Has Sweden proved Jordan B. Peterson right on gender? Refusal to use neutral pronoun constitutes discrimination, government authority rules – teacher dismissed

“Deliberative failure” to use the preferred gender pronoun for persons identifying as “nonbinary” now amounts to discrimination in Sweden, following a ruling by a government authority. The ruling was preceded by the enactment of a law similar to the contested Canadian Bill C-16 adding “trans gender identity or expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination. The authority’s decision confirms Jordan Peterson’s caution, dismissed as “alarmist” by his critics, that the law risks making the use of gender-neutral pronouns compelled speech.

– The deliberate failure of a teacher to use the pronoun with which a student identifies, against the student’s expressed wishes, is a serious form of harassment, a spokesperson declared in the press announcement of a ruling by the Discrimination Ombudsman (DO), an authority under the Swedish government.

– In schools, all students should feel safe and respected and should not be subjected to discrimination. It is particularly important that teachers demonstrate and communicate these values, the spokesperson added.

The DO’s ruling, which was preceded by the adoption of “trans gender identity or expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Swedish Discrimination Act, has been contested by the Swedish watchdog Academic Rights Watch.

– The decision confirms Jordan B. Peterson’s caution, dismissed as “alarmist” by some of his critics, that this sort of discrimination law eventually makes the use of gender-neutral pronouns compelled speech, Academic Rights Watch Chairman Erik J. Olsson says.

Because of his view, Peterson has been accused of “spreading misinformation and hysteria among people who are unaware of the law and are contributing towards a transphobic discourse.”

Concerning the case of the teacher, the DO writes on its homepage (our translations throughout):

When a student who identifies as non-binary started at the school, the student’s guardian [formerly called ‘parent’, our remark] informed a teacher and a teaching assistant that the student’s pronoun is ‘hen’ [the Swedish gender-neutral pronoun, our remark]. The teacher stated that she cannot use the word ‘hen’ in speech. The guardians informed the school principal of the student’s gender identity and the teacher’s position on addressing the student by the preferred pronoun. Despite the Rector’s promise to speak to the teacher, the student continued to be referred to by the wrong pronoun for more than a semester.

The school conceded to the DO that the student had been discriminated against and “that the situation had gone on for far too long”. The DO now requests that the school pay the student 150,000 SEK (15,000 USD) in discrimination compensation. If school refuses, the DO intends to file a writ of summons with the district court.

The teacher, a devoted Christian, chose to go public with her story in a Youtube video:

– School staff have great power to encourage children that you can be a boy if you feel like it, and a girl if you feel like it, even if you don’t have that biology. And I’m afraid that my daughter is being indoctrinated into that so that one day she’ll say to me: ‘Mom, I feel like a boy. I want to take medicine and have my breasts removed’.

– Another important thing that prompts me to talk about this is that I believe that this is what God wants from me. I am a Christian who believes in the Bible. I believe that God wants me to fight for these innocent children.

The teacher says, moreover, that it was the boy’s mother who approached her with the request that the child be referred to by the Swedish gender-neutral pronoun. She declined but later suggested a compromise where she would use the child’s name instead of some pronoun. However, the mother and the school management did not accept this proposal. The teacher was given the opportunity to change her mind in order to keep her job. When she refused, she was dismissed.

In their complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman (JO), Academic Rights Watch alleges that legally compelled use of neutral gender-pronouns for persons identifying as nonbinary violates the second chapter of the Swedish constitution, which prohibits the state from forcing its citizens to participate in political or religious expression of opinion.

– This particular use of the Swedish gender-neutral pronoun is the result of deliberate feminist speech politics, one goals of which is to question sex as an essentially binary affair. The use therefore expresses endorsement of a particular political and religious position on sex and gender which makes enforcing it unconstitutional, says Erik J. Olsson at Academic Rights Watch.

The complaint is currently under investigation.

◂Did you like this? Please become a Patreon!▸

The astronomy affair that shocked Swedish science Part 2: investigation of professors’ “harassment” violated constitution

Academic Rights Watch comments on a further complaint against two prominent Lund University professors of astronomy, which raises serious questions about the investigators’ own role. The investigation is used by the investigators, to restrict freedom of speech in violation of the Swedish constitution. An inaccurate article in Nature spread on Twitter by the former complainant then leads to a social media campaign against the professors.

Continue reading

The astronomy affair that shocked Swedish science Part 1: “fact-based investigation” became extrajudicial show trial

Academic Rights Watch is stunned by an investigation into alleged abuses at the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics in Lund, where two prominent professors are accused by a co-worker of this and that, and where a shoddy investigation leads to their reputations being destroyed forever after an article in Nature. The post is the first in an ARW series about the affair.

Continue reading

Lecture on academic freedom and free speech censored at top Spanish IAC research institute: “totally inappropriate”

In an invited lecture at the IAC on Tenerife, Swedish philosopher Erik J. Olsson identified the replacement of traditional academic values with an excessive focus on equality and other soft values as a major threat to academic freedom. However, shortly after the appearance of the recorded talk on Youtube, the IAC seminar board decided to take it down for “preventive” reasons following concerns about its incompatibility with own IAC’s equality policies (!). In a final decision, the IAC Director confirmed the measure of “cancelling the distribution of and access to the presentation through [IAC’s] own media”.

Continue reading

New study finds: government introduction of gender regime at Swedish universities caused multiple violations of academic freedom

A new journal article finds that the introduction of so-called gender mainstreaming at Swedish universities led to multiple violations of academic freedom. In addition, it may have increased an already existing bias against men’s research merits when hiring for the rank of professor, the study concludes.

Continue reading

ARW supports new initiative: book project on diversity, inclusion, equity and the threat to academic freedom – contributions welcome

Academics are increasingly fearful of speaking out against intolerant political ideology. Coordinated action is needed to counter the threats to academic freedom driven by extreme policies of diversity, inclusion and equity. To this end, scholars are now collecting contributions from academics around the world to illustrate their experiences of these problem.

Continue reading

New Swedish study: merits of recently appointed female professors massively overvalued

On the popular view, there are fewer female than male professors because women’s qualifications weigh lighter than men’s. Yet, according to a striking new study from Umeå University in Sweden the situation is very much the opposite: in the period 2009-2014, new male professors in medicine had 64 percent more publications and no less than 260 percent more citations than new female professors. The study was rejected by five journals without refereeing for being considered, among other things, “inappropriate”, until it was finally published after peer-review in the journal Studies in Higher Education.

Continue reading

Swedish professor lifted from course: gave psychologists to-be “panic anxiety”

Bringing up sensitive themes in order to challenge inherent notions and values in preparation for work as a psychologist seems no longer possible at Lund University. Dr. Johan Grant learned this when he was removed from teaching a course as a result of complaints from several female students who felt offended by the tuition, some reacting with depression and anxiety. In an unusual move, Grant has reported himself for “harrassment or discrimination against students” in order to spark an investigation into the leadership’s handling of the case.

Continue reading

Hyperfeminine Culture the Greatest Threat to Academic Freedom in Sweden

According to leading sociological research, Sweden is likely the most feminine country in the world. In the past, universities have been male-dominated, but with increased female participation we now witness a far-reaching feminization of the culture at f higher education institutions. Academic Rights Watch’s Erik J. Olsson explains why this development is now the most urgent threat to academic freedom in Sweden.

Continue reading

Internal documents: Swedish technical university cancels positions if male applicant found most competent

As a male candidate you are welcome to apply for a position as Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University. However, internal documents tell another story: the faculty only provides the necessary funding for the position if a woman is to receive it. If a male applicant is about to get the position, the appointment is canceled. Then the department can make a new attempt to get a woman by advertising a new position, and so on. One of the faculty’s researchers has reported the obviously discriminatory scheme to the Equality Ombudsman, who is now investigating the case.

Continue reading

PC in Academia: Why Chicago Statement for Free Speech on Campus may be US’s Next Export to Sweden

Swedish academic watchdog Academic Rights Watch has documented many cases where teachers’ and students’ right to freedom of speech has been questioned by university managements and others, which has led to severe conflicts and has probably had a chilling effect on the discussion climate. We now urge all Swedish colleges, universities, student organizations, trade unions and other bodies linked to higher education to adopt the so-called Chicago Statement for maximum freedom of expression on campus.

Continue reading

Male applicants excluded from professorship at Stockholm University for Arts, Crafts and Design: their art “Old Time Machoism”

Academic Rights Watch marvels at a recent expert opinion from The University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm where male applicants for a professorship in Visual Communication are marginalized as a group because their art is considered masculine. We caution that the requirements of norm criticism and norm creativity on the part of the holder of the professorship in practice discriminate against men.

Continue reading

Sweden’s Academic Rights Watch supports Boghossian in the Grievance Studies affair: “allegations obviously without basis”

Sweden’s prominent academic watchdog now joins leading academics in supporting Dr Peter Boghossian following Portland State University’s decision to open an investigation into research misconduct relating to the so-called Grievance Studies Affair. Boghossian and his colleagues submitted several hoax papers that successfully exposed weaknesses in the refereeing and publication practices of a number of journals focusing on race, gender, fat and sexuality studies.

Continue reading

US professor uninvited from Swedish pedagogy conference: non-egalitarian conclusions from IQ studies “in violation of ethical standard”

Concluding, based on empirical findings, that there are differences in intelligence between individuals and groups is not permissible in educational research in Sweden, a country known for its egalitarian policies. Distinguished American professor Linda Gottfredson was originally invited to give a keynote lecture at a pedagogy conference in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. Yet, before the conference was about to take place in October this year, she received the message that she had been “uninvited” following protests from other researchers arguing that Gottfredson’s non-egalitarian conclusions contradict the organizer’s ethical standard.

Continue reading

Sweden gets own Jordan B. Peterson: Professor refuses to comply with medical school demanding “correct” gender terminology in teaching

In order to prevent students from feeling discriminated the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University has decided to introduce a long list of gender controls in its education programme for the medical profession. One requirement states that teachers must use the “correct” gender terminology. These actions follow a student criticizing renowned professor Germund Hesslow’s course on biological sex differences for conflicting with the university’s discrimination and equal treatment policies. Hesslow has refused to comply with the new speech regulations, making his case parallel to the conflict between Jordan B. Peterson and Canada.

Continue reading