Category Archives: Sex and gender

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of UVa’s Transgender Movement

by James A. Bacon

I learned a lot about transgender activists and advocates at the Abigail Shrier event at the University of Virginia last night. Some are bitter, angry people who hurl non-stop invective. Some are close-minded but willing to engage in rational conversation. But at least one is courteous, friendly and willing to engage in a thoughtful, one-on-one exchange. I look forward to having lunch with her next week.

Shrier, the author of “”Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” was herself polite, charming and attentive. Even as more than 100 protesters were chanting and demonstrating outside Minor Hall, she remained unflappable¬†inside the auditorium under questioning that ranged from skeptical to hostile.

Shrier is the object of venom in the transgender community because her book dared to ask questions that many do not want to be asked. While acknowledging the gender dysphoria is real and those who suffer from it deserve compassion, she argues that much of the transgender “craze” is a social contagion mainly affecting teenage girls, that “affirmative” treatment such as testosterone shots and top surgery are fraught with ill-understood risks and dangers, and that a legion of affirming educators, counselors, and even medical doctors have abandoned science in favor of ideology. She elaborated on those themes in a Q&A session hosted by the Jefferson Council in partnership with the Young Americans for Freedom and the Common Sense Society. Continue reading

Probing UVa’s Gender Gap: Is It an Admissions Problem?

First-time, first-year applicants, offers and yields by gender, 2016-2021. Click for more legible image.

by James A. Bacon

As highlighted in our last post, the University of Virginia admits significantly more women than men. The split in the undergraduate student body is roughly 54/46. My aim in pointing out the disparity was not, as some readers presumed, to argue for special preferences for men; admission to UVa should be based on merit. I was exploring the question of whether the goal of achieving “equity” (whether defined as equal “outcomes” or equal “opportunity”) applies to all under-represented groups, including men, or just to so-called “marginalized” groups favored by progressive ideology.

Having documented that males are comparable to females in academic aptitude, at least among those who take the SATs, I suggested that some other factor might account for the disparity in their numbers at UVa. One possibility is that more women than men apply to UVa. All other things being equal, one would expect more women to be admitted if more women applied. Another possibility, which I raised in a previous post, is that UVa is suffused with subtle but systemic anti-male bias.

In this post, we’ll examine the role of the admissions process. I will delve into the issue of campus culture in a future post. Continue reading