Debra Soh, a 28-year old Canadian neuroscientist and sex researcher, saw her public profile climb last May when she was included in a New York Times article highlighting a group of bold, dogma-challenging intellectuals, academics, scientists, and cultural commentators. Titled “Meet the Renegades of the Dark Web,” the piece, by Bari Weiss, became a culture-wars lightning rod, bashed and saluted on social media.
Along with Soh, the rebels included Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, and Christina Hoff Sommers. Joe Rogan, on the strength of his interview podcast, and comedian Dave Rubin, thanks to his free-thinking YouTube channel, also made the roster.
“If you produce findings that the public doesn’t like, you can lose your job,” Soh told Weiss, referring to today’s walking-on-eggshells environment for researchers, not least in her charged field, sexology.
And with the politics of gender and sexuality even more fraught in academia, Soh decided to leave life as a university researcher to write and speak freely, using her expertise to counter perspectives that might fit some ideological agenda but are not supported by science.
Today Soh writes about sexuality, biological differences between men and women, free speech, political correctness, and more, contributing to an impressive range of publications, from North American newspapers to Harper’s, Scientific American, and Playboy.
“I’ve stopped censoring myself,” she tells Penthouse. “I used to worry that things I say might alienate some people, but I’ve realized I can’t live like that. We should be able to speak about facts and the truth without fear of being punished for it.”
Recently, Soh has criticized the way coverage of topics such as gender differences and transgenderism has been politicized, leading to non-scientific viewpoints. In her columns, in conversations with Rogan and Rubin on their hugely popular shows, and elsewhere, Soh has also exposed weaknesses in the assumptions and operations of corporate and academic diversity policies, such as those in place at Google and Harvard University.
Addressing the politics surrounding transgenderism, Soh says, “There is a long history of transgender activists going after sex researchers if a scientist produces findings that activists don’t like. I left academia [so] I could defend what the science says, particularly about children who are gender-dysphoric [who feel they were born in the wrong body]. The majority of these kids will outgrow their feelings by puberty, which is considered a controversial subject in today’s climate.”
“I take a lot of pride in having been a sex researcher,” Soh adds. “My colleagues should be able to do their work without having to deal with activists’ bullying and intimidation.”
Besides hosting her own popular podcast, Wrongspeak, alongside Toronto author, editor, lawyer and ex-engineer Jonathan Kay, Soh is developing new projects for 2019, but her lips are sealed. Meanwhile, she’ll continue to expose the way political correctness and academic leftism is interfering with scientific progress and cogent debate.
Despite being regularly attacked by activists on Twitter, Soh feels optimistic.
“I see a backlash to political correctness coming,” she says. “We saw it with the 2016 election, and I see more on the way because people are understandably fed up.”