Academia has become the battleground for complex discussions on gender identity, inclusivity, and the rise of far-right ideologies. A survey conducted by researchers from Oregon State University brought these issues to the forefront, as it received a significant number of provocative and seemingly malicious responses from engineering and computer science students. Here’s the full story.
The Survey to Understand Transgender Students
The survey, aimed at understanding the experiences of transgender and gender-nonconforming undergraduate students in STEM fields, raised eyebrows when a considerable portion of the responses veered away from the intended focus.
Several Students Identified as “Apache Attack Helicopters”
The researchers claimed that these responses, including self-identifications as “Apache attack helicopters” and other unconventional gender and racial categories, were indicative of a growing far-right movement in the United States.
Researchers reported that among the 723 responses they received, 50 were deemed “malicious.”
Many Identified as Types of Aircraft
These responses included identifications as airplanes, “V-22 Osprey,” “F-16 fighter jet,” and even a “cisgender lizard king.”
Some Students Went Too Far
Some students wrote more detailed responses such as “queercopter with a hint of drag lesbian and homosexual upside-down Frappuccino cake,” and “on-cookie-cutter cis-furry dragonkin. Don’t judge.”
Can’t Be Bothered
One student also wrote, “I really can’t be bothered at this point.”
A Dark Mockery
The idea of identifying as an ‘attack helicopter’ originated as a mocking gesture against transgender individuals and those outside the gender binary, contributing to its contentious nature.
Researchers Shared Their Views
The researchers argued that the ‘malicious’ responses to the survey were a manifestation of far-right ideologies infiltrating academic spaces.
Characteristics Commonly Associated With Fascist Political Movements
They contended that such responses reflected characteristics commonly associated with fascist political movements, citing the fusion of anti-Semitic, anti-Black, anti-feminist rhetoric, and trans-antagonistic commentary.
They Had More to Say
They even went so far as to connect these responses to broader fascist base-building in the United States, where marginalized groups, including Trans individuals and student activists, are frequently targeted.
“I Want to See a Survey of Democrats”
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “Communists want to take control of language…don’t let them. I want to see a survey of Democrats of their identity: Communist, Fascist, Socialist, Leftist or Progressive NaziCommie.”
Their True Identity
Another user wrote, “How dare these academics deny these people their true identity.”
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