Friday, June 19, 2020

ASEEES-AATSEEL Statement on Romanian Gender Studies Law

Published June 19, 2020

The Romanian Parliament recently passed a bill that would make it a criminal act to differentiate between “gender” and “sex” in research and teaching in higher education. The bill defines gender studies as a form of “proselytism”. The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages strongly reject this definition of a core field of academic and scientific research and calls upon the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, to veto this bill. Misrepresenting a well-established field of research and knowledge as “opinions” is a disservice to learning and does nothing to enable us to better understand the human condition in all its aspects, inclusive of gender identities and relations. The author of the bill has gone on record to also identify his motivation with the issue of bathroom use by transpersons, describing his experience in the United States thusly: “Under the Obama administration the girls’ bathrooms and showers were invaded by boys who just claimed they were girls, felt like girls, but had male sexual organs. This aberration was corrected by the Trump administration.” The statement grossly misrepresents the reality and makes hurtful accusations with no basis in fact. We strongly reject this false representation of transpersons’ lives in the United States. Furthermore, there is no factual basis for these statements in relation to Romania’s trans community.

We stand as a community of scholars and teachers who are committed to studying and better understanding gender norms and relations in the past, present, and future.  Censorship has no place in academia.

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