Richard Dawkins Is Stuck With a Transphobic Podcast

Indulge transphobia long enough, and it becomes part of who you are

Tucker Lieberman
9 min readNov 12, 2023

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On June 26, 2023, Richard Dawkins posted the inaugural episode of The Poetry of Reality. Then he released an episode with Helen Joyce on July 29 (entirely devoted to being transphobic) and an episode with Peter Boghossian on August 5 (mostly devoted to being transphobic).

Can he recover from it? No. This is what the podcast is now.

The Audience Calls in Asking for More Transphobia

The August 12 Q&A episode, “Aliens, God, Transgenderism, Science and more,” is mostly not devoted to being transphobic. At least, not until Taryn Southern reads an audience question: “Can a woman become a man or a man become a woman?”

Dawkins answers:

“No. Simple answer. Of course not. This is one of the big political hot potatoes of the day. There are plenty of people who suffer— Not plenty, there are a few people who suffer from what’s called gender dysphoria, where they feel they’ve been born into the wrong body. I’ve read books by people that have convinced me that this is a real condition, a real psychological condition, and so one has to be sympathetic to such people. And if they prefer to be called by a female name—if they start male and want to be called a female name, or vice versa— one should honor that and respect that. But that doesn’t mean they really have become the other sex.” (42:05–54)

He continues:

“You can change gender, where gender is a kind of fictive sex, the sex that you feel that you are…That’s another matter. That’s a psychological question, and I’m a biologist, and I answer as a biologist.” (43:48–55, 44:02–07)

He also says:

“I’ve read, long ago, the book Conundrum, by Jan Morris…I was pretty convinced by her feeling of unease that she was born into the wrong body and she, as it were, she showed her credentials by going through a horrendous series of operations and hormone treatments and things, so she really meant it. I have rather less time for people who, it looks as though they want to break female swimming records…to just stand up and announce ‘I am…

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Tucker Lieberman

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