Don’t Even Think About It

An Idaho professor’s inquiry into transgender theory sparks a furious backlash.

A Boise State University professor’s recent essay exploring the intellectual history of the meaning of gender has roiled the campus, with claims by administration officials that the article represents “the root of genocide.”

Scott Yenor, a professor of political science, wrote the essay for the Heritage Foundation website; it traces the development of contemporary transgender theory to the seminal early-feminist work The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir. Yenor demonstrates that a key premise of transgender discourse—the disassociation of biological sex from gender identity—is rooted in Beauvoir’s effort to show that femininity is not a biological fact but is imposed by society. He traces the development of this idea through first- and second-wave feminist thought, culminating in today’s radical claims that small children should be allowed to choose their gender identity and even receive hormone therapy, and that everyone should be free to use the bathroom or locker room that suits his or her identity.