The Women's Room forum is about the vital importance of women's spaces to help protect women and girls and envision a future of equality in the midst of patriarchy.
This is a quote from The Women's Room, by Marilyn French :
Kathleen Stock: life on the front line of transgender rights debate
Sussex philosophy professor on why she continues to speak out despite facing online abuse and ‘hostile environment’ at work
January 7, 2020, By Jack Grove
“It is quite a strange situation to work somewhere where people make it clear that they loathe you,” reflected Kathleen Stock, professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex, on the backlash she faced for her views on gender identification.
As one of the UK’s leading gender-critical feminists, who has insisted that an individual cannot change their biological sex, Professor Stock has faced relentless criticism and abuse over the past 18 months – with blogs, petitions and Twitter users regularly demanding her dismissal for her allegedly “transphobic” views. In late November, a failed campaign to bar her from speaking at the Royal Institute of Philosophy’s annual debate generated 6,300 likes on Twitter, but just five emails from outraged complainants.
But it is at traditionally left-wing Sussex where Professor Stock has encountered some of her biggest critics: students have made several formal complaints against her, while some colleagues have made it obvious that she is not welcome, Professor Stock told Times Higher Education.
“I’ve found it quite a hostile environment – [some] have claimed my position is bigoted and I should be sacked,” she explained. Recently, she was asked to teach in a different academic building and arrived to find numerous transgender pride flags hanging from office doors near her teaching room. “It is a grey area where, in apparently being kind [to one group], you can get away with some very targeted behaviour,” said Professor Stock.
An internal Sussex email which was shared on social media after the publication of this article suggested that the flags were distributed in 2018 as a gesture of solidarity with trans people following media coverage of proposed legislative changes in the UK and international repression of LGBT rights.
Increasingly, however, the debate is less about whether Professor Stock’s views are right but whether she should be allowed to voice them at all. To question the idea that a trans woman should be treated as a woman in all contexts is an act of “hate speech” that seeks to “erase” her identity, Professor Stock’s critics contend. Writing anonymously on Medium in May, one PhD student claimed that she was leaving philosophy, in part, because she could “easily imagine running into Stock or some other transphobic philosopher” at a conference.
Avoiding controversial issues because of such sensitivities is anathema to Professor Stock, she admitted. “I was always encouraged to discuss fundamental things like identity and social kinds, but now we are being told to accept a highly ideological view that a person is whatever they feel they are,” she said.
“Even when it has massive ramifications for society, philosophers are being told to stay silent,” continued Professor Stock, who objected, in particular, to the idea that discussion of the limits of transgender rights should be halted because it could cause some individuals to self-harm or take their own lives.
“I’m interested in the evidence that this is happening,” she said, adding that it relies on “dodgy statistics that have not been independently verified”.
“It is appropriate to engage in fiction for some contexts, but we are now losing the ability to talk about these issues because of this passive-aggressive way of arguing,” Professor Stock said, adding that “many women are devastated by what is happening in this area and their opinions matter”.
While unpopular closer to home, Professor Stock’s views are seemingly striking a chord with a larger audience outside academia – with 24,000 accounts following her on Twitter. Last month her blog on the employment tribunal ruling against Maya Forstater, the tax expert who lost her job after claiming that transgender women could not change their biological sex, was liked by more than 3,300 people.
According to Professor Stock, the judge’s claim that Ms Forstater’s belief was “not worthy of respect in a democratic society” was a precedent that “sent the message” to UK employees that your “job will not be protected” if you espouse this view – a concern later echoed in a tweet by Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, who referenced Professor Stock’s post.
That decision followed the withdrawal of invitations to feminist speakers at three UK universities in November and December after receiving complaints over their support for gender-critical groups, such as Woman’s Place and the LGB Alliance.
Professor Stock is now involved in a campaign to mount a legal challenge to the policies of Oxford Brookes University, which postponed a November talk by feminist artist Rachel Ara, who draws a distinction between biological sex and gender identity. A crowdfunding campaign has raised more than £6,000.
However, while some hailed 2019 as the year that gender-critical feminism reached the mainstream “thanks to the tireless efforts of many women”, Professor Stock was less optimistic that colleagues were listening. “Most academics only read the BBC or The Guardian which refuse, in general, to talk about these things, so the issue is still badly understood in academia,” she said.
by Nina Paley, Feb 7, 2018
Last week I posted on fecebook “If a person has a penis he’s a man,” which led to my widespread denunciation as a “transphobe.” I’ve written about this before, and anyone paying attention should know better, but I nonetheless commented this:
No matter how many times I state that I have trans friends, was standing up for trans people before the current crop of MRA “transactivists” was even born, and continue to defend the human rights of trans people, people accuse me of the opposite. I tire of defending myself, and it makes no difference anyway. I hated seeing the trans movement get taken over by misogynistic men’s rights activists; I hate seeing the misogyny of the “left” growing. I am witnessing a new, deeper, “postmodern” colonization of women. I bear no ill will towards trans people and like and love several; my concern is for WOMEN, especially those who aren’t white liberal middle-or-upper class, and especially lesbians. When an aggressive white male comes here and declares “I’m a dyke!”, and other liberal men gather round to support him, I see this colonization in action.
Do stick around, it takes a while to see, but I promise you I didn’t get to this place out of ill will. It’s so easy to just say “trans women are women!” and not deal with anyone’s hate. I’m resisting for a reason.
What do I mean by colonization? I mean the literal occupation of women’s spaces – rape shelters, prisons, locker rooms, bathrooms, swimming holes, and women-only events that women have fought very hard for. By men. Physically. But a huge component of this colonization is mental, existing in the realm of ideas and “identity”. What is a woman?
A sex without a people for a people without a sex
In American Liberal thought, colonization is bad. But immigration is good. And taking in refugees is doubleplusgood. This is why Americans backed the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Israelis weren’t regarded as colonizers; they were refugees! And Palestine wasn’t even inhabited, not really. It was a land without a people for a people without a land. The only reason you could possibly object was if you were ANTISEMITIC. Even if you were Jewish yourself, you self-hating Jew!
Taking in trans “refugees from masculinity” is also doubleplusgood. This is why Liberals back the modern transactivist colonization of womanhood. “Transwomen,” who I will henceforth refer to as trans-identified males, or TiMs, aren’t regarded as colonizers; they’re refugees! And womanhood isn’t even inhabited, not really. Womanhood is a “land without a people,” because women aren’t viewed as people. We’re an open space for men to define.
What is the difference between a refugee and a colonist?
A colonist has guns and the backing of another state.
Unlike yesterday’s transsexuals – those “refugees from masculinity” – today’s TiMs have penises and the backing of Liberal Patriarchy.
My trans pals of the 90’s didn’t have today’s backing of Patriarchy. It was riskier to be trans then, even among Liberals. They more resembled refugees, and I welcomed them. They also either didn’t insist they were women, or if they did insist they were women, they ‘disarmed’, if you will, by actually going through genital surgery. Today’s TiMs proudly keep their penises and testicles and demand to have them acknowledged as “female body parts”.
Obviously, times have changed.
Men’s Rights Activists eventually figured out they could eliminate the middleman – transsexuals – and colonize women themselves. This fits nicely with regular old run-of-the-mill male dominance. Heterosexual men “identify” as lesbians, and patriarchal Liberals enforce women’s compliance. Women are not to resist or even question this program. To write, “if a person has a penis he’s a man” is an act of resistance so powerful, it will get you widely denounced and blacklisted.
You know what else would get you denounced and blacklisted in recent decades? Questioning or criticizing the State of Israel. The thought-terminating memes, the refusal to discuss, the disproportionate outrage are all familiar to my anti-Zionist activist friends.
Under the spell of American Zionism, no right-thinking Liberal believed atrocities were happening in and on behalf of Israel. No matter how much evidence activists produced, Zionist Liberals always downplayed it, or ignored it, or justified it because whatever the Palestinians were doing was surely so much worse. Likewise, no matter how much evidence feminists produce, of death threats and rape threats, of actual physical violence, of blacklisting and purging and no-platforming, we are dismissed as “transphobic.” Even when the people presenting the evidence are trans, such as Miranda Yardley and Jenn Smith.
Simultaneous marginalization and support
Of course no males would be “refugees” if they had a home in the male sex class. But it’s in Patriarchy’s interest to simultaneously marginalize and support trans people, just like it’s in Europe’s and America’s interest to simultaneously marginalize and support Jews. The marginalization drives the pressure of expansion. When people are secure in their homelands, they don’t emigrate. It’s the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free that up and move to a new land. Without antisemitism, the “west” would have no colony in the Middle East. Without patriarchal gender enforcement, TiMs wouldn’t be spearheading the further colonization of women. So men simultaneously threaten TiMs, and demand the protection of TiMs as “the most oppressed.” That male-imposed marginalization is what drives the whole project.
Trans people themselves are a tiny fraction of the population. So why are language, laws and institutions being changed just for them? Because it’s not just for them, it’s for all men. TiMs are the “settlers” of the latest patriarchal colonization project.
Both Zionism and transactivism have a religious component. In Zionism it’s the Torah/Old Testament, which simply states that God gave the land to the Jews, His chosen people. In transactivism it’s gender identity, as summarized by Miranda Yardley:
We all have a ‘gender identity’ which is innate. This ‘gender identity’ can be at odds with the physical embodiment of our sex; This ‘gender identity’ has more weighting to our sex than the physical embodiment of our sex; and so it follows that
‘Trans women are women and trans men are men’.
…for transgender individuals, personality determines sex.
Philosophical analysis aside, the reality is that the concept of gender identity collapses into the statement ‘trans women are women’, and this is the foundation of most of their other claims to rights, spaces and validity. It is also the single most defended claim in transgender ideology, so much so that no debate is allowed.
I support freedom of religion, and everyone is free to believe whatever they want. I oppose forcing everyone else to believe what you believe. Everyone is welcome to their “gender identity.” If a male believes he is a female, that’s fine with me. If I have to believe he’s female, that crosses the line.
I oppose gaslighting. I oppose requiring others to deny the evidence of their own eyes and identify someone else as a sex they are not. Not because trans-identified males don’t “deserve” to be called women. But because they aren’t women. “Woman” is not a club or a prize or a reward. It’s a sex.
But it’s treated like a club and a prize and a reward. And like anything of value intrepid males “discover,” it is being colonized.
Women are not a land without a people. Women have always been people, even if men don’t acknowledge that. The trans colonization project is essentially misogynist, and is popular among male Liberals for this reason.
Why do I care?
Believe me, if I could not care about modern transactivism, I would. I think it’s my Muse’s doing, because my film Seder-Masochism is about the same story: the colonization of women.
God used to be female. All of Her attributes were taken over by the male God. Creation, fertility, vegetation, the bringing forth of food, life and death – all that was once the Goddess’s is now God’s. It’s like the male God put on Her clothes, and then “identified” as Her, and there’s no Goddess any more.
Our connection to ancient goddess worship is completely broken. There’s some art, and some ruins, and some echoes in myths and fairy tales, but we have no idea how these religions were really practiced. Modern western goddess-worship is re-built, re-invented, and re-imagined; it is immature, instead of building on thousands of years of tradition.
The establishment of YHWH as the One, Male God effectively erased the Goddess, and most don’t even know enough to grieve. We sense there’s something missing, but most can’t even name it.
Gods and Goddesses are fictional, of course. What’s happening now is a continuation of the erasure of the Goddess: the erasure of womanhood itself. The erasure of biological reality isn’t only of concern to biological women, but to everyone who values science and some relationship to reality beyond individual “identity.”
Woman means adult human female.
Womanhood is a biological reality. That’s it. It’s not an identity, a prize, an “exclusive club”, or a land to be conquered. The more men regard womanhood as any of those things, the more inclined they are to colonize. Patriarchy regards women as property already, with disastrous consequences.
I am a reluctant feminist. I don’t particularly enjoy being a woman. I don’t “identify as a woman.” I AM a woman. It’s not a choice, it’s biology. It’s not a special club I’m trying to keep men out of.
Biology is the beginning and end of “womanhood,” the alpha and the omega. If I wear pants, I’m a woman. If I wear a dress, I’m a woman. If my hair is long or short, I’m a woman. If I take testosterone, I’m a woman. If I cut off my breasts (don’t think I haven’t thought about it, I have fibrocystic breast disease and they can be very painful) I’m a woman. If I identify as a man, I’m a woman.
And if a person has a penis he’s a man.
If you think that’s “hate speech,” the colonist is you.
Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.