A university philosophy professor is facing a campaign of ‘bullying’ over her views on trans rights – with students putting up posters and calling for her to be fired.
Kathleen Stock, 48, an expert in gender and sexual orientation who works for the University of Sussex, has been branded a ‘transphobe’ by some outraged students.
Posters put up in the tunnel from Falmer station to the university’s campus said she ‘makes trans students unsafe’ and ‘we’re not paying £9,250 a year for transphobia’.
Banners saying ‘Stock Out’ have been held alongside burning flares and scores of people have been criticising her under the Twitter hashtag #ShameOnSussexUni.
The group leading the protests is an anonymous collective called ‘Anti Terf Sussex’, which describes itself as an ‘unaffiliated network of queer and trans students’.
‘Terf’ means a ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist’. It is the term that was levelled at JK Rowling over her response to an article about ‘people who menstruate’.
The Harry Potter author tweeted at the time, ‘I’m sure there used to be a word for those people’, suggesting that word was ‘women’ to her 14.5m followers.
But today, Sussex University has stood by Ms Stock, saying it was ‘extremely concerned’ by the ‘harassment’ she had suffered and confirmed the posters had been removed.
Kathleen Stock, 48, is a philosophy professor who works for the University of Sussex
Posters have been put up in the tunnel from Falmer station to the university’s campus
Banners saying ‘Stock Out’ have been held alongside burning flares at the university campus
Ms Stock has repeatedly insisted in the past that she is not a transphobe, but attention on her views has intensified since her book Material Girls came out in May.
She has written and spoken extensively about sex and gender identity – arguing that womanhood and manhood reflect biological sex, not gender or gender identity.
In her own words: What does Kathleen Stock believe about gender and trans issues?
Kathleen Stock explained her views on trans issues in written evidence to Parliament in November 2020 here:
- Womanhood and manhood reflect biological sex, not gender or gender identity;
- The claim ‘transwomen are women’ is a fiction, not literally true
- Sexual orientation (being gay, being lesbian) is determined by same-sex attraction, not attraction to gender identity
- Spaces where women undress and sleep should remain genuinely single-sex, in order to protect them;
- Children with gender identity disorders should not be given puberty blockers as minors.
Ms Stock also claims trans women are not women; and sexual orientation is determined by same-sex attraction, not attraction to gender identity.
And she wants a ban on transgender women in women’s changing rooms, saying in 2018 that ‘many trans women are still males with male genitalia’.
But she has been blasted on Twitter as a ‘Terf’ amid a huge amount of criticism.
Among the tweets against her today was one saying: ‘#ShameOnSussexUni the fact that this is trending right now is unbelievable and disgusting.
‘Transphobia has no place on our campus. F**k Kathleen Stock, you insufferable c**t. Shame on Sussex for continuing to employ her and allowing her to spread hate on campus.’
Another tweeted: ‘#ShameOnSussexUni for employing bullies and transphobes like Kathleen Stock.’
And a third said: ‘#ShameOnSussexUni for employing transphobes like Kathleen Stock and shame on anyone who tried to defend this bigotry.
‘Either later in your life you will realise you are on the wrong side of history, like so many bigots before you, or you will die alone because everyone will leave.’
But there was also plenty of support for Ms Stock today, with radical feminist Julie Bindel tweeting: ‘Do you support what is happening at the moment to Kathleen Stock?
‘If you do you’re a sadistic bully. Shame on you. Those of you that can speak out, speak out. You’ve covered your a***s for long enough.’
Jessica Taylor, also a radical feminist author, said: ‘I stand with Kathleen Stock. Academic freedom (and safety) to debate, discuss, disagree, and theorise is vital for human and social development.
Attention on her views has intensified since her book Material Girls came out in May
‘Harassing, intimidating and bullying women who have a view on a topic is abhorrent and has no place anywhere. Freedom of speech for all.’
And Paul Embery, a trade union activist, added: ‘I stand with Professor Kathleen Stock OBE – a respected academic and feminist who is currently the target of a vicious campaign demanding her sacking from @SussexUni for the ‘crime’ of expressing gender critical views. #Solidarity #StandUpToBullying.’
A University of Sussex spokesman told MailOnline today: ‘We were extremely concerned to see the harassment towards our staff member and took immediate action in response to this, which is continuing.
‘We are deeply committed to being a safe and inclusive university, which values and advances equality and diversity, seeks to resolve conflicts, advances good relations and upholds lawful free speech.
‘As a university community, we must be able to have complex discussions without bullying or harassment. We will always take swift action when this occurs.
‘Our role as a university is to facilitate such conversations to advance shared understanding and common agreement. We insist that these are carried out respectfully and are always protective of our staff and students.’
The university’s vice chancellor Adam Tickell also said: ‘We are investigating activity on our campus which appears to have been designed to attack Professor Kathleen Stock for exercising her academic freedoms.
‘Disturbingly, this has included pressuring the university to terminate her employment. Everyone at the university has the right to be free from harassment and intimidation.
‘We cannot and will not tolerate threats to cherished academic freedoms and will take any action necessary to protect the rights of our community.’
In June 2020, author JK Rowling was accused of being ‘transphobic’ after insisting only women experience menstruation. She had challenged an article entitled: ‘Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.’
In June 2020, author JK Rowling was accused of being ‘transphobic’ after insisting only women experience menstruation
Taking issue with the phrasing, she copied a link to the article and posted above it on Twitter: ‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
Amid the backlash she later posted: ‘I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.’
It also comes after medical journal The Lancet was accused of using the phrase ‘bodies with vaginas’ in lieu of the word ‘female’, which later saw editor Richard Horton apologise for conveying the impression that ‘we have de-humanised and marginalised women’.
This week, Exeter University’s Students’ Guild resisted calls for an anti-abortion society to be shut down, supporting its members’ rights to ‘freedom of speech’ and to operate without fear of ‘intolerance or discrimination’.
The Christian group, Exeter Students for Life, is run by a male second-year law student named Ali who says he wants to end ‘murders happening every day’, and describes anyone involved in the process of abortion as a ‘sinner’.
On social media, students from around the UK have suggested that the university shouldn’t allow the society to operate on campus, but the Exeter University’s Students’ Guild said in a statement said that it encourages ‘freedom of speech’.
Read The Mail On Sunday’s review of Material Girls by clicking here
Source: Daily Mail