent a letter on Monday to the panelists informing them that, after some reflection, they had decided to cancel the presentation.

“This decision was based on extensive consultation and was reached in the spirit of respect for our values, the safety and dignity of our members, and the scientific integrity of the program(me),” the letter reads. “The reason the session deserved further scrutiny was that the ideas were advanced in such a way as to cause harm to members represented by the Trans and LGBTQI of the anthropological community as well as the community at large.”

The presentation was set to explain how important “sex identification” is “one of the most fundamental components in bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology,” according to the summary. It also noted a concerning trend to hijack education and “deny the very existence of sex as a material reality.”

The AAA and CASCA said that they would do better when vetting panels in the future to avoid these kinds of situations, and that “those who disagree with this decision” should know “their voice was heard and was very much a part of the conversation,” according to the letter.

The panelists responded by sending their own letter Tuesday to the organizations, saying that they were disappointed that the AAA and the CASCA had “chosen to forbid scholarly dialogue.” Elizabeth Weiss, a professor at San José State University and a Heterodox Academy Faculty Fellow, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that she didn’t know who had complained about the presentation.

“We have not received any response from either the American Anthropological Association President or the President of the Canadian Anthropology Society,” Weiss said. “It is unfortunate that anthropology has become a field in which debate and diverse viewpoints are no longer welcome.”

CASCA and AAA did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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