A group of scholars criticized the decision to award an OBE to a prominent philosophy professor who advocated that women should not be made to share toilets and changing rooms with transgender women, saying it was "transphobic".
Dr. Kathleen Stock, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex, has spoken out on gender identity issues, claiming that many UK universities are becoming "trans-activist institutions" where free academic debate is censored and suppressed.
Professor Stock has also publicly criticized the LGBTQ charity Stonewall's close relationship with academic institutions. The influence of the group means that dissenting views or criticism from academics who think differently is not allowed.
In an open letter entitled "Open Letter on Transphobia in Philosophy," 600 of her colleagues from institutions such as the LSE and MIT criticized the decision to recognize her contributions to higher education in the 2021 New Year Awards.
Philosophy scholars claim that the OBE supposedly recognized Professor Stock's achievements in higher education, but is also a sign of support for what they describe as its "harmful rhetoric" and "transphobic views".
Dr. Kathleen Stock, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex, has spoken out on gender identity issues, arguing that a person should not be able to simply “choose” their legal gender. She received an OBE for Merit to Higher Education in the New Year Honors
In an open letter, 600 of their colleagues from institutions such as the LSE and MIT criticized the decision to recognize their services to higher education in the 2021 New Year Awards, saying they were "dismayed" that the UK government had decided to judge them for this harmfulness to honor rhetoric & # 39;
The letter reads: “Stock has been best known in recent years for its trans-exclusive public and academic discourse on gender and gender, particularly for its rejection (amendments) to the UK Gender Recognition Act and the importance of self-identification in establishing the Gender identity and advocating that trans women should be excluded from places such as changing rooms or shelters for women. "
It continues: “Trans people are already severely marginalized in society and exposed to well-documented discrimination, ranging from government policy to physical violence.
"Such a stick-producing and reinforcing discourse contributes to this damage and serves to limit trans people's access to life-saving medical treatments, encourage harassment of gender-specific people, and otherwise strengthen the patriarchal status quo.
"We are dismayed that the UK government has chosen to honor them for this harmful rhetoric."
The signatories agreed that academics should be free to ask "important questions about gender and gender" but argued that Professor Stock's contribution to the discourse was "transphobic scare-mongering" rather than "valuable science".
Professor Stock, who was featured on GMB in June 2020, has raised concerns about the suppression of academic debate and censorship on gender identity issues
In a tweet shared in response to the open letter, Professor Stock hit back on the idea of encouraging open discourse and wrote, “Many colleagues in philosophy don't seem to believe that there is an issue with academic freedom in relation to gender and gender identity are British universities. & # 39;
Who is Professor Kathleen Stock?
Professor Stock was educated in a comprehensive school in Scotland before graduating with a degree in French and philosophy from Oxford.
She went on one M.Litt. in Philosophy from the University of St. Andrews and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Leeds.
Professor Stock taught at the University of Lancaster and the University of East Anglia for two years before being appointed by Sussex in 2003.
According to her profile on the University of Sussex's website, the professor’s current main research is "philosophical questions about gender, gender and sexual orientation".
In 2018 she made headlines with an article published on The Conversation speaking out against proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
In 2019, she coordinated an open letter signed by more than 20 scholars accusing Stonewall of censoring the gender identity debate and stifling academic freedom.
Professor Stock publishes her writing on gender identity, gender and sexual orientation for free on a website and frequently writes on the subject on Twitter
The tweet referred followers to a recent Mumsnet thread in which users lamented the university-sponsored "no-debate culture" on gender identity issues.
Like-minded scientists turned to Twitter after the letter to defend Professor Stock.
Alice Sullivan, a professor of sociology at UCL, tweeted, “This public denunciation is the latest volley in a harassment campaign against Kathleen Stock for being a (lesbian) philosopher who speaks about women's rights and limits. Real question: why is the discipline of philosophy so sexist? & # 39;
Another wrote: & # 39;
Professor Stock was an outspoken critic of the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 that would allow people to change the sex on their birth certificate without a medical diagnosis.
Prime Minister Theresa May launched a consultation on the law in 2018, saying she wanted to "streamline and de-medicate" the process of obtaining a gender recognition certificate.
Professor Stock was among those who disagreed with the idea that self-identification should be the basis for establishing legal gender identity and warned that doing so could put women at risk.
At the time, she wrote for The Conversation: “We need to clear the oppression of women first. If we don't, it will just carry over into the brave new world we are building. & # 39;
Professor Stock claimed that removing protections for women like same-sex dressing rooms would put them at an even greater disadvantage.
"There is no reason, as a sexist society regularly expects, women should be the only group that sacrifices their interests for the benefit of others," she added.
More recently, Professor Stock has accused leading gay rights charity, Stonewall, of censoring the gender identity debate and suppressing academic freedom.
She was one of 20 professors, researchers and lecturers who signed a letter in 2019 criticizing the charity that provided UK universities with a template on transgender issues.
According to the letter, this template does not allow for dissenting views or criticism from academics who think differently.
The scientists also claim that questioning Stonewall's guidelines opens them up to student harassment. The charity's policy, according to critics, goes far beyond the Equality Act.
Pictured is a selection of tweets from Stock drawing attention to the relationship between universities and the LGBTQ charity Stonewall, describing UK universities as "transactivist institutions".
Professor Stock returned on the topic in a series of tweets shared after her OBE was announced.
She wrote: I am honored to have received OBE for services to higher education.
& # 39; I would like to take this opportunity to draw further attention to the repression of critical thoughts about gender identity ideology and transactivism in UK universities.
She continued, "Yet there is an urgent need for academics and college students to discuss the social significance of biological sex and to criticize gender identity ideology and transactivism."
Open letter on transphobia in philosophy in full
We are professional academic philosophers who advocate the inclusion and acceptance of trans- and gender-abusive people, both in public and especially in philosophy. We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to developing a more inclusive environment and to reject the use of professional and cultural authority to promote gender oppression.
Last week the Conservative Government of Great Britain appointed Kathleen Stock, professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex and a prominent critic of trans-inclusive attitudes and politics, as officer of the Order of the British Empire. This award was reportedly given for services in the field of higher education. Stock has been best known in recent years for her trans-exclusive public and academic discourse on gender and gender, particularly for opposition to UK gender recognition law and the importance of self-identification in establishing gender identity and advocating that Trans women doing this should be excluded from places such as changing rooms or shelters for women. She took the opportunity of her OBE award to post on Twitter and urged UK universities to end their collaboration with Stonewall, the well-known LGBTQ + rights charity. She described her trans-inclusive stance as a threat to freedom of expression.
Trans people are already highly marginalized in society and subject to well-documented discrimination, ranging from government policies to physical violence. Such a discourse, producing and reinforcing the stick, contributes to this damage and serves to limit trans people's access to life-saving medical treatments, encourage harassment of gender-specific people, and otherwise bolster the patriarchal status quo. We are dismayed that the UK government has chosen to honor them for this harmful rhetoric.
We're not saying that Stick shouldn't be allowed to say the things she does. We believe in the principles of academic freedom and find that opposing someone who is commended or honored for their speech simply does not conflict with those principles. Academic freedom comes with responsibility; We should not use this freedom to harm people, especially the more vulnerable members of our community. Concern about the harm to Stock's work with threats to academic freedom obscures important issues.
We are in no way suggesting that there are no deep and important questions about gender and gender, or that philosophers should not pursue them. Indeed, a 2019 open letter written and signed by feminist philosophers who have studied these issues made this very clear. Rather, we are concerned that some – apparently including the UK government – have a tendency to confuse transphobic scare tactics with valuable science and to attack already marginalized people with bold free speech exercises.
We stand against prominent members of our profession who use their academic status to promote gender oppression. We denounce transphobia in all its forms and hereby publicly commit ourselves to creating a more inclusive culture in which people of all gender presentations and identities can thrive and be respected for who they are.
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