Petition to Hold Donna M. Hughes Accountable for Transphobic and Anti-Asian Articles.
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Recently, URI Women’s Studies Professor Donna M. Hughes has published some very controversial and shocking articles discussing views that imply transphobia, anti-Asian racism, and an overall non-inclusive perspective of feminism.
We are pleased that a statement was delivered promptly, but, disappointed and shocked that URI didn't release the statement to everyone's URI emails or post on social media about it as they have done for previous statements. We only heard about this situation through our peers and other professors. Many other peers have expressed that they did not know about this situation either and are also upset by it (and are upset by the fact that it is almost hidden from URI students). To our understanding, there was also a community forum a few days ago that neither we nor our peers have heard of, which we would've gone to if we had heard about it as well!
We still recognize our privilege of being cisgender women and want to stress that by starting this petition, it is not in our intentions to speak for/over transgender and non-binary/genderqueer voices at all. But as intersectional feminists, we believe it is imperative that we hold Professor Donna M. Hughes accountable for her transphobic words. They are demeaning and harmful and literally invalidate those of the trans and non-binary communities. In her biased and apathetic cisgender perspective, she has contributed to severely and devastatingly discriminatory views. We believe that it's not enough to just release a somewhat awkward and hard-to-find statement. Us, and others, believe real disciplinary action needs to be considered.
We would also like to note that she produced not only an article upsetting those who are not a part of the heteronormative gender identity, but she also produced a second, extremely insensitive article called “The Atlanta Spa Murders Were Motivated By Sex Not Race.” Her article exhibits anti-Asian racism that dismisses the literal fact that the killer had a fetish for Asian women and targeted them based on that obsession. Yes, he was sexually attracted to women but it is the fact that they were Asian women that they were murdered. She, in her biased and apathetic white perspective, does not understand that, and has contributed to more severely and devastatingly discriminatory views. Violence against women is undoubtedly a major issue that we applaud her for researching, but not when it comes to the expense of Asian and trans/genderqueer folks. With anti-Asian violence spiking more than ever and URI's statement on it released a few days ago, we feel that along with her anti-transgender comments, her anti-Asian comments need to be talked about as well in the statement regarding Professor Donna M. Hughes.
We are encouraging URI to take disciplinary action. Being a professor/endowed chair of the Women's Studies Department and calling herself a feminist, yet still having these irrational views and deciding, even while having the impactful position of an educator, to post articles about these views shows a lacking in the concept of intersectionality, which is at the core of Gender & Women Studies. We implore URI to go beyond a statement and take overall impactful action for its students and to go beyond its claim to being a welcoming and safe place for it's BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students.
Angelina Gassaway (she/they) and Catherine Brosnahan (she/her)
(CW: anti-Asian racism)
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