Activist glues hand to floor in front of Kathleen Stock wearing ‘no more dead trans kids’ shirt

Riz Possnett takes part in a protest against Kathleen Stock at the Oxford University

A controversial talk by so-called gender critical academic Kathleen Stock at University of Oxford’s debating society was interrupted and protested by trans activists chanting “no more dead trans kids”.

Stock, who contends her trans-exclusionary views are ‘feminist’, had only been talking at Oxford Union for around five minutes before protesters jumped out of the audience waving Pride flags.

One activist, Riz Possnett, wrote a t-shirt stating “no more dead trans kids” and glued their hand to the floor directly in front of Kathleen Stock before being removed by police.

The appearance by the academic, who voluntarily resigned from the University of Sussex in 2021 amid protests over the views on trans people, has been heavily protests for weeks, with the Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society and more than 100 Oxford academics opposing it. Meanwhile, Stock has had the support of unelected Tory prime minister Rishi Sunak and controversial biologist Richard Dawkins.

Controversy arose in April after the Oxford Union announced that Stock, who has argued that self-ID of trans people “threatens a secure understanding of the concept of ‘lesbian'”, had agreed to speak just a couple of days before the start of Pride Month. It was almost immediately condemned by the university’s LGBTQ+ society, claiming Stock “has been campaigning against trans rights, labelling them as dangerous to women”.

On the day of the talk – May 30, conveniently coinciding with the release of Channel 4’s controversial documentary Gender Wars, also starring Stock – more than 200 people attending a protest on Bonn Square in Oxford city centre. Participant waved banners reading “resisting by existing” with chants of “trans rights – human rights” being bellowed, the Evening Standard reported. 

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“I wanted to protest in a way which would allow Kathleen to exercise her right to free speech, but which would ensure anyone attending understood the consequences of her arguments,” Possnett told PinkNews.

“Whilst many in the Union were angry and hurled abuse at me, the protest outside could be heard in the chamber, and knowing that so many brave queer young people were outside celebrating trans joy helped me get through it.”

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‘We will resist hatred, and we will fight for trans rights’

Trans activist and student Riz Possnett, who on 11 May handled being confronted with crude questions about their gender live on GB News, explained why they felt they had to take the action against Kathleen Stock.

“Kathleen Stock is not welcome here. TERFs are not welcome here. We will resist hatred, and we will fight for trans rights,” they said on Twitter.

“Trans people, including trans youth, deserve to live in peace, safe from bigotry and harassment, with access to life-saving gender-affirming healthcare.”

Possnett wrote that their protest aimed to argue against Stock’s beliefs and show that trans lives and rights should not be up for “debate”.

In their tweets they said their protest allowed those that listened to Stock to consider the “dangerous consequences of those views for trans people, particularly trans youth”.

Activist raises concerns over Kathleen Stock’s ‘anti-trans propaganda’

Riz Possnett’s tweets flagged Kathleen Stock’s “ideas around gender ideology”, asserting that although they respect her right to free speech, they are aware of the consequences of her “anti-trans propaganda”, claiming that Stock’s career has been build around “misinformation and fear-mongering”.

In 2018, Kathleen Stock has said that “many trans women are still males with male genitalia, many are sexually attracted to females, and they should not be in places where females undress or sleep in a completely unrestricted way”.

She has also said trans women should be banned from women’s single-sex spaces – something protected by the Equality Act 2010 – and argued that self-ID “threatens a secure understanding of the concept ‘lesbian’”.

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Activist Possnett went on to argue how Stock’s anti-trans rhetoric and “the broader media hate campaign” leads to trans people being “stigmatised, threatened, and harassed”. 

“Trans people are at higher risk of violence and of sexual violence. Suicide rates in trans youth are extremely high. A student who organised Oxford Trans Pride, a peaceful protest in response to Stock’s arrival, received a death threat in their post,” they wrote.

Activists signal their support of transgender rights during London Pride by waving signs reading "trans rights now."
Pride in London’s 2023 campaign aims to highlight the diversity and joy in the trans and non-binary community. (Getty)

President of the society, Amiad Haran Diman – who goes by the name Addi – previously told PinkNews about a death threat they received in the wake of the row. The death threat was immediately condemned by Kathleen Stock.

In concluding the tweets, Possnett went on to acknowledge grievance for trans siblings who have lost their lives on gender-affirming care waiting lists, been murdered, or died without having the freedom to live as their true selves.

They noted that they will “fight for trans rights and trans futures” where they envision “no more dead trans kids”. 

Their Twitter thread, which has been viewed more than seven million times, referenced the long waiting times faced by by trans people seeking gender-affirming care, which were ruled as lawful by the High Court.

The groups and individuals – four trans people, trans-led charity Gendered Intelligence and the Good Law Project – who mounted the chanallainge are set to appeal the High Court’s decision.

Kathleen Stock reiterated her belief that trans women are not women in an interview with the Telegraph on Sunday (28 May), but denies she is transphobic and – despite her gender-critical views – says “trans people should be afforded the full protection of the law”. She also said on an interview with BBC Radio Sussex today (31 May) that the suggestion her rhetoric is putting people in danger is “absolutely ridiculous”.

Oxford Union announced support and welfare resources

Kathleen Stock quit her role at the University of Sussex in October 2021 after being heavily criticised for her views on the trans community. 

In response to the LGBTQ+ society’s opposition to the talk, the Oxford Union announced it would offer support and welfare resources on the evening of the event.

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.

PinkNews has contacted Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society and a representative of Kathleen Stock for comment.

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