Academics or Activists?--The Transgenderization of Education Research Part 1

It is rare that those of us who cannot afford multiple subscriptions to academic journals in the field of education research get the opportunity to read the battle plans of the transgenderist movement in the K-12 setting.

Therefore, all parents who are concerned about the attempt of transgenderist zealots to turn public schools into venues for heavily sexualized pedagogy should read at least portions of some of the articles available in an open access format as discussed in this announcement, Special Issue of Educational Researcher Aims to Advance Trans Research in K-12 Education.

The journal, Educational Researcher, is published under the auspices of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The mission of the organization, we are told, is as follows:

The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a national research society, strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

This is how the organization defines “education research

Education research is the scientific field of study that examines education and learning processes and the human attributes, interactions, organizations, and institutions that shape educational outcomes. Scholarship in the field seeks to describe, understand, and explain how learning takes place throughout a person’s life and how formal and informal contexts of education affect all forms of learning. Education research embraces the full spectrum of rigorous methods appropriate to the questions being asked and also drives the development of new tools and methods.

But does the pro-transgenderism stance of the articles in the special issue jibe with the ideal of “rigorous methods” of scholarship? Clearly not. What is presented as “research” is little more than a pro-transgenderism manifesto. We read:

In their introduction, Melinda M. Mangin (Rutgers University) and her editorial team note that “while scholars should expand this work, the field of education should not replicate the shortcomings of past research.” They ask that the field “recognize the value of trans epistemologies for informing high-quality education research and increasing our capacity to dismantle oppressive, cisnormative systems,” warning that “new research trajectories should not mirror or compound the racist, deficit perspectives and pathologizing ideologies that previous research has applied to transgender people, knowledge, and experiences.”

That does not sound like dispassionate scholarship to me. That is a call to arms against ordinary families and non-woke values and traditions.

Today’s post will drill down into the introduction of the special issue. I will simply note significant passages in the introduction that demonstrate how so much “education research” these days is, in reality, the pro-transgenderism politicization of K-12 education research and, eventually, schools.

The editors of the special issue make clear from the start their belief that everyone can basically decide what gender he or she is based on personal preference rather than biological reality. That is a quite radical idea and probably not one most Americans would agree with. Referring to recent efforts by state legislatures across the country to rein in the excesses of the sexualization of K-12 education (Florida, being a standout in this fight), they write:

These legislative efforts both stem from and contribute to cisnormativity—the belief that gender is a binary, unchanging throughout the life course

Well, yeah.

They go on to imply that those who believe in basic facts of human biology are villains bent on inflicting harm on those who suffer from sexual confusion:

Cisnormativity creates restrictive systems of gender that disproportionately harm trans individuals.

They proceed to make clear that they have a political agenda and are not even really scholars at all, but transgenderist activists who are adept at footnoting:

Fortunately, the structural and social factors that contribute to cisnormativity are not inevitable or immutable.

So, be advised non-transgenderist parents. When you hear phrases like “research shows” or “experts tell us…” the kind of highly partisan, pro-transgenderism “research” on full display in this special issue of Educational Researcher is what is likely being cited.

Think I am exaggerating? The editors make no bones about their abandonment of unbiased scholarship in favor of blatant advocacy:

We argue that education research must take up the challenge of educational justice in all its facets, including trans justice. “Trans,” when used here in reference to individuals, refers broadly to anyone who does not strictly identify with the gender they were assigned at birth and/or in the institutional structures they currently navigate.

That single paragraph manages to employ several stock phrases and tropes of the transgenderist movement. For example, the phrase:

the gender they were assigned at birth

is a favorite of the transgenderist movement. The notion of the adherents of this movement is that a baby girl or baby boy (we are not talking about the rare, tragic cases of genuinely intersex infants) is merely a blob who will eventually decide for himself or herself at some indeterminate date what gender he or she is. The baby, in this reading, is cruelly and capriciously “assigned” a gender by an evil medical establishment that is itself the offshoot of the dreaded oppressive, cisnormative system.

And one of the “institutional structures they currently navigate” is, according to the transgender zealots, a kindergarten. It is in such settings and among children as young as five that they want to propagandize. The zealots say so themselves:

Trans justice requires thoughtful engagement with transgender knowledge for the purpose of building more equitable systems and practices that account for transgender experience. Education research can positively contribute to the creation of educational spaces that do more to support students and employees with a range of genders as well as to facilitate richer understanding of the past and present role of gender in society.

It is recommended that parents who oppose the sexualization of K-12 education peruse the articles in this special issue of Educational Researcher given that it lays out in the starkest possible terms what parents are up against given the corruption of the very idea of education research by the transgenderist movement and the impact such tactics will have on the “conversation” that the transgenderists and their fellow travelers want to have about their hope of rendering K-12 classrooms sites of their war on “cisnormativity,” which they define as the idea that a person's gender identity matches their biological sex. By contrast, they believe that gender identity is merely a state of mind.

They define as “cisnormative” anyone who is not transgender. In transgenderist rhetoric, cisgender people “identify” with the gender they were “assigned” at birth. In other words, the transgenderists have concocted a weird, clinical-sounding category for the vast majority of normal humanity and say that we merely “identify” with the gender we were born with, rather than being, in actuality, men and women and not confused transgenderists.

Indeed, the very words “men” and “women” are avoided by transgenderists unless they can slap a modifier onto them (e.g., “trans woman”)—and they try to obliterate the very word “women” in favor of grotesque neologisms like “people with uteruses.” And if normal people like, you know, actual women, resist being erased from the public square, we are labeled “transphobic” and accused of engaging in hate speech.

That is what lies at the heart of this special issue of Educational Researcher and why it is so very worth examining. Indeed, the editors go on to say:

The articles in this issue of Educational Researcher provide conceptual framing and practical recommendations that can guide ethical, trans-informed education research and practices. We introduce readers to the emergent field of trans studies in K–12 education and highlight education scholarship related to transgender people that opens new possibilities for the field.

They continue:

By applying the overarching framing of trans studies to education, the authors in this special issue collectively aim to build education scholars’ capacity to broaden understandings of gender in educational research, policy, and practice and improve conditions in schools for trans students and educators.

In other words, they view the welfare of all children through a “trans” lens.

They seem to regard teachers and parents who might have qualms about “affirming” the passing wish of a little girl to be a boy (as many little girls wish for a few weeks before the phase passes) as bigots who must be combatted:

Despite growing public awareness of transgender identities and advances in trans-affirming education policies, the conditions in schools vary widely and extreme anti-trans political backlash and violence are on the rise.

Transgenderists try silence their opponents by claiming that any opposition to the sexualization of schools is motivated by fear and hatred of their community. They employ misleading phrases like “targeting trans children.” They engage in the anti-democratic tactic of claiming that the peaceful enactment of legislation by democratically elected representatives of the people is damaging to the children that such representatives are attempting to protect from proselyting by woke activists in K-12 settings:

awareness of anti-trans legislation contributes to hopelessness and a decreased sense of belonging among trans people

The editors try to pathologize perfectly normal human behavior:

children are socialized to perceive gender as a fixed binary, with girls and boys positioned as mutually exclusive opposites

Well, yeah. That is, you know, human biology except in tragic and exceedingly rare cases. It is the basis of, you know, feminism—which is deemed the enemy of “trans women” because feminism does not want to surrender the idea of womanhood to men who claim they are women.

The introduction assumes an increasingly and highly predictable race-baiting tone, saying that any opposition to the transgenderist agenda is:

largely filtered through the lens of white supremacy

as if all African-American or Latino parents, of course, are staunch transgenderists. That is a racist assumption, quite common among left-wing white academics.

As noted above, the unabashed leftism of the editors is manifested in their call for

increasing our capacity to dismantle oppressive, cisnormative systems

For “oppressive, cisnormative systems” read schools. Soooo, parents do you want your local kindergarten to be “dismantled” along transgenderist lines? The editors want to create an entire generation of what they call “gender-creative youth.” And woe betide any teacher or parent who stands in the way of the activists. These activist educators want to do to education research what their woke counterparts have already done to other fields—that is, render them trans-friendly:

the articles in this issue provide conceptual framing, novel scholarship, and practical recommendations to facilitate deeper engagement with trans knowledge and communities. The articles also challenge scholars to ethically interrogate how education institutions reproduce anti-transgender policies and practices. Compared to other fields, such as sociology, medicine, counseling, and psychology, the field of education lags behind our academic peers with regard to research informed by transgender experiences and epistemologies

The very people who want to undermine womanhood and traditional masculinity (which are not, by the way, exclusive to whites) audaciously claim that they are doing so in the name of “equity” even as they admit that it is trans students and educators that they care about:

Continued growth of ethical, trans-informed education research has the potential for transforming harmful education structures and practices and may lead to more equitable educational spaces for all—especially trans students and educators.

They tell us:

trans-studies-informed research situates cisnormative school structures and practices as problematic

In other words, teachers who refuse to go along with, say, hiding from parents the fact that other school personnel are allowing a boy to dress as a girl at school, would be engaging in “problematic practices.”

They say of the contributors and articles in the special issue:

The authors interrogate the cisnormative structural and social conditions that reinforce educational inequities and perpetuate anti-trans violence and discrimination. These studies are intended to be a starting point for conversation…

Hmm. The “conversation” is based on the premise that those who oppose transgenderist practices are prone to violence. Swell.

And getting back to the ritualistic invocation of the term “white supremacy,” the editors admit that they are a predominantly white group.

Additionally, this group of transgenderists do not condemn misogyny (which transgenderism is notorious for, most notably in its love of drag queen culture and antipathy towards the word “woman” unless it is preceded by “trans”). Rather, the editors condemn what they call “transmisogyny.” (Transgenderism is big on coining new words.)

And what is “transmisogyny?” It is any indication of disapproval of men dressing up as women and demanding to be treated as women—and actual women who are not willing to go along with the fantasies of these troubled men are therefore at risk at being labeled as “transmisogynistic,” I suppose. For a movement that prides itself on its supposed tolerance and respect for diversity, transgenderism certainly and with great ruthlessness demands that everyone adhere to its very strange program.

It is also quick to don the mantle of “anti-racism” because transgenderists know that average Americans are inherently sympathetic to those who have been ill-treated due to race but are also not necessarily eager for public schools to devote resources to promoting the idea that gender is a wholly a matter of personal preference. The playing of the race card as a marketing ploy and all of this transmisogyny stuff is encapsulated in this passage:

As a group, all of us have experienced or witnessed the direct impacts of anti-trans oppression and are firmly committed to resisting its continued perpetuation. At the same time, the racial and gender composition of our predominately white group of authors may serve as some evidence of the most deeply rooted structural barriers and conditions that shape the terrain of the field—in particular, racism and transmisogyny.

You can just see the hopes of grant money pouring into the advancement of transgenderism in the field of educational research—and that the pseudo-science produced will be used to transform K-12 classroom into bastions of transgendersism. All of this funding and so-called research will come at the expense of the children of America—including children who are being bombarded with transgenderist propaganda and who therefore begin to worry that maybe they are not boys or girls at all but “nonbinary” or some such trendy invention and that being a girl if you are born a girl may not a good thing but wanting to be a girl if you were born a boy is something worthy of being affirmed:

We humbly offer this special issue as an invitation to what must necessarily become a larger field of well-supported scholars

I hope to examine at least some of the articles in this special issue in days to come. Chances to peek into the world of transgenderist ideology posing as research do not come along very often.

In the meantime, parents and non-woke educators should seize the opportunity to browse through the articles in the special issue for themselves. There is plenty of academese to wade through, but quite a bit of aggressive agenda-setting by transgenderists that bears watching.

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