Johns Hopkins University faced widespread online ridicule for its definition of “lesbian,” prompting the removal of the controversial definition from its LGBTQ glossary.
However, the university’s website still promotes progressive transgender language.
The LGBTQ glossary initially defined a lesbian as “a non-male attracted to non-men.”
The updated definition aimed to include non-binary individuals identifying with the label, whereas the previous definition referred to women attracted to other women.
Following the backlash, the entire glossary was taken down for review.
However, the university’s website provides resources advocating gender-neutral language and transgender inclusivity.
Under the “Diversity & Inclusion” section of the website, there is a “Gender & Sexuality Resources” page.
This page includes an “Introduction to Transgender Identities” section, which features a segment called “Practicing Inclusion.”
This section emphasizes that one should not inquire about a transgender person’s pre-transition identity.
Instead, individuals are urged to use the current name and pronouns of the person. An example illustrates this point, emphasizing respecting individuals’ gender identity.
The “Practicing Inclusion” section also offers resources on de-gender different languages. It addresses the issue of grammatical gender in specific languages and links to resources that propose gender-neutral terms in languages like Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and French.
Furthermore, the “Values” section of the Gender & Sexuality Resources page acknowledges the university’s commitment to resisting various intersecting systems of oppression, including ableism, antisemitism, classism, colonization, colorism, ethnocentrism, fatphobia, islamophobia, racism, white supremacy, and xenophobia.
Conservative commentators and critics of gender ideology seized upon the controversy surrounding the definition of “lesbian.”
Commentators like Ben Shapiro and J.K. Rowling expressed their criticisms, highlighting what they perceived as absurdity and erasure of women within the definition.
In response to the criticism, Johns Hopkins University removed the glossary and issued a statement explaining that it examines the definition’s origin and context.
In recent years, transgender activists have faced criticism for redefining the concept of females based on male references and allowing access to women’s spaces, with critics arguing that this erodes women’s rights and visibility.