- Sep 14, 2022
Considering the prevailing opinion on trans people right now is to distrust and dislike trans people, you can hardly say anyone has been conditioned to understand the nature of trans existence. If that were the case, I wouldn't have to constantly remind people on here...You have been conditioned to respond in that manner. Presuming fear is not a logical response and you have been trained to avoid thinking about why.
If that were the case we wouldn't have trans flags in embassies and on hundreds of different corporate products and part of our domestic and foreign policy.Considering the prevailing opinion on trans people right now is to distrust and dislike trans people, you can hardly say anyone has been conditioned to understand the nature of trans existence. If that were the case, I wouldn't have to constantly remind people on here...
Im still not clear on how the source of funding can direct or control research directions and/or outcomes. Is it that government funding doesn’t come with an agenda but private funding does? For example, are trans studies mostly funded by groups that want to exclude trans persons and/or prevent them from transitioning, so they continue to fund researchers who tend to get the results they are looking for while defunding others? Whereas government does not do that or just doesn’t fund such research at all?When I write post like that, I am genuinely trying to get people to think about the implications like the part that you are bringing up. And to have conversations.
I think you are taking away one key point. But I also think that TXM is on track that yes, sometimes the dynamics of modern science in practice really do lead to poor behavior. Often it is unconscious or well-intentioned. But sometimes (I personally think much more rarely, but it does happen) it is conscious and explicitly yoked to bad incentives in science. On the other hand, I still think science does more good than harm in the long run. The question for me is who gets hurt along the way.
I realized I want to boost the signal on one part of how the dynamics work in particular.
In general, I think that the issues of yoking salaries and science to paper units out and grant dollars in is one of the major challenges we have in how we practice science as a society. It would take a long time to share all the studies and arguments, so people are encouraged to think/look things up about the dilemmas***. The money dynamics have their pros and cons from a long-term perspective in terms of how much knowledge we gain in any area. Again, in general, we really do learn in that context (in my estimation). I just wish some aspects of it weren't so... weird and ugly.
I think your summary here is fair, but it made me realize I had an even stronger point. Within the modern university context is that researchers are treated like second class citizens from a structural perspective, and I would even be bold enough to say that is the case in general relative to the expansion of Administration (which I and others call "Big Admin"), which are generally also the highest paid people. Guess how many of their salary dollars come from grants they bring in? I won't be coy - it is exactly $0 in most cases. Guess how many of those salary dollars come from researchers like me who get the NIH or other agencies to sponsor "indirect" costs of running research? I actually cannot tell you because no one will really share the books, and they're complicated. There's a reason that NIH dollars are "preferred" by Big Admin at many major research universities. These are not my opinions. Much has been written about this escalation of Big Admin in universities. If you send kids to college, you should know that all of this is a nontrivial part of what you (or they) are paying for. I guess I am too if you count the grant dollars that I bring in. To be fair, many administrators are doing something that matters. But I assure you, many are not.
In that context, if researchers are second-class citizens, there are tiers of classes after that, with Adjuncts and Instructors being at the "bottom" (arguable depending on the institution's prestige, the students can be higher or lower than that depending on what Big Admin thinks you're bringing to the university. From there, you can imagine how transgendered studies are viewed in the traditional social dynamics and power hierarchies that still exist in research universities. Those dynamics are still very alive and well in many ways in our US universities. That has been well-studied, too. You should hear the stories I get from my non-white, non-male, non-Caucasian etc friends and colleagues.
From there, it is no surprise to me that not only do we not really know much at all about transgendered issues from a core scientific basis relative to what we could (like almost everything else), but we probably know even relatively less than we do in other areas of social or biological sciences. So my statement is not to generally say we know nothing, just that the deck is quite stacked against a sincere effort to dispassionately study it well in most contexts, much less the specific context this threat is about. That is why it really bothers me when people prop up their arguments on "science" without actually talking about science. That's also why I'm very interested in learning from different perspectives if they are in good faith, because I care about people. The clinical psychologist in me never really went away even though I mostly became something else. And it's important to acknowledge that these issues are much closer to home for some people than others.
Your grant-funded example says a lot using only a little. I hear you.
***By the way, I do think that people getting off their ass with a feeling that a fire that their bank accounts might dwindle can promote a form of progress. I just had a long day triaging issues on that front so I'm escaping for a few minutes to respond to you. Back to editing this mess of a paper.
So because some allies fly trans pride flags, what...that outweighs the 750+ bills introduced this year alone that are anti-LGBTQIA+ (most of which are anti-trans)? Or the talking heads at major events for SuperPACs where they openly call for the eradication of trans people? Or the massive amounts of airtime given by news outlets on both sides of the political divide, that present the opinions of people who believe trans people are a scourge?If that were the case we wouldn't have trans flags in embassies and on hundreds of different corporate products and part of our domestic and foreign policy.