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Scott Barry Kaufman vs. transgender people

Scott Barry Kaufman is an American psychologist who frequently platforms anti-transgender activists and people associated with the intellectual dark web, a gateway to the far right. Kaufman also platforms academics who promote evolutionary psychology, an ideology frequently opposed to value-neutral scientific conceptualizations of trans and gender diverse people.

Ever since a graduate thesis on the subject, Kaufman been invested in misusing science to maintain and justify sex categories and sex segregation, in the way that race science has been misused to maintain and justify racial categories and segregation. Academic sex segregationists have staked their careers and legacies on defending the few remaining sex-segregated institutions.

Kaufman objects to being listed on this site, saying, “I try every day to do good in the world and have never done anything damaging to trans people.”


Scott Barry Kaufman was born June 3, 1979 to Barbara Alpert (born ~1956), a professor of medicine, and Michael Stephen Kaufman (born ~1954), a lawyer specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Both parents went to Harvard and were from families of high social standing.

Kaufman earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University, followed by a master’s degree from Cambridge. Kaufman’s 2007 master’s thesis was titled “Sex differences in mental rotation and spatial visualization ability: Can they be accounted for by differences in working memory capacity?” Kaufman then earned a doctorate in cognitive psychology from Yale, with a research focus on intelligence.

After personally experiencing challenges in early formal education, much of Kaufman’s work involves helping children realize their full potential. Kaufman has authored, co-authored, edited, and contributed to several books for a lay audience:

  • The Psychology of Creative Writing (2009)
  • Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined (2013)
  • Mating Intelligence Unleashed: The Role of the Mind in Sex, Dating, and Love (2013)
  • The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice (2013)
  • The Philosophy of Creativity: New Essays (2014)
  • Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (2015)
  • Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties (2018)
  • Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization (2020)
  • Learned Hopefulness: The Power of Positivity to Overcome Depression (2020)
  • Choose Growth: A Workbook for Transcending Trauma, Fear, and Self-Doubt (2022)

The Psychology Podcast

Kaufman hosts The Psychology Podcast and has consistently platformed gender-critical and anti-transgender guests, including:

Guests involved in the intellectual dark web, “viewpoint diversity,” “academic freedom,” and “anti-woke” movements include:

In December 2022, Kaufman outlined agreement with anti-trans activist Jesse Singal about disagreements:

My friend @jessesingal convinced me that the following is probably true: “People look at someone’s behavior, and then, based on how much it outrages them, they decide whether to attribute it to personal shortcomings (their fault) or mental illness (not their fault).”

In 2022, Kaufman expressed an interest in a “debate” on trans issues and trans rights.

Who would you like to see have a respectful, healthy debate about trans issues and trans rights? I’d love some suggestions of reputable evidence-based experts who have differing viewpoints. I will moderate this on @psychpodcast. Thanks!

Kaufman (2022)

When I asked Kaufman to provide more details on which rights for trans people should be debated, Kaufman said, “I’m afraid I don’t have the time to respond to your questions. I am extremely busy.”

If a podcaster consistently platformed antisemitic guests then suddenly wanted to have a “respectful healthy debate on Jewish issues and Jewish rights,” Kaufman would probably have a few questions. It’s also interesting that none of Kaufman’s gender critical guests appeared with someone who had opposing views.

Psychology is one of the key ways the state exerts social control on trans people. Academic exploitation of sex and gender minorities is well documented. People like Kaufman perpetuate these oppressive systems, probably unintentionally. It’s what biologist Julia Serano calls “trans unaware” and “trans suspicious” thinking.

In 2023, Kaufman released a series of podcast episodes on sex and gender. The episode titles reflect Kaufman’s anti-trans bias. Episodes Kaufman calls “science” are by gender critical people who have similar conservative views.

Kaufman chose not to use science to describe the episode with noted biologist/geneticist Anne Fausto-Sterling, even though Fausto-Sterling is by far the most notable and accomplished scientist Kaufman interviewed. That’s because Fausto-Sterling’s views are informed by the latest in scientific understanding of sex and gender and not Kaufman’s own biased views.

Episode list

  • “What we get wrong about transgender people” with Aaron Rabinowitz and Callie Wright
    • a decent introductory discussion about minutiae that ignores larger systemic issues
  • “The Science of Testosterone” with activist Carole Hooven
    • covers many of Hooven’s areas of activism
    • sex-segregated sports
    • disease models of gender identity and expression
    • maintaining a sex binary “the opposite sex”
    • fearmongering about “irreversible” puberty blockers
    • desistance” narratives: most gender diverse youth will turn out gay without access to healthcare
    • gatekeeping narratives: social transition leads to medical transition (Kaufman quipped “pronouns are a gateway drug”)
    • ROGD” talking points: “lifetime of surgery and drugs and complications”
    • Hooven praises federal gatekeeping of reproductive healthcare: “United States is behind Europe”
  • “The Scientific Realities of Biological Sex” with gender critical psychologist Debra Soh, evolutionary psychologist Marco Del Giudice, and conservative trans porn star Buck Angel
  • “Gender/Sex and the Body” with biologist/geneticist Anne Fausto-Sterling
    • This is the only one worth listening to


Kaufman SB (2007). Sex differences in mental rotation and spatial visualization ability: Can they be accounted for by differences in working memory capacity? Intelligence

Holiday, Ryan (October 7, 2020). Scott Barry Kaufman – How to Use Psychology to Solve Real-World Problems. The Daily Stoic

Kaufman says this quote exemplifies the psychologist’s views on trans people:

You tweeted something this morning that caught me. You were talking about a study that was showing how hard it must be to be a transgender person because you walk through the world and the entire world has evolved to really only see two gender identities in this. So it’s like a millisecond in our evolutionary perspective. We just don’t quite have the ability to see them they way they see themselves.


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