Thirty British academics are complaining they are not able to teach transphobia.
An open letter penned by professors in the Sunday Times calls on universities to drop LGBT charity Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.
The academics believe they are prevented from airing their ‘freedom of thought’. This is in despite of being free to air their thoughts in a national newspaper.
Academics complain they are not able to teach transphobia
They say: ‘Alongside Stonewall’s definition of transphobia as including any “denial/refusal to accept… gender identity”, this leaves academics unable to question the contested notion of “gender identity” without fear of sanction.
‘Equally Stonewall’s guidance advises against inviting any speaker to a university who would deny “that trans people are the gender they say they are”. This is a further unacceptable restriction upon free academic debate.’
They then claim that the fact, 1 in 100 are born with an intersex trait, is ‘anti-scientific’.
That very intersex statistic has been consistently affirmed by scientific studies for decades.
‘In our teaching, we’re exhorted to “ask the pronouns of students,’ they continue to say.
Drop Stonewall, say 30 professors and teachers
The letter then lists several trans-exclusionary radical feminist beliefs.
‘There are other areas that some of us wish to explore and question,’ they say, ‘such as the ramifications of Stonewall’s new doctrine that female-attracted trans women, with penises, are “lesbians”; an “affirmation model” for gender-questioning children; and the social changes caused by opening up women-only spaces to self-identified women.
‘It is imperative to interrogate the radical shifts in thinking that all this implies, but we feel inhibited from doing so in the intimidating atmosphere produced by Stonewall’s influence.
‘We therefore urge Stonewall to clarify that it fully supports academic freedom of thought. Failing this, we ask universities to sever their links with this organisation altogether.’
Kathleen Stock, from the University of Sussex, pointed to specific Stonewall guidance the academics took issue with.
One line was:
‘Speakers who hold strongly anti-LGBT views, such as championing so called “conversion therapy for lesbian , gay and bi people or denying that trans people exist as the gender they say they are, cause LGBT people to feel deeply unsafe.’
Another was examples of bullying and harassment.
0.014% of academics represented by the letter
A Stonewall spokesperson told Gay Star News they were not, at the moment, planning on responding to the open letter.
Several people took issue with academics’ views.
Sally Hines, a professor of sociology at the University of Leeds, put the letter in context.
She said: ”Dear Editor, While we, the undersigned, represent a minuscule fraction of UK academics -30 people out of approx 206,879 – we wish to once again capitalise on our privileged media access to say that we are very cross that we can no longer be transphobic in our teaching practice.’
Others responded: ‘
oh no, the poor dears, it must be so traumatic for them to *checks notes* have to ask pronouns and *checks again* undertake courses on how to be a decent human being
— Sophie (@SophieSkyeHigh) June 16, 2019
Unbelievably, there are more TERF academic signatories to this letter than there are black women professors in the UK (26).
— Dr Elizabeth Savage (@leusavage) June 16, 2019