Scientists urged to degender human remains
LGBT activists and scholars say researchers cannot know how former individuals identified
A number of LGBT activists and scholars are pushing to stop anthropologists from identifying human remains as ‘male’ or ‘female’, arguing that it’s impossible to know how ancient individuals identified themselves, reports Monday The College Fix.
Gender activists have long pushed to inject modern sensibilities into academia, the article says, adding that a tweet from Canadian master’s candidate Emma Palladino posted earlier this month apparently reignited the debate. .
Palladino, who is seeking an advanced degree in archaeology, argued that transgender people « can’t escape » the sex they were born with because archaeologists who find their bone one day will assign them the same sex they were born with. Palladino called the practice of assigning a gender to a former human « bull *** t. »
His initial tweet garnered over 10,000 retweets and nearly 60,000 likes. She continued the thread stating that “Gender+queer archaeologists and scholars have worked for decades to unpack the assumptions archaeologists make about gender and identity, both today and in the past.”
Noting that labeling any remains as « masculine » or « feminine » is rarely the end goal of any excavation, she said that « The ‘bioarchaeology of the individual’ is what we aim for, integrating absolutely everything we discover about a person into a nuanced and open biography of their life », she argued.
She concluded by reassuring the LGBT community that even though « shitty archaeologists in future misgenres » them, it will never change who they were in life.
Other activists have also pushed to change the way anthropologists deal with discovered bodies, reported The College Fix, an American conservative news site. He noted that a group called the Trans Doe Task Force seeks to « explore ways in which current standards of forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary. »
The group’s mission statement offers « a gender-responsive approach to human identification » by examining found bodies based on « contextual clues » such as clothing « culturally coded to a gender other than sex that was assigned to them”.
Jennifer Raff, an associate professor at the University of Kansas, also argued that there is « no sharp divisions between physically or genetically male or female individuals », according to the website. Raff suggests that identifying ancient remains solely as male or female is a « duality » concept imposed by the Christian colonizers.
Meanwhile, some archaeologists are trying to fend off attempts to inject modern sensibilities into the field. Speaking to The College Fix, San Jose State professor of archeology Elizabeth Weiss insisted that eliminating gender classifications amounted to « ideologically motivated trickery » and that it was a backward step for science.
Weiss noted that applying biological sex to remains often helps dispel myths that are harmful to women. She gave the example of some early anthropologists mistakenly identifying « robust female skeletons like male skeletons », thus strengthening « False stereotypes that women don’t work as hard as men. »
“Over time, biological anthropologists and archaeologists have worked hard to determine which traits are determined by sex, regardless of time and culture. This new policy of erasing these advances is a step backwards for science and women. she was quoted as saying.
She added that « Sexing skeletal remains is a critical forensic skill and any decrease in this skill will negatively impact criminal investigations, depriving victims and their families of justice. »
« It’s just another attempt to insert a current woke ideology where it doesn’t belong, » Weiss concluded.