The Representative Disapproves

Representative Jackie Speier (CA, 14th District) has taken Science Magazine to task (PDF of full letter here) for their controversial cover and controversial response to criticism of that cover.

The July ll issue of Science Magazine featured a lurid cover photograph of transgender women in tight dresses and high heels with their heads cropped out of the frame.

She rightfully questions not only the choice, which dehumanizes transgender individuals and works against making science a welcoming environment for diverse individuals, but the perspectives of the senior editorial staff of Science Magazine, who failed to exercise reasonable judgment on this cover choice.

I appreciate the apology from Science ’s editor-in-chíef, but question how such a sexist, racist, and transphobic cover was selected in the first place.

The fact that the poobahs at Science Magazine seemed surprised by the response implies quite a few unpleasant things about the decision-making process. She also extends responsibility to Science Magazine‘s parent organization, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Importantly, Representative Speier has not simply registered a complaint. She has demanded a substantive response, which I suspect Science Magazine will be more likely to act on than any letters I send.

As one of the nation’s preeminent science organizations, I expect you will take action to eradicate harassment and inequality in the scientific community. Please reply with the specific steps you will take to become part of the solution, instead of a contributor to the problem.

It also has footnotes.

Author: Josh Witten

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