One of the professors involved in the study of transgender athletes was fired when he referred to biological males who identify as women as “males.”
Professor at King’s College London (KCL) Dr. John Armstrong requested permission to survey elite athletes and volunteers about their thoughts on trans-identified males competing in women’s track and field categories. He wanted to find out if they felt free to express their opinions.
Armstrong sees the rejection of his application by the university’s ethics council last month as an assault on his right to free speech on campus because of worries about diversity and equality.
The rejection letter said there was bias in the wording and very little scientific logic underlying the premise. It said the language is not sensitive and the misgendering of athletes is inappropriate.
Armstrong’s usage of the word “males” to refer to trans-identified males drew criticism from the university.
The panel expressed concern that some participants might be unhappy or distressed by the questions and requested that Armstrong “please contact the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion team to seek input on the wording used.”
Armstrong explained that he does not intend to misgender anyone by appropriately using male and female phrases.
There has been no significant effort on the part of the various federations to get feedback from athletes at all levels of competition.
He said that only allowing researchers to perform studies that meet activist demands and viewpoints defeats the purpose of the studies.
In response to questions about the quality of research conducted by faculty and students at King’s College London, a spokeswoman said that while they can’t comment on individual research applications, they are firmly committed to ensuring that the research conducted by their faculty and students is consistent of the highest quality and to the most rigorous standards.