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‘Gender critical’ academic claims she was personally victimised by transgender flags put up to protest Donald Trump

Nick Duffy January 7, 2020
University of Sussex professor Dr Kathleen Stock

University of Sussex professor Dr Kathleen Stock

A ‘gender critical’ academic has claimed that she was personally victimised by transgender pride flags that were put up at her university to protest Donald Trump.

Dr Kathleen Stock, a University of Sussex philosophy professor who claims that  “trans women are still males with male genitalia”, claimed to Times Higher Education that she faces a “hostile environment” in the workplace because of “very targeted behaviour” against her.

Stock claimed that when she was moved to a different academic building, she arrived “to find numerous transgender pride flags hanging from office doors near [her] teaching room”.

On Twitter, she claimed that the flags were “ordered by single faculty member for all colleagues, in response to ‘hostile environment’ I was creating by my writing”.

Gender studies professor denies ‘targeting’ academic with anti-transgender flags.

However, the claims have been strongly denied by professor of gender studies Alison Phipps, who spoke out to confirm that she asked for flags to be displayed by colleagues.

Phipps tweeted: “The claim in this article and on twitter, that trans flags have been displayed at Sussex to intimidate Stock, is untrue.

“I am the faculty member concerned & my Email is below. This is a horrible misrepresentation in the national press.”

In the email to colleagues, Phipps had suggested putting trans flags up in response to a number of global events impacting transgender people.

The message was sent on 31 October, 2018 – eight days after the Trump administration was reported to be pushing a policy to legally erase transgender people by defining gender based on ‘biological sex’.

Phipps had written: “A lot of trans people at Sussex are feeling quite unsafe at the moment, because of negative media coverage around the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, and various international events such as the attack on Gender Studies in Hungary (which had a specific anti-trans underpinning), Trump’s proposal to roll back the Obama-era reforms and codify gender in law as binary and determined by biological sex, and the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil which has involved attacks on LGBT people amongst other things.”

Phipps had continued: “In light of all this, we thought it would be really lovely and powerful to just create a simple gesture of solidarity with trans people.

“I have ordered some flyer-sized versions of the transgender pride flag and will leave one in everyone’s pigeonhole today – if you would be willing to just post this somewhere on your office door, I would be really grateful.

“I think seeing trans pride flags scattered around the building would be a way to start communicating to trans people that this is a safe place for them to work and study.”

Kathleen Stock attacked LGBT+ charity over trans-inclusive stance.

Kathleen Stock previously penned a letter calling for universities to “sever their links” with Stonewall, one of the UK’s most respected LGBT+ charities.

The letter claimed that Stonewall’s work is “in tension with academic freedom” because the charity calls for a trans-inclusive stance in education and opposes “transphobic” teaching and research material.

It claimed the charity was responsible for an “intimidating atmosphere” in academia by running Diversity Champions training, and accused the charity of presenting “tendentious and anti-scientific claims as objective fact”.

The letter also criticised the charity’s support for affirming trans children, and claimed accused Stonewall of pursuing a “new doctrine that female-attracted trans women with penises are lesbians.”

Stock has previously vociferously denied opposing transgender rights, saying: “I emphatically deny that I am transphobic. I vocally uphold the rights of trans women to be free of violence and discrimination, but I question whether the only way to protect trans women from violence is to allow trans women into female communal spaces.”

A spokesperson for the University of Sussex told PinkNews: “We celebrate and value the diversity of our university community and have publicly affirmed our commitment to trans equality.”

Approached for comment, Stock supplied the following statement to PinkNews:

“Professor Phipps placed trans flags in the pigeonholes of all faculty in the school of Law, Sociology and Politics, three weeks after I authored an article in The Conversation called ‘Self-Identification should not make you a woman’; two weeks after I co-authored a letter, also signed by many academics, to the Guardian, arguing against the proposed introduction of self-identification for gender recognition; two weeks after the Sussex student newspaper published an article ‘Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018’ about me; and a couple of days after the Guardian published a further article ‘UK universities struggle to deal with ‘toxic’ trans rights row’ discussing my experiences. All of this made me a controversial figure at Sussex, and my views well-known. In her original email accompanying the flags, which I believe she has tweeted today, she mentioned ‘negative media coverage around the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act’ which she claimed was making ‘trans students feel unsafe’. Given the circumstances, I find it very hard to believe that this is not a reference to my writing, which directly concerned the GRA. Also at the time, the co-Director of the Centre for Gender Studies was also posting in solidarity on a public Facebook page about me called ‘Sussex Students Against Transphobia’. The reason I know of the flags is because two people in Professor Phipps’ School – both of them strangers to me – separately wrote to me at the time tell me that they considered the flags to be in connection with my writing, and felt they were being pressured to put them up. I’m very glad she has tweeted out the email, as it clearly indicates the sort of passive-aggressive stuff I am often up against in trying to argue for the importance of naming biological sex in some contexts.”

More: Donald Trump, gender critical feminism, Kathleen Stock, transgender flags, University of Sussex

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