A university is refusing to allow a counselor who specializes in transgender mental health to study transgender people who regret having a sex change because the school says the study isn’t politically correct.
James Caspian, a U.K. psychotherapist seeking to write a master thesis on transgenders who transition back to their birth gender at the U.K.’s Bath Spa University, explained that he thought it was important to study people who had transitioned and then changed their minds after receiving sex-reassignment surgery because no research has been conducted on this group of people.
“I was astonished at that decision,” Caspian told BBC News and said the university is violating intellectual freedom of enquiry by preventing him from conducting his study. “I think that a university exists to encourage discussion, research – dissent even, challenging perhaps ideas that are out of date or not particularly useful,” he said. Caspian noted that he had a hard time finding transgenders who were willing to participate in the study. “They said they felt too traumatised to talk about it, which made me think we really need to do the research even more,” he added.
The university originally accepted his proposal but changed its mind after they decided it wasn’t politically correct. Caspian even amended his proposal to include transgenders who were not reversing their surgeries but simply choosing to live according to their birth gender. But the university still rejected his study, saying that “engaging in a potentially politically incorrect piece of research carries a risk to the university” according to The Times. Caspian said that the university added it would be better not to offend people.
“People have been launching studies that undercut transgender people’s access to surgery for decades now,” transgender activist Riki Wilchins who agrees with the university’s rejection of the proposal told Radio 4.
Caspian — who is also a member of World Professional Association for Transgender Health — maintains that his research is in no way meant to attack the transgender community but is instead an effort to both help them and to gain more knowledge about a group of people on which current information is lacking.
“The whole field has completely changed over the last few years,” he said. “The idea that we might use the information from the research I was going to do in a way that wouldn’t help people is completely wrong.”
Bath Spa University did not reply to the DCNF’s request for comment in time for publication.
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