Ethics dating former student
As one academic wrote to me in a private message, “sorry I’m not saying this publicly (I have no interest in battling the mean girls on Facebook) but fwiw it’s totally obvious to me that you haven’t been committing acts of violence against marginalized scholars.” Later, this same scholar wrote, again in private, saying Tuvel’s article is “a tight piece of philosophy” that makes clear that the position that “transgender is totally legit, [and] transracial is not—can only be justified using convoluted essentialist metaphysics.
I will write to her privately and tell her so.” Others went further and supported Tuvel in private while actually attacking her in public.
And its author was called “transphobic,” “racist,” “crazy,” “stupid,” and worse.
Many were (and still are) calling for a retraction of the article and an apology from Tuvel.
Some scholars associated with the journal posted condemnations of the article and issued apologies for it.
Eventually, a group of associate editors, spearheaded by Cressida Heyes, whose work is criticized in the article, published an official condemnation of the piece indicating that the journal had made a mistake in publishing it, which of course, just makes the journal look bad.
The question is, why did so many scholars, especially feminists, express one sentiment behind closed doors and another out in the open?
In fact, if an essay that openly supports trans identity does violence, and defense of open debate causes PTSD, then by which name should we call the physical violence inflicted on trans people and others daily?
What of the PTSD caused by domestic violence, rape, and hate crimes?
To put it all too simply, in her article, Tuvel claimed that the very public cases of Rachel Dolezal’s transracial transition and Caitlyn Jenner’s transgender transition operate according to a similar logic when it comes to thinking about identity and identity politics.
Tuvel argued in favor of both transgender and transracial identities, as well as for a more fluid conception of identity more generally.
Some who in private were sympathetic to Tuvel, felt compelled to join in the attacking mob. Both Tuvel and the journal were under pressure to retract the article and apologize.