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A U.K. university professor says she was deplatformed by the Canadian government over her views on transgender issues.

University College London sociology professor Alice Sullivan had been scheduled to give an online presentation to staff at the Canadian Department of Justice on International Women’s Day last Friday. 

Her talk was to be about data collection on sex, which is biological, versus gender, which isn’t.

Canada now collects self-reported, gender-based data by “default,” after it became the first country to collect and publish official data on gender identity through its national census several years ago.

Sullivan takes issue with this approach and planned to raise that in her remarks.

“In Canada, government data collection defaults to ‘gender’ instead of sex,” Sullivan told the Telegraph. “My talk would have discussed the value of collecting data on both, rather than avoiding data collection on sex.”

Sullivan was booked to speak to Department of Justice staff, but after reviewing the presentation she planned to give, Sullivan says she was uninvited.

“After I had sent my slides, I received a phone call from a member of the department saying that she had been told to cancel the event,” Sullivan said.

No formal explanation was given. 

“She was not authorized to give me any explanation but indicated that, of course, we both knew what the reason was… you are not allowed to talk about sex in Canada.”

In a statement to True North, a spokesperson for the department said the “employee-organized event” was “cancelled in favour of promoting an event offered by the Canada School of Public Service, a school that offers training and events for public servants.”

“This event aligned more closely with the theme of the International Women’s Day 2024 – Investing in Women and Accelerating Progress,” the spokesperson said. “Notice of the cancellation was given to Dr. Sullivan well in advance of the employee event: more than two weeks prior to the original event date.”

According to a 2018 report released by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Department of Justice, “departments and agencies should collect or display gender information by default, unless sex information is specifically needed.”

The departments believe that collecting data in that manner would “ensure that the gender of transgender, non-binary and two-spirit individuals is accurately represented.”

Roughly 59,000 Canadians said they were transgender with another 41,300 who responded that they were non-binary.

Since 2022, all government departments and agencies have been mandated to ask people for their gender instead of their sex as a matter of official policy.

Within the scientific community, a fierce debate wages on about how data should be collected, particularly when conflating gender identity and biological sex in conducting research. 

Sullivan, who is an expert in data on sex and gender identity, has voiced her discontent with academics being deplatformed over their analysis of transgender issues.

She was appointed to lead an official review of data on sex and gender by the UK’s Department of Science, Innovation and Technology last month, making her cancelled talk with the Canadian government all the more perplexing.

“Surely they should want to open up the conversation,” said Sullivan. “Clearly, there are some people in the Department of Justice who want to do that, or I wouldn’t have been invited in the first place, but they have been shut down.”