Before you read this week's articles, I'd like to draw your attention to the distressing harassment that one of our contributors, Kathleen Stock, a professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex, has been subjected to on her campus.
Kathleen Stock authored the book Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism and has highlighted the conflict between women's sex-based rights and transgender activism, for which she has been labelled "transphobic," "anti-intellectual," "anti-feminist," "anti-queer," "harmful," and "dangerous." The letter of demands put forward by the students denounces of Stock for her views and demands that she be sacked for them.
In July 2019, Stock wrote an essay for Quillette in which she stated "personally I am more than happy to use preferred pronouns for colleagues and students and would consider it rude not to." She has also repeatedly argued that transgender people are deserving of full human rights, freedom from harm, discrimination, and harassment.
She has, however, criticised compelled speech, and the conceptual principles on which compelled pronoun usage rests. She has also criticised the wisdom of letting biological males into spaces hitherto restricted to women only, such as single-sex change rooms and showers. Whether one agrees with her arguments or not, she presents them carefully, reasonably, and with the independence of mind that one would expect from an academic philosopher.
Thankfully, the University of Sussex's Vice Chancellor, Adam Tickell has defended Professor Kathleen Stock and her academic freedoms. At Quillette we applaud Tickell for his defence and hope that it serves as a model for other university administrators.
This attack on Stock is yet another unsettling example of how independent thinkers are subject to intimidation in today's climate. The notion that biological males should not be allowed to enter female-only spaces was a widespread view a mere five years ago. Now, thanks to the speed of cultural transformation driven by social media, activist demands harden into orthodoxies virtually overnight. It takes brave professors of Kathleen Stock's meld to stand up to them, not with force, or retaliatory intimidation, but with argument and deliberation. We owe her a deep gratitude.
Art and Letters
Science and Bioethics
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