University of Oxford students ‘appalled’ over union platforming ‘transphobic’ Kathleen Stock

Kathleen Stock

Queer students at the University of Oxford have said they are “appalled” by the planned appearance of controversial academic Kathleen Stock at its debating society.

Describing her as “transphobic and trans exclusionary”, the university’s LGBTQ+ society “vehemently opposes” Stock’s speaking arrangement and has asked the Oxford Union to rescind its invitation. 

The former philosophy lecturer quit her role at the University of Sussex in October 2021 after being heavily criticised for her views on the trans community. 

Prior to quitting her role, Stock said “many trans women are still males with male genitalia”, and argued against trans women’s inclusion in single-sex spaces, which is protected in the UK under the 2010 Equality Act. 

Stock, who is set to speak at the union next month, has also argued that self-ID “threatens a secure understanding of the concept ‘lesbian,’” and equated trans people with those who claim to be “trans-racial” or think of themselves as another race.

The LGBTQ+ society said: “Letting Stock bring her campaign of hate and misinformation to Oxford, allowing her to stoke fear against trans people without challenge or opposition right before Pride month, and at a time when the trans community is facing a constant attack on its lives and rights, is a move we vehemently oppose and will actively protest [against].

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“We call on the union to rescind its misguided invite, and on all Oxford students to stand in solidarity with the trans community and express their dissent with these views.”

Stock – an Oxford graduate herself – responded to the statement on Twitter, claiming it contains “several falsehoods” and is “probably defamatory”, although she did not expand on her comments.

“Also, it makes you look utterly ridiculous,” she said. 

The trade union for UK academics has issued a statement in the row over anti-trans professor Kathleen Stock
Former University of Sussex professor Dr Kathleen Stock has faced criticism for her anti-trans views.

A spokesperson for the university told PinkNews that the Oxford Union is an independent debating society and is not part of the university, but its policy stands against de-platforming speakers.

“Oxford’s freedom of speech policy makes clear that the university seeks to prepare students to encounter and confront difficult views, including views that they find unsettling, extreme, or even offensive,” the spokesperson said.

“The university does not support the no-platforming of any lawful speech at university events or on university premises, although we also recognise the right of students and societies to protest and challenge speakers at internal or external events, as long as they do so within the law and our policies.”

In a statement to The Oxford Student, the union said: “Stock has agreed, as per our guest policy, to be challenged by our membership.”

It also emphasised the need to “[burst] the echo chamber often provided by social media”. 

Stock has made headlines in recent months, both for her co-founding of The Lesbian Project, a group created exclusively for cisgender lesbians, and for her involvement in upcoming Channel 4 documentary Gender Wars.

LGBTQ+ activists have expressed fears about the documentary, which claims it will attempt to find common ground between the trans community and their opponents.

PinkNews has contacted representatives for Kathleen Stock for further comment.