Feminist social critic Camille Paglia doesn’t shy away from controversy. Despite regularly supporting leftist candidates and policies, Paglia often finds herself drawing the ire of liberals for her outspoken criticisms of individuals like Hillary Clinton.
In an interview with The Weekly Standard, Paglia broke another liberal taboo this week by saying parents and doctors who give transgender children puberty blockers are engaging in “a criminal violation of human rights.”
A number of articles have appeared in recent years detailing the experiences of parents whose children undergo hormone blocking therapy in order to stop the onset of puberty. Slowing these changes, the thinking goes, gives the child more time to think about whether he or she truly wants to transition and can make any feelings of gender dysmorphia milder. One doctor compared a child who blocks puberty as starting from “a blank slate.”
Paglia disagrees. Citing the fact that the “long term effects [of puberty blockers] are unknown,” she told TWS‘s Jonathan Last that the transgender fad is in part a marketing ploy by the pharmaceutical industry “in order to create a permanent class of customers who will need to take prescribed hormones for life.”
“It is certainly ironic how liberals who posture as defenders of science when it comes to global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence) flee all reference to biology when it comes to gender. Biology has been programmatically excluded from women’s studies and gender studies programs for almost 50 years now. Thus very few current gender studies professors and theorists, here and abroad, are intellectually or scientifically prepared to teach their subjects,” she said.
Even disputing the very possibility of gender reassignment surgery, Paglia told Last that “the cold biological truth is that sex changes are impossible. Every single cell of the human body remains coded with one’s birth gender for life.” That pronouncement, however, didn’t stop her from saying she describes herself as transgender.
Outside of the transgender debate, Paglia attacked the “reluctance or inability of Western liberals to candidly confront jihadism” and analyzed Donald Trump’s victory over Clinton as a consequence of how he was able to speak “to vital concerns (jobs, immigration, and terrorism among them), for which the Democrats had few concrete solutions.”
The interview was done in part to promote her new book “Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism,” a collection of essays on topics ranging from plastic surgery to free speech on university campuses.