Richard Dawkins signs declaration opposing gender reassignment surgeries, puberty blockers for kids

Well-known atheist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins speaks to supporters during the 'Rock Beyond Belief' festival at Fort Bragg Army Base in North Carolina, March 31, 2012.
Well-known atheist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins speaks to supporters during the "Rock Beyond Belief" festival at Fort Bragg Army Base in North Carolina, March 31, 2012. | (Photo: Reuters/Chris Keane)

Noted biologist and secular humanist Richard Dawkins has urged followers to back a statement decrying the gender identity movement and the use of puberty blockers on children through his widely followed Twitter account.

The author of The God Delusion posted a series of tweets to his account this week, including a link to the “Declaration on Women’s Sex-based Rights,” a document he said he had signed.

According to its website, the declaration “challenges the discrimination we experience from the replacement of the category of sex with that of ‘gender identity.’” The declaration was organized by the United Kingdom-based Women’s Human Rights Campaign, which describes itself as a “group of volunteer women from across the globe dedicated to protecting women’s sex-based rights.”

The declaration opposes the performing of gender reassignment surgery or usage of puberty blockers on children and laws that define the term “mother” to include someone who is not biologically female. The declaration expresses support for rights based on sexual orientation.

"The concept of ‘gender identity’ is increasingly used to ‘gender reassign’ children who do not conform to sex stereotypes, or who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria," the declaration reads. "Medical interventions that carry a high risk of long-term adverse consequences on the physical or psychological health of a child, such as the use of puberty suppressing hormones, cross-sex hormones, and surgery, are used on children who are not developmentally competent to give full, free and informed consent."

The document also voices displeasure with the replacing of "references to the category of sex ... with the language of gender" in "United Nations documents, strategies, and actions." The declaration contends that such changes have "led to confusion which ultimately risks undermining the protection of women’s human rights."

“The confusion between sex and ‘gender’ has contributed to the increasing acceptability of the idea of innate ‘gender identities’, and has led to the promotion of a right to the protection of such’ identities’, ultimately leading to the erosion of the gains made by women over decades," the declaration maintains. 

The declaration has been signed by over 26,000 people in over 153 countries, the Women's Human Rights Campaign claims. 

In his tweets this week, Dawkins expressed support for Kathleen Stock, a British philosophy professor who recently resigned from the University of Sussex following protests over her critical views of gender identity.

“I didn’t know of #KathleenStock until her tar-&-feathering prompted me (among many, as sales figures show) to read Material Girls. So far excellent. Refreshingly sensible,” tweeted Dawkins on Sunday about Stock’s book.

“Kathleen Stock is wonderfully sensible. If her arguments seem laboured, it’s because she’s daily surrounded by obscurantist logomachists,” Dawkins added in a tweet posted Wednesday.

“They, sadly, are paid to harangue students who feel obliged to take them seriously. Dear students, please refresh your minds with science.”

In April, Dawkins garnered controversy for posting a tweet that compared trans-identified individuals to Rachel Dolezal, a white former NAACP chapter leader who made headlines in 2015 for publicly identifying as black.

In response to the Dolezal comparison, the American Humanist Association withdrew its Humanist of the Year Award awarded to Dawkins in 1996.

“Dawkins has over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalized groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values,” stated the AHA.

“His latest statement implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient. His subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity.”

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