A university philosophy professor has rebuffed the ‘bullying’ campaign over her views on trans rights and said: ‘What future does a university have where intimidation determines what is said or taught?’
Kathleen Stock, 48, an expert in gender and sexual orientation who works for the University of Sussex, has been branded a ‘transphobic’ by some outraged students who have put up posters and called for being fired.
Signs put up in the pedestrian tunnel connecting Falmer train station with the university campus under the A27 said Ms Stock ‘makes trans students unsafe’ and ‘we do not pay £ 9,250 a year for transphobia’.
Banners that say ‘Stock Out’ have been held together by burning flames, and lots of people have criticized her under the Twitter hashtag #ShameOnSussexUni – although many others have used it to support her.
Now Mrs Stock has spoken out and told her 46,000 Twitter followers: ‘If you work where I do and you know what’s happening to me at the moment (which I will discuss later), it’s time to say something about that. Not for me, but for you. What future does a university have where intimidation determines what is said or taught? ‘
The group leading the protests against her is an anonymous collective called ‘Anti Terf Sussex’, which describes itself as an ‘unaffiliated network of queer and trans students’. ‘Terf’ means a ‘trans-excluding radical feminist’.
That was the phrase that was directed at JK Rowling over her response to an article on ‘people who are menstruating’. The author had tweeted last year: ‘I’m sure there used to be a word for these people’, suggesting the word was ‘women’.
But this week, the University of Sussex has stood by Mrs Stock and said it was ‘extremely concerned’ about the ‘harassment’ she had suffered, confirming that the posters had been removed.
Kathleen Stock, 48, is a philosophy professor and expert in gender and sexual orientation at the University of Sussex
Signs have been put up in the pedestrian tunnel that connects Falmer train station with the university’s campus under the A27.
Banners saying ‘Stock Out’ have been held alongside burning bonfires on campus at the University of Sussex this week
Mrs Stock has repeatedly insisted in the past that she is not a transphobic, but attention to her views has intensified since her book Material Girls was published in May.
She has written and talked a lot about sex and gender identity – and argued that femininity and masculinity reflect biological gender, not gender or gender identity.
In her own words: What does Kathleen Stock think about gender and trans issues?
Kathleen Stock explained her views on trans issues in written documentation to Parliament in November 2020 here:
- Femininity and masculinity reflect biological gender, not gender or gender identity;
- The claim ‘transwomen are women’ is a fiction, not literally true
- Sexual orientation (being gay, being a lesbian) is determined by same-sex attraction, not gender identity attraction
- Spaces in which women dress and sleep should remain true single-sex to protect them;
- Children with gender identity disorders should not be given puberty blockers as minors.
Mrs Stock also claims that trans women are not women; and sexual orientation is determined by same-sex attraction, not attraction of gender identity.
And she wants a ban on transgender women in women’s locker rooms and says in 2018 that ‘many trans women are still men with male genitals’.
But she has been blown up on Twitter as a ‘Terf’ amid a huge amount of criticism.
Among the tweets against her yesterday was a saying: ‘#ShameOnSussexUni the fact that this is in trend right now is incredible and disgusting.
‘Transphobia has no place on our campus. F ** k Kathleen Stock, your intolerable c ** t. Shame on Sussex for continuing to hire her and letting her spread hatred on campus. ‘
Another tweeted: ‘#ShameOnSussexUni to hire 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 cunning.
‘Either later in your life you will realize that you are on the wrong side of the story, like so many bigots before you, or you will die alone because everyone wants to go.’
But there was also plenty of support for Mrs Stock yesterday, with radical feminist Julie Bindel tweeting: ‘Do you support what is happening at the moment with Kathleen Stock?
‘If you do, you’re a sadistic bully. Shame on you. Those of you who can say no, say no. You’ve covered your *** for long enough. ‘
Jessica Taylor, also a radical feminist writer, said: ‘I stand with Kathleen Stock. Academic freedom (and security) to debate, discuss, disagree and theorize is essential to human and social development.
‘Harassing, intimidating and bullying women who have views on a subject are disgusting and have nowhere to go. Freedom of expression for all. ‘
Attention to her views has intensified since her book Material Girls came out in May
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 that she be fired from @SussexUni for the’ crime ‘of express gender-critical views. #Solidarity #StandUpToBullying. ‘
A spokesman for the University of Sussex told MailOnline yesterday: ‘We were extremely concerned about the harassment of our staff and took immediate action in response to this, which continues.
‘We are deeply committed to being a secure and inclusive university that values and promotes equality and diversity, seeks to resolve conflicts, promote good relations and maintain legal freedom of expression.
‘As a university community, we must be able to have complex discussions without bullying or harassment. We will always take prompt action when this happens.
‘Our role as a university is to facilitate such conversations to promote common understanding and common agreement. We insist that these are performed with respect and are always protective of our staff and students. ‘
University Vice Chancellor Adam Tickell also said: ‘We are investigating activities on our campus that appear to be designed to attack Professor Kathleen Stock in order to exercise her academic freedoms.
‘Disturbingly, this has included pressure on the university to terminate her employment. Everyone at the university has the right to be free from harassment and intimidation.
‘We can and will not tolerate threats to valued academic freedoms and will take the necessary measures to protect the rights of our society.’
In June 2020, author JK Rowling was accused of being ‘transphobic’ after insisting that only women experienced menstruation
In June 2020, author JK Rowling was accused of being ‘transphobic’ after insisting that only women experience menstruation. She had challenged an article entitled: ‘Opinion: Creating a more equal world after COVID-19 for people who are menstruating.’
When she took issue with the wording, she copied a link to the article and posted over it on Twitter: ‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there was a word for those people before. Someone help me. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud? ‘
In the midst of the backlash she later wrote: ‘I know and love transgender people, but deleting the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It is not hated to speak the truth. ‘
It also comes after medical journal The Lancet was accused of using the term ‘equal to vaginas’ instead of the word’ woman ‘, which later saw editor Richard Horton apologize for giving the impression that’ we have dehumanised and marginalized women ‘.
This week, Exeter University’s Students ‘Guild opposed demands that a community against abortion be abolished and support 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 that happen every day’ and describes everyone involved in the abortion as a ‘sinner’. ‘.
On social media, students from across the UK have suggested that the university should not allow the community to operate on campus, but Exeter University’s Students’ Guild said in a statement that it encourages’ freedom of speech ‘.
Read The Mail On Sunday’s review of Material Girls by clicking here