“Totalitarian regimes always target academics. A critical moment in the build up to the Holocaust and the Nazi consolidation of power was when academics were expelled for their political beliefs or Jewish heritage.” Dr Em
Part I is available here
Academics are being harassed, abused and subjected to silencing around transgender ideology. Expert in international law, Professor Rosa Freedman, had her office urinated upon because she had attended a debate on the topic of the government consultation on proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. [efn_note] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-46454454 ] [/efn_note] ‘Prof Freedman also said she was called a “Nazi” who “should be raped” and added it was a “tipping point” for her to “push back” against the abusers when she received anonymous phone calls’. [efn_note] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-46454454 [/efn_note] Professor Kathleen Stock has suffered a smear campaign and vilification, her lectures have been protested and she has been defamed as a ‘transphobe’. [efn_note] https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/07/06/university-lecturer-says-trans-women-are-still-males-with-male-genitalia/ [/efn_note] The editorial board of the Journal for Disability and Society were put under pressure to remove Michelle Moore from her position because she had questioned the tenet of transgenderism that some children are born wrong and require sterilisation. [efn_note] https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1139821130414514176.html [/efn_note] A blacklist has been drawn up and a smear campaign launched by one transgender lecturer against those who question the ideology of transgenderism.
‘Natacha Kennedy, a researcher at Goldsmiths University of London who is also understood to work there under the name Mark Hellen, faces accusations of a “ludicrous” assault on academic freedom after she invited thousands of members of a closed Facebook group to draw up and circulate a list shaming academics who disagreed with campaigners’ theories on gender. The online forum, seen by The Times, also revealed that members plotted to accuse non-compliant professors of hate crime to try to have them ousted from their jobs. Reading, Sussex, Bristol, Warwick and Oxford universities were among those deemed to have “unsafe” departments because they employed academics who had publicly disputed the belief that “transwomen are women” or questioned the potential impact of proposed changes to gender laws on women and children’. [efn_note] https://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2018/09/harassment-by-trans-activists-of-philosopher-kathleen-stock-and-others-continues-in-the-uk.html [/efn_note]
Professor Stock has collated personal accounts of the harassment and pressure currently faced by academics who question transgender ideology. Academic one explains how after a complaint that they did not appear to support transgenderism and a human relations investigation they felt that
‘this was just an exercise in letting me know they’re watching me. I had previously already tried to raise some of my concerns with our Equalities Group regarding our adoption of self ID due to the need to balance the rights of female students, particularly Muslim and Jewish students, and trans students in certain settings like residential field trips, changing rooms and toilets on campus and essentially been completely ignored, so I’m left wondering whether they had been watching me before this complaint came in’. [efn_note] K. Stock, ‘Are academics freely able to criticise the idea of ‘gender identity’ in UK Universities?’, Medium, View at Medium.com [/efn_note]
The first academic is sadly not alone. A second academic details how ‘the academic responsible for “teaching and learning” assured students in my department that they would not have to be taught by me if they disagreed with my views’. [efn_note] K. Stock, ‘Are academics freely able to criticise the idea of ‘gender identity’ in UK Universities?’, Medium, View at Medium.com [/efn_note] Following gender critical tweets a senior feminist academic received
‘a letter informing me that I was under investigation for transphobia arrived at my home. At this point, I was told by my university’s HR that I may not speak with anyone about the complaint, except close family and my union. I was specifically forbidden from discussing it with colleagues or on social media. I was also told that I had to keep working as normal…I was told that I would be the subject of a formal investigation, which might lead to disciplinary proceedings. At this point, I was not given a copy of the complaint. I was told I would not receive that until my interview with the investigator’.
[efn_note] K. Stock, ‘Are academics freely able to criticise the idea of ‘gender identity’ in UK Universities?’, Medium, View at Medium.com [/efn_note]
Professor Stock’s document contains 25 more similar accounts of intimidation of intellectuals. These accounts should ring alarm bells. Totalitarian regimes always target academics. A critical moment in the build up to the Holocaust and the Nazi consolidation of power was when academics were expelled for their political beliefs or Jewish heritage. Historian Richard Evans estimates that 15% of university teachers had lost their jobs by fall 1933. [efn_note] https://www.facinghistory.org/holocaust-and-human-behavior/chapter-5/controlling-universities [/efn_note] Similarly, the Khmer Rouge executed academics who were not wholly in support of its ideology. Stalin followed suit and targeted intellectuals who were questioning of the regime. Norman Naimark has compared the Great Terror to the Cambodian Genocide and argued that they shared many of the same characteristics including ‘persecuting intellectuals and those who thought for themselves, in the name of a “clean slate”. [efn_note] N. M. Naimark,Stalin’s Genocides (Woodstock, Princeton University Press, 2010), p.109 [/efn_note] We are not at the level of mass-murder and imprisonment but an attempted purge of academics critical of transgender ideology is likewise underway in the West.
That academics are willing to speak up for truth, evidence and women’s rights shows the courage of the scholar in the era of no-platforming. Removing an academic’s or expert’s right to speak has mostly impacted upon women. That it is women who challenge male supremacy and male sexual entitlement which are being silenced has been noted since 2014. Sarah Ditum assessed how ‘the no platform of now doesn’t target groups such as the National Front or the EDL — instead, it’s aimed at individuals who certainly do not trail the organised muscle of a thug army behind them’. [efn_note] https://www.newstatesman.com/sarah-ditum/2014/03/when-did-no-platform-become-about-attacking-individuals-deemed-disagreeable [/efn_note] Indeed, disagree with men’s rights principles such as that women should be sold for penetration and one faces silencing and exclusion. For example, in early 2015 a feminist comedy show by Kate Smurthwaite was cancelled at Goldsmiths. Her show was ironically on the topic of free speech and did not contain any references to prostitution or the sex trade. However, because ‘Smurthwaite favours decriminalising those selling sex, while criminalising those who purchase it’ she was cancelled. [efn_note] https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/feb/02/goldsmiths-comedian-kate-smurthwaite-free-speech-show-feminist-campaigners [/efn_note] Smurthwaite details how “They told me that the union supports the sex industry, which is weird. Surely you support the workers, not the industry”. [efn_note] https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/feb/02/goldsmiths-comedian-kate-smurthwaite-free-speech-show-feminist-campaigners [/efn_note] In 2015, an open letter by academics calling attention to the censoring of feminists and those who criticise the sex industry and transgender ideology was published by the Guardian. [efn_note] J. Bindel, ‘No platform: my exclusion proves this is an anti-feminist crusade’, The Guardian (9 October, 2015) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/09/no-platform-universities-julie-bindel-exclusion-anti-feminist-crusade [/efn_note] Julie Bindel, who has been banned from speaking at numerous events, has outlined how the ‘university ‘no platform’ campaign is a gift to misogynistic men’. [efn_note] J. Bindel, ‘No platform: my exclusion proves this is an anti-feminist crusade’, The Guardian (9 October, 2015) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/09/no-platform-universities-julie-bindel-exclusion-anti-feminist-crusade [/efn_note] The letter details how one young women was bullied and excluded from a ‘feminist’ group for sharing an article discussing the depressingly low convictions for rape. [efn_note] J. Bindel, ‘No platform: my exclusion proves this is an anti-feminist crusade’, The Guardian (9 October, 2015) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/09/no-platform-universities-julie-bindel-exclusion-anti-feminist-crusade [/efn_note] In 2015, ‘the women’s officer at Cardiff University Students’ Union, Rachael Melhuish, decided that [Germaine] Greer’s presence would be “harmful”, because the feminist scholar and activist does not believe that humans can change sex or that clothes are magical. [efn_note] C. Lehmann, ‘Germaine Greer and the scourge of ‘no-platforming’, ABC News (27 October 2015) https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-27/lehmann-greer-and-the-no-platforming-scourge/6887576 [/efn_note] In 2017 lesbian, black, Jewish feminist Linda Bellos, who began Black History Month in the U.K., was no-platformed and described as a hate preacher for her belief in the reality and importance of biological sex to women’s lives. [efn_note] ‘Black, female, Jewish and lesbian feminist, Bellos is not exactly a preacher of hate’, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/06/feminist-linda-bellos-women-trans-male-violence?CMP=share_btn_tw [/efn_note]
In 2018 Bristol students voted to ban female speakers who had expressed views critical of transgenderism and the sex industry from campus. [efn_note] https://thetab.com/uk/bristol/2018/03/02/bristol-students-vote-to-no-platform-trans-exclusionary-feminists-in-heated-annual-members-meeting-32655 [/efn_note] Thus, I am subsequently banned from speaking at Bristol University.
One thing that is noticeable from the photograph is how it was largely young white men who made that decision on what women could speak and what they may say. Jenni Murray felt forced to cancel her talk on British women in history after students tried to no-platform her and threatened protests because she had written a year earlier that males who self-identify as females had not experienced growing up female. [efn_note] C. Turner, ‘Jenni Murray pulls out of Oxford talk after students try to ‘no platform’ her over ‘transphobic’ comments’, The Telegraph (7 November 2018), https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2018/11/07/jenni-murray-pulls-oxford-talk-students-try-no-platform-transphobic/ [/efn_note] Those were a handful of examples of what is removing women from academia and any challenge to an ideology which regressively argues that women’s oppression is innate and our sex-based rights are harmful to males.
If a woman expresses one criticism, attends a debate or writes a few tweets on transgenderism she is at risk of being silenced. For example, student leaders called for the sacking, tarring & feathering of Ann Henderson, the Rector of the University of Edinburgh, because as a women she dared to re-tweet a drop-in session around a current government consultation. [efn_note] http://www.studentnewspaper.org/ann-henderson-triggers-controversy-over-transphobic-twitter-support/ [/efn_note] Would this extreme reaction have occurred if women had decided to host a drop in session over a government consultation of say land tax? I think it is no coincidence that fury is only provoked when women wish to discuss women’s rights. This public threatening of women when they think and speak is a tactic to uphold male supremacy which has a long history. Women’s speech, particularly regarding politics, has been deemed offensive for millennia. In Politica Aristotle argued that ‘silence gives grace to a woman… though that is not the case likewise with a man’. [efn_note] Aristotle, Politica, 1. 5. 9. [/efn_note] In Homer’s Odyssey Telemachus instructs his mother that ‘speech will be for men… for mine is the authority’. [efn_note] Homer, Odyssey, 1.359. [/efn_note] In the ancient world, women were afforded some opportunities to speak: as unheeded prophets such as Cassandra or the Delphi oracles, victims and martyrs. The Bible, since the reconfiguration of the text by a council of men at Nicaea in 325 C.E., followed a similar strain and claimed divine support for the claim ‘let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men: she is to keep silent’. [efn_note] Bible, 1 Tim. 2.11 -12. [/efn_note] Fast forward centuries and the Suffragettes when they spoke were often attacked by mobs of men or ripped away from their speeches by male police officers. Emmeline Pankhurst described how after Suffragette speeches caused the defeat of a Liberal candidate in the Mid-Devon by-election a mob of angry young men delivered ‘a staggering blow [to the] back of my head, rough hands grasped the collar of my coat, and I was flung violently to the ground’ where she lost consciousness. [efn_note] E. Pankhurst, Suffragette: My Own Story (London, Hesperus Press, 2016), p. 94. [/efn_note] Women were assaulted by men, women’s words met with violence, because they demanded to speak publicly and politically.
Winning the right to vote has not drastically improved women’s lot when it comes to political or public speech. Women’s words are still met with male violence. In the 1980s Andrea Dworkin argued that
The public censure of women as if we are rabid because we speak without apology about the world in which we live is a strategy of threat that usually works. Men often react to women’s words — speaking and writing — as if they were acts of violence’ sometimes men react to women’s words with violence. So we lower our voices. Women whisper. Women apologize. Women shut up. Women trivialize what we know. Women shrink. Women pull back. Most women have experienced enough dominance from men — control, violence, insult, contempt — that no threat seems empty. [efn_note] A. Dworkin, Intercourse (New York, Basic Books, 1987), pp. xxx — xxxi. [/efn_note]
This is happening when women defend their rights against transgender ideology. Maria MacLachlan was assaulted at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park by transgender activists as she waited for a meeting on the GRA consultation. [efn_note] https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2017/09/trans-rights-terfs-and-bruised-60-year-old-what-happened-speakers-corner [/efn_note] Women are reminded daily that men will respond with violence because they dislike our speech.
I myself frequently receive threats of violence, and, more shockingly, have been chastised by a male ally because he claims my words oppress him. Even some of those men who allege that they are on our side have an issue with women’s speech unless it can be used to support what they are saying. However, as there has always been and there will always be, some women are responding to this male displeasure and male threat of violence by raising their voices even louder.