Natural Science

published : 2023-09-29

Conference Cancels Panel on Biological Sex in Human Skeletons Over Transphobia Fears

Anthropologists examine the field of anthropology and the dismissal of biological sex

Anthropologist examining a human skeleton in a lab, taken with Nikon D850

Anthropologists from leading associations canceled an event discussing the importance of biological sex in studying the human skeleton.

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) and The Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) faced criticism for retracting their approval for the panel.

The event aimed to examine sex identification using the skeleton, a crucial aspect of bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology.

Elizabeth Weiss, an anthropology professor, expressed concern about activists taking over the field and disregarding scientific facts.

Elizabeth Weiss delivering a keynote speech at an anthropology conference, taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Weiss shared that as anthropologists develop better methods to determine sex through skeletons, they face increased backlash for their expertise.

The AAA and CASCA explained that the session was canceled due to transphobia concerns and to prevent harm to vulnerable community members.

Those slated to speak at the event wrote a letter criticizing the decision, calling it an 'anti-science response' and a betrayal of scholarly controversy.

The AAA argued that there is no single biological standard for sorting humans into a binary male/female classification and compared 'gender critical' scholarship to past 'race science'.

Group of anthropologists discussing biological sex in anthropology, taken with Sony Alpha A7III

Weiss noted that activists are attempting to push their agendas onto anthropological narratives instead of seeking to understand different cultures.

By transforming the article into a coherent, captivating narrative, the aim is to engage readers and encourage them to consider the impact of dismissing biological sex in anthropology.