A university philosophy professor has hit back at the campaign of ‘bullying’ over her views on trans rights, saying: ‘What kind of future does a university have where intimidation determines what is said or taught?’
Kathleen Stock, 48, an expert in gender and sexual arrangement who works for the University of Sussex, has been branded a ‘transphobe’ by some outraged students who have put up posters and called for her to be fired.
Signs put up in the pedestrian tunnel connecting Falmer aim stop to the university’s campus under the A27 said Ms Stock ‘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 – although many others have been using it to sustain her.
Now, Ms Stock has spoken out, telling her 46,000 Twitter followers: ‘If you work where I do, and you know what’s happening to me at the moment (which I’ll discuss at later date), this is the time to say something about it. Not for me, but for you. What kind of 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’ method a ‘trans-exclusionary extreme feminist’.
It was the term levelled at JK Rowling over her response to an article about ‘people who menstruate’. The author had tweeted last year: ‘I’m sure there used to be a information for those people’, suggesting that information was ‘women’.
But this week, the University of Sussex 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 and expert in gender and sexual arrangement at the University of Sussex
Signs have been put up in the pedestrian tunnel connecting Falmer aim stop to the university’s campus under the A27
Banners saying ‘Stock Out’ have been held alongside burning flares at the campus of the University of Sussex this week
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 mirror 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 mirror biological sex, not gender or gender identity;
- The claim ‘transwomen are women’ is a fiction, not literally true
- Sexual arrangement (being gay, being lesbian) is determined by same-sex allurement, not allurement to gender identity
- Spaces where women undress and sleep should keep 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 arrangement is determined by same-sex allurement, not allurement to gender identity.
And she wants a ban on transgender women in women’s changing rooms, saying in 2018 that ‘many trans women are nevertheless 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 yesterday 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 use 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 sustain for Ms Stock yesterday, with extreme feminist Julie Bindel tweeting: ‘Do you sustain 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 extreme feminist author, said: ‘I stand with Kathleen Stock. Academic freedom (and safety) to argue, discuss, disagree, and theorise is vital for human and social development.
‘Harassing, intimidating and bullying women who have a view on a topic is abhorrent and has no place anywhere. Freedom of speech for all.’
Attention on her views has intensified since her book Material Girls came out in May
And Paul Embery, a trade union activist, additional: ‘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 basic views. #Solidarity #StandUpToBullying.’
A University of Sussex spokesman told MailOnline yesterday: ‘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 varied, seeks to resolve conflicts, advances good relations and upholds lawful free speech.
‘As a university community, we must be able to have complicate discussions without bullying or harassment. We will always take rapid action when this occurs.
‘Our role as a university is to ease such conversations to improvement shared understanding and shared 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
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.’
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 information 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 information ‘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 function 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 time of action of abortion as a ‘sinner’.
On social media, students from around the UK have suggested that the university shouldn’t allow the society to function 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
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