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University academic suffers backlash after calling transgender activists ‘abusive’ on the BBC

Josh Milton November 24, 2017
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 19: A participant holds a sign saying "Trans and Proud" during the Glasgow Pride march on August 19, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. The largest festival of LGBTI celebration in Scotland has been held every year in Glasgow since 1996. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)

(Getty)

An academic was barred from delivering a university lecture students following her transphobic comments on BBC radio.

Heather Brunskell-Evans, a research fellow at King’s College London, is also being investigated by the Women’s Equality Party – where she is a spokesperson – for “promoting prejudice against the transgender community.”

Speaking last week on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze, Brunskell-Evans called trans advocates “abusive” and “reactionary”.

trans violence
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On the programme, panellists quizzed her and three other speakers, including two trans activists, on the subject of ‘defining gender’.

In response to these questions, Brunksell-Evans said: “If a child decides that it’s an astronaut, one can play along with this.

(Twitter/Heather Brunskell-Evans)

“One doesn’t have to moralise about it but quite clearly the child is not an astronaut; one doesn’t go along with the story,” she added.

“In fact, it’s incumbent upon adults who are responsible for the welfare – psychological and social and medical – of children not to go along with this story.”

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

She said the “transgender doctrine” was “reactionary”, “constraining”, and “abusive”.

The “trans narrative,” she continued, was “imposing” mistaken alignments with other genders on children.

Following the show, the Women’s Equality Party started an investigation into the academic and author, prompted by multiple complaints from members.

A spokesperson for the party said: “The Women’s Equality Party will ensure a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation for all complaints. We will not comment further on this matter until that process has been concluded.”

Protesters of the trans military ban
(Getty)

In response to the news that she was under investigation, she wrote on her website that the party was “concerned to protect the trans community rather than the swathes of girls who are increasingly subject to harmful medical practices.

“I refute that I have promoted prejudice against the trans community either on the programme or through my writing and social media.

“I have called for transparent public debate, without fear of reprisal, of the social, psychological and physical consequences of the narrative that children can be born in ‘the wrong body’.”

Brunskell-Evans has previously tweeted about Transgender Children and Young People: Born in Your Own Body, the book she edited about the “harms of transgenderism”.

The tweet she quoted here was by TransgenderTrend, “a group of UK parents who are concerned about the current trend to diagnose ‘gender non-conforming’ children as transgender.”

The text is marked as a critical reflection on sex transition facilitation in children, but as others have noted, it should be added to Piers Morgan’s reading list.

Brunskell-Evans had been asked by the King’s College London Reproductive and Sexual Health Society, part of the student union, to deliver a talk on the subject of pornography and the sexualisation of young women.

But following her comments, university students blocked her appearance over concerns it would violate the institution’s rules.

A spokesperson for the society said it was “contacted by various students at King’s College London with concerns that some of Dr Brunskell Evans’ previous work (specifically relating to transgender health) meant that this talk would violate the student union’s ‘Safe Space’ policy.

“As a member of King’s College London staff, she did not have to go through external speaker checks before we organised the event… Due to the short notice of these concerns being raised, we were not able to adequately address them so we took the decision, as a committee, to cancel this event.”

A spokesperson for King’s College London said: “We respect the right of [the student union] and its societies to make their own decisions as to the nature of events they host.”

The news comes days after International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which serves to highlight the continued struggle that the trans community faces in their journey to liberation.

More: BBC, BBC Radio 4, Education, gender, Heather Brunskell-Evans, kclsu, King's College London, no platform, student union, students, Trans, Transgender, transphobia, transphobic, UK, University

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