A transgender woman has received a barrage of transphobic comments after declaring she will run to be the Women’s Officer for the National Union of Students.
23-year-old Lancaster University Maths student Anna Lee announced her campaign this week – pledging to stand to the role, which is open to anyone who self-identifies as female.
The student, who previously helped run her university’s feminist society and has sat on the NUS Women’s Committee, says she wants to break a “glass ceiling” by running for the women-only role.
She said: “I find myself in unchartered waters, and some shards of that glass ceiling will undoubtedly hit me.”
Lee, who is running on an anti-austerity pro-women platform added: “When the transphobic ‘feminists’ come and try to tear me down, I will just fight harder, and with the help of amazing activists we will show them, together, that the NUS Women’s Campaign demonstrates a progressive approach to inclusive feminism, not only ensuring that the campaign is proudly trans inclusive, but that our campaign is a place where feminist activists can thrive – whether they’ve been involved for five years or five minutes.”
As predicted, Ms Lee’s announcement has been met with hostility from some hardline feminist activists, who claim she would take the role away from a “biological woman”.
One woman tweeted: “Are you f**king kidding me?? A biological man running for NUS Women’s Officer? Now THAT is male arrogance.”
Another said: “I wonder, as a member of the female sex and a student, who will be representing me at the NUS?”
Others ranted: “Anna Lee is a man and can never ever represent women. Period.”
However, the NUS has been very supportive of her bid, and she has won backing from many key figures.
Speaking to the Guardian, Ms Lee opened up about the abuse.
She said: “Any negative comments are going to take a toll on your mental health and make you feel bad. But we are changing perspectives, and wider society is slowly waking up to the fact that trans people exist and have rights.
“Some people can’t see past the fact that I’m a trans person. They can’t imagine that a trans person could have more to them.
“But the women’s movement is trans-inclusive and has been at the forefront of intersectional feminism for many years. It’s really frustrating.”