Anti-trans professor Kathleen Stock condemned for suggesting parents should ‘declare’ trans kids

Kathleen Stock speaking at a university debate

Anti-trans former University of Sussex professor Kathleen Stock has been criticised for suggesting high profile figures should publicly declare if they have “trans-identified offspring”.

Chocolat author Joanne Harris, who is also chairperson of the trade union Society of Authors, was subjected to an onslaught by gender-critical feminists after posting a poll to find out how many authors had received death threats via social media.

Harris clarified that her “poll on death threats to authors had nothing to do with JK Rowling”, who had reported receiving a death threat after condemning the recent attack on Salman Rushdie, but Rowling’s supporters continued to accuse her of mocking the Harry Potter author and of being biased in her role as the Society of Authors’ chair.

Stock, who voluntarily resigned from Sussex university last year following student protests against her trans-exclusionary views and position as trustee of LGB Alliance, waded into the debate on Tuesday (16 August).

Sharing a screenshot of Harris’ Twitter bio, in which she described herself as a “proud parent of a trans son”, Stock tweeted: “I am glad this is now declared. It’s more honest.

“At least two other high profile people, both very fond of the word ‘transphobia’, have undeclared trans-identified offspring. They are not unbiased. It is relevant information for onlookers.”

Contributors to the UK’s relentless and often vicious debate on trans existence appeared shocked by Stock’s comments.

“I woke up thinking about this tweet, undoubtedly one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen on here,” wrote one person.

“The logical extension of this is that Stock and people like her will start demanding that people in certain roles out their own children. This is seriously creepy stuff.”

Writer Chas Newkey-Burden said: “I never thought I’d see a tweet this horrible. How sad and nasty the world is becoming.”

“By your own absolutely bats**t logic, Dr Stock, you surely then shouldn’t be advocating for cis women,” anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe added.

“Because being one, you’re not unbiased, and this according to you this close personal experience is relevant information for onlookers.”

Harris herself responded to the disturbing tweet by writing: “A lot of people have been talking nonsense about this, thanks to Kathleen Stock. Let’s get a couple of things clear. I ‘declared’ this at my son’s suggestion, because people on here were already whispering about him, trying to put pressure on me.”

She said that her son had come out to her very recently, and said: “He’s a million times braver, better and wiser than anyone on that nasty little thread. Anyone using him to attack me is utterly and forever beneath contempt.”

Harris added that she would be removing the line in question from her bio, “not because I’m any less proud of him, but because it has served its purpose, and to deflect any more unwanted attention from my son, who is gentle, and sweet, and deserves none of this”.

PinkNews has contacted Kathleen Stock for comment.

Kathleen Stock joined other anti-trans lobbyists in signing letter claiming Society of Authors has been ‘captured by gender ideologues’

In a confusing letter, published by journalist Julie Bindel, “writers and industry professionals”, many of whom are not and have never been members of the union, complained about “the Society of Authors’ abject failure to speak out on violent threats towards its members”, as well as “the behaviour of Joanne Harris… on Twitter”.

The letter claimed that Harris’ poll on authors receiving death threats “appeared to make light of the subject by treating it in a flippant way”, “appeared to be a sideswipe at JK Rowling”, and “appeared to make light of the attack on Sir Salman Rushdie”.

Despite acknowledging the increase in threats against all kinds of authors, signatories demanded that the trade union specifically call out death threats against Rowling, because it would send “assurance that you stand for all authors regardless of their beliefs”.

The signatories claiming that the union “has been captured by gender ideologues” included many high profile voices in the gender critical movement, including Simon Fanshawe, Graham Linehan, Helen Dale, Kathleen Stock, Abigail Rowland, Helen Joyce, and Simon Edge, alongside anonymous signatories.

Despite the claims made in the letter, the Society of Authors has issued two statements in the last few days, condemning both the attack on Salman Rushdie and threats to authors more generally. 

Authors band together to support celebrated author and trans ally Joanne Harris

In a separate open letter, authors including Melinda Salisbury, Juno Dawson and Katherine Woodfine hit out at gender critical calls for Joanne Harris’ resignation as chair of the Society of Authors.

They wrote: “Ms Harris has, since her appointment, been a stalwart, fair, dedicated, and passionate chair, who has frequently gone above and beyond her role as chair to champion all authors, to acknowledge and speak out on authors’ concerns, to patiently answer questions, and advocate for the rights of authors, and who has also used her personal Twitter platform to offer writing advice, stories, and support to the many thousands of people who follow her.

“She is, in our opinion, the best person for the job, that’s why we voted for her.”

The authors said they were “shocked, dismayed, and frankly disturbed” by the “aggressive” backlash directed at Harris, which they described as “coordinated attacks against her by a small, but vocal, minority, who have become known to many of us who use Twitter as persons who regularly use their own platforms to intimidate and bully those who do not agree with their ideologies regarding trans and non-binary people”.

In terms of Harris’ role, it is “neither her job, moral responsibility or civic duty to rush to the defence of a single author on Twitter when their fans take umbrage at some slight, imagined or otherwise”, they explained, and added: “We have not included signatories who felt the need to conceal their identities; we are all deeply proud of our support for Ms Harris, and openly stand alongside her during this difficult time.”