New ‘New Atheist’ Cry: There Is No Trans

Yes, Dawkins did fall down the transphobia rabbit hole. QED.

Tucker Lieberman
11 min readNov 12, 2023

--

empty, hatched eggshell lying in the grass
Cracked egg by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

Richard Dawkins, a biologist famous for his book The Selfish Gene (1976) and for his later collaboration with the New Atheists, made a transphobic tweet in April 2021. Consequently, the American Humanist Association revoked an award it had given him 25 years earlier. One might imagine there were other reasons; in any case, this bad tweet was the last straw.

As Dawkins has a large following of admirers, this event generated debate over whether what he’d said was actually transphobic, and if so, why.

This Was Exhausting

I was personally affected by this.

No, not because I’m a snowflake and the tweet made me melt. There are millions of transphobic tweets every day, and I rarely take them to heart.

The reason this particular incident hit home for me is that I had, a couple years earlier, made a large effort to network in-person with an international group of humanists and atheists. I had assumed that a secular group would be trans-inclusive or at least not outright transphobic. It hadn’t occurred to me to gauge the community sentiment.

Upon Dawkins’s tweet and the subsequent debate over the revocation of his award…

--

--

Tucker Lieberman

Editor for Prism & Pen. Author of the novel "Most Famous Short Film of All Time." https://tuckerlieberman.com/