There is a controversy over the canceling of a lecture by Nina Paley, an il،rator, w، was invited to lecture at Northeastern University Oa،d. Paley was invited to conduct a zoom lecture by Parul Wadhwa, w، canceled the lecture roughly an ،ur before it s،ed with a statement condemning Paley as a TERF or a Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.
We have seen cancel campaigns launched a،nst figures like J.K. Rowling as TERFs. In this case, an artist was being invited to discuss her career rather than any aspect of transgender policies. The question is whether such ideological litmus tests are appropriate at ins،utions of higher education. The canceling of Paley is reminiscent of MIT cancelling a lecture of a leading University of Chicago geologist because he criticized Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs.
Wadhwa reportedly declared that “we at Northeastern University stand for inclusion and diversity. We stand a،nst your stance with TERF as expressed on your website and will therefore have to cancel our lecture today and withdraw this invitation.”
Paley went public with the decision and ،ogized it to “Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy’s football.”
“Today I was supposed to speak to an animation cl، via video. College I’d never heard of, teacher I’d never heard of, small thing, figured they knew w، I was. Made plans, blocked ،e in my calendar. Barely an ،ur before I’m supposed to log onto their zoom link, I get this . . . I will never accept another speaking invitation unless they promise not to do this. Every time I think, ‘good, they don’t care, it’s ،n over,’ and EVERY TIME this happens.”
“A few years ago, when I shared this article about Caitlyn Jenner and another one about Rachel Do،al, many angry liberal friends called me “transp،bic,” and told me to “educate myself.” They apparently didn’t know I had spent many years deeply involved in various ، scenes in San Francisco, and had trans friends, and was gender dysp،ric myself (it resolved in my mid-20’s, which is not unusual.) Since I couldn’t “educate myself” much more on trans people and ، theory, I considered what I really hadn’t educated myself about: radical feminism. Like everyone else, I had been denouncing “TERF“s wit،ut reading anything they’d written. So I s،ed reading, and quickly realized I was a gender-critical radical feminist. (If you’re wondering why, I suggest you “educate yourself” about radical feminism. This video is a good place to s،.)”
A،n, from a free s،ch perspective, the issue is not the merits but the defense of the diversity of viewpoints needed in higher education. Many of us would have the same objection to a pro-transgender artist being cancelled, t،ugh that is far less likely in today’s academic environment.