Channel 4 sparks backlash over Gender Wars doc with anti-trans Kathleen Stock: ‘No way can this be good’

Kathleen Stock speaking at a university debate

Channel 4 has announced a number of new programmes set to air in spring 2023, including a documentary Gender Wars, which focuses on trans-exclusionary professor Kathleen Stock. 

The documentary claims to attempt to answer the dog-whistle question “what is a woman?” 

Details of the forthcoming show, written alongside a photo of Stock, state: “This film is looking for a way forward, an opportunity to listen and the possibility of finding common ground”. 

Channel 4 claims the documentary will have “unique access” to Stock, who has previously spoken with and written articles for UnHerd, The Times, the BBC, The Guardian, Sky, The Telegraph, Daily Mail and Holyrood magazine.

The show’s description goes on to state that Stock “was hounded out of her university job over her view on gender identification and now campaigns from a gender critical viewpoint”.

Stock quit her role at the University of Sussex in October 2021.

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Prior to quitting her role, Stock said that “many trans women are still males with male genitalia“, and argued against their inclusion in single-sex spaces, something protected by the Equality Act 2010.

She has also argued that self-ID “threatens a secure understanding of the concept ‘lesbian’”, rooting her rhetoric in a belief of immutable biological sex.

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The news of Stock’s participation in a documentary about gender identity has left Twitter users gravely concerned. 

‘There is no way that this can be good for trans people’

One user commented “definitely won’t devolve into a publicly televised hate crime”, while another responded: “The use of the words ‘hounded out’ tell you beforehand where this programme is going and whose side it on.”  

One user tweeted sarcastically: “Wow this looks like a really good attempt at creating common ground – I too would have centred it around a known transphobe and called it Gender Wars – makes so much sense…” 

“Yeah nothing says ‘let’s find some common ground’ like a photo of Kathleen Stock and the title Gender Wars,” another posted.  

Another simply said: “Calling something ‘Gender Wars‘ and using a person like Stock – there is no way that this can be good for trans people.” 

Channel 4’s chief content officer, Ian Katz, has said the new line-up of programmes aim to get people “thinking, arguing and asking questions about the world in which we live”.

New titles alongside the Kathleen Stock documentary include Depp V Heard – a three-part series examining the defamation trial of Jonny Depp and Amber Heard – The Pill featuring Davina McCall who investigates the myths and misconceptions around contraception and a new documentary, Partygate the True Story

Channel 4’s announcement of Gender Wars follows its controversial debate on gender in 2018, which was heavily criticised after trans panelists were heckled throughout by the audience.

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The channel’s Genderquake: The Debate as part of Genderquake – a series of programmes exploring the changes in how gender is seen in modern society – featured Republican Caitlyn Jenner and trans activist Munroe Bergdorf, as well as author Germaine Greer and journalist Sarah Ditum.

Following the debate, Bergdorf spoke out about the heckling she had experienced during the show, some of which was not audible to the audience at home.

LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall said they would submit a formal complaint to communications regulator Ofcom regarding the programme.

PinkNews has contacted Channel 4 for comment.

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