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Kathleen Stock Row Over Transsexuals Continues as Investigation Looms.

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Kathleen Stock: Professor who resigned over trans rights 'witch-hunt' joins  new US university | UK News | Sky News

The Kathleen Stock affair continues.

Raising Prof Stock’s case in the upper chamber, Labour peer Lord Hunt of Kings Heath said: “She has been vilified by colleagues, abused by students, unsupported by a union and really let down by a university, which was far too late to defend her.

Other academics in many other universities are facing similar abuse, particularly women, for basically gender critical views.”

He added: “However much legislation you have, you need to have confidence in our universities to show some strength in defending their academics. What is the Government going to do about that?”

University to be investigated after Kathleen Stock forced to quit. The Argus (Brighton).

At the beginning of this month Sráid Marx (An Irish Marxist Blog set out a highly recommended set of summaries and reviews of three important books on the Transgender issue: Three books on Transgender politics (1 of 4) – Material Girls.

Outlining Kathleen Stock’s Material Girls he notes an approach to one of the main issues at stake. It does not appear unreasonable. You can agree or disagree.

..she sets out what she thinks is a “more helpful and detailed account” that involves, for a misaligned female gender identity, a strong psychological identity with a “particular female or with femaleness as a general object or ideal.”  This, she says, “fits well with first-hand testimonies about experiences of gender dysphoria.”  She argues that it does not then have to result in the medical and surgical intervention demanded by some trans activists.

She defends the traditional concepts of what a woman is and its necessary employment for how we live, including its importance for other concepts that are important, such as mother, daughter, lesbian etc.  She notes the radical revision to our understanding of concepts if adult human males could be considered as mothers, sisters and daughters, and adult human females considered as fathers, brothers etc (although some advocate removing words such as mother).

But in order to be trans-inclusive this would have to be the case.  And if this was the case, it would require new words, for example, for those who are not only mothers but also adult human females etc., although these new words would also necessarily be trans-exclusive.  A new word for lesbian would be required not only to denote same-sex attraction (if ‘sex’ is understood as equated to gender and not biological sex) but sexual attraction to those with a female body.

The issue of language is a relevant one. It can be seen how the fashion for new, non-binary, words has reached France.

French speakers remark that this pronoun is a nightmare for all kinds of reason, starting with grammer: how is it conjugated for 3rd person  pronoms disjoints, eux, elles? What happens to the accords of gender in reflexive verbs in the third person, ils se sont frappés, elles se sont frappées? Iel se sont Frappé(e)s Iel se sont frappé.e.s (you cannot do a “point médian” that is a stop in the middle between two letters, with ease on most keyboards (example of its use, « les salarié·e·s »).

But I pass that over for the simple reason that languages grammatically coded for gender are not the same as English ‘natural’ gender. So in French a recruit (that is, say, for the Army) is always une recrue (feminine) while amour is masculine in the singular and (still in older literary French) feminine in the plural… More obviously nobody (though some researchers, after a great deal of trying to find it, talks of a vague feminine association for some words) thinks of a Table as a female because it is La Table.

No doubt things would not have got so fraught in what apparently some on the US left call ‘TERF Island” were it all about row involving what somebody from a different philosophical tradition demanded, to ” rectify the names” to make words correspond to reality. (Rectification of names. Confucius). But as this interview in the Times indicates, a lot more has come to be at stake.

Many of the statements Kathleen Stock makes are reasonable, though one can certainly disagree with them, until she comes out with ones which are not.

The Times Interview (Extracts) commences well.

Here is a good starting point:

“Just as Stock was coming out, postmodern gender theory was migrating from US and British campuses into public policy. In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler asserts that the concepts “male” or “female, “man” or “woman”, are not scientific categories but social constructs. From this the trans writer Julia Serano extrapolated the concept of “gender identity”. “Being a woman” is a nebulous inner feeling unconnected to biological sex.”

Stock saw the attraction of these theories. “It means we can change reality through our words alone. That’s a sexy idea. It also places philosophers at the heart of everything because they get to produce the ideas that generate the world.” But Stock had been schooled in female biology by her physiologist mother, Jane, who drew reproductive diagrams to explain periods. (Stock’s sister is a research obstetrician.) She was appalled that gender theorists didn’t care about the real-world consequences of their ideas. “Their minds slide away when you say, ‘Yes, but hang on a minute. There are male rapists in women’s prisons because you changed the categories.’ ”

Male Rapists in Prisons does not sound to most people as something designed to further calm discussion.

This gives a flavour of her views, something which is equally (surely?) contentious.

Following that first blog, Stock was interviewed in the Brighton Argus where, discussing single-sex spaces such as changing rooms, she noted that the vast majority of trans women retain male genitalia. “This is a fact,” she says, “but it was treated as the worst thing I could possibly say.” (Stock’s friend, Professor Mary Leng, calls such a statement of unacceptable truth a “reverse Voltaire”: ie “I agree with what you say, but I’ll fight to the death to prevent you from saying it.”)

There again it is hard, even for the softest hearted, to feel much sympathy with those doing this.

“That’s where everyone at Sussex’s ears pricked up.”Academics, especially in English and gender studies, began to organise. The chair of the LGBT staff network – “where I was trying to make friends as a new lesbian!” – petitioned against her. “It was very hostile.” Students formed a Facebook group to discuss how to get her fired and faculty members would post in solidarity. Blogs compared her support for single-sex spaces enshrined in the Equality Act to Jim Crow segregation. Open letters condemning her passed from desk to desk and friends would come under intense pressure to sign. When Stock organised a staff-student forum, trans activists leafleted to try to stop her speaking. In January, when Stock was made an OBE, 600 philosophers signed a denouncement.

“Did anyone ever argue with her in person? Stock laughs. “They come up to your bosses. They write to your managers. They used every bureaucratic mechanism against me. But it was very passive-aggressive. It was never, ‘I disagree with you. Let’s argue about it.’ When Stock challenged her most vocal academic opponent to a debate, “She said that my position was beyond rational discussion.”Over three years, campus life grew ever more toxic. Many times Stock resolved to step back and say nothing. “But I would go to bed and just fume until 4am then get up and write a blog defending myself. I’d press send and feel an enormous catharsis. I had to keep meeting every blow.” Moreover, her Catholic upbringing made her feel this “no debate” trans activism was a form of religion. “It involves special holy days, ceremonies, rituals, mantras and performing acts of ritual self-abnegation. I can see it completely.” Which frames Stock as a heretic.”

Perhaps things pass me by but one has yet to witness this here, no doubt in remote places like Ipswich (an hour from London on the train).

One leaves this to those familiar with the milieu to respond to this, which on the face of it sounds dreadful.

She was still convinced her logical arguments would persuade fellow philosophers. “But that didn’t happen because the men were all, ‘I’m not going anywhere near that.’ And the women were all, ‘Heretic! Burn her!’ It’s women who have really pushed the persecution.” Why? “Partly because in academia now there’s a career incentive to virtue-signal, to promote yourself as an ethical activist figure.”

If the previous comment about “holy days” is an indication “logic” is not her only weapon.

As lockdown began, Stock started to write Material Girls, which seeks to analyse gender theory using philosophical tools. It is so unflinching you can see why some are incensed. Stock compares trans identity to an “immersive fiction”. She insists she is not saying a male living as a woman is “deluded or lying or there’s anything wrong with this. You’re participating in an activity that can be really life-enhancing. However, it also has limits. And there is a difference between fiction and truth.” Stock points out she taught trans people throughout her career, always using their preferred pronouns. “I’ve had emails from former trans students saying, ‘I respect and support you. Thank you for everything you did for me at Sussex,’ and, ‘Your class was my favourite.’ ”

This is the kind of thing, dramatic effects removed, that makes you wonder about some people’s ability to make fools of themselves,

Material Girls was published in May, but it was not until October, when in-person teaching resumed, that protests intensified. Stock started noticing stares as she crossed campus, how colleagues stopped talking when she approached. “Trans flags appeared on faculty doors. There were lots of rainbow masks… Performative compensation for the mere presence of me.” Then an Instagram group called Anti Terf Sussex formed to plaster the campus with posters and stickers, let off flares, protest in masks at an open day. Until Stock was sacked, they said menacingly, “You’ll see us around.”But it was the statement from the University and College Union that finally made her quit. The university’s outgoing vice-chancellor had firmly supported her academic freedom (far too late, says Stock) but the UCU instead declared its support for trans students’ right to protest and, while opposing “summary sacking”, refused even to state her name.

Tired of confrontation, she has no desire to return to British academia since every university has “people like those at Sussex, who’ve got a light in their eyes, who want social justice according to a very narrow conception that does not involve employing me”. She has agreed to be a founding fellow at the University of Austin, along with other heterodox thinkers such as Bari Weiss, Steven Pinker and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But this new institution is at the “nascent germ of an idea” stage, and she’s received a one-off sum but not a salary and won’t move to Texas.

I have yet to find a newspaper article about Stock in French….yet.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 20, 2021 at 2:17 pm

25 Responses

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  1. Well considered piece

    Nick Wright

    November 20, 2021 at 2:57 pm

  2. I’m not surprised you haven’t encountered these trans crazies in Ipswich, it’s a very tiny percentage of the population. Is there an active gay scene in Ipswich? I don’t think most gay people are that supportive, except for the vague ‘!I’ve and let live’ feeling, they don’t really have the same interests. I am confused about your article, you keep making snide remarks but I can’t tell if they are aimed at Dr. Stock or the transfanatics. I would also like to suggest that this sort of hysterical persecution of a target is typical of small communities such as a universities. It is a fact that the overwhelming numbers of people identifying as their non non-gender have not had ‘bottom’ surgery, as they call it. I personally feel a female identifying male should not be allowed into female spaces, especially prisons and hospitals, unless s/he has had his genitals removed. As for females identifying male, it’s up to them if they want to take their chances in a male enviro ent.

    Sue r

    November 20, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    • I have never encountered militants but I have encountered transsexuals here. One I know well enough to tell me about their operation, unasked, in detail. I have even met a gay woman who talked of her wish to become, anatomically, a man. I would not stoop to calling them mad.

      Stock has amongst other things, a tendency to come out with, sometimes, a very non-analytical line of rhetoric on the issues. It is highly provocative.

      Not as much as, say the Gender Theorist who talked of genocide, or the US types who speak of TERF Island, but pretty raw stuff.

      Andrew Coates

      November 20, 2021 at 4:25 pm

  3. Meanwhile, Labour has been trying to discipline one of its activists, Gilbert House, for the hate crime of saying that only women experience the menopause. See https://twitter.com/gilbohouse/status/1461007802307072005
    …while Ellie Mae O’Hagan of the CLASS ‘think’ tank denies any knowledge of GCSE biology and claims that anyone who does is a liar:

    Gender identity ideology wrecks anything it touches. In the case of the Labour Party, it makes the party look like a cult of reality-denying lunatics, every bit as batshit as the little sects you feature for fun on this blog. Come the next election, the Tories will milk this topic mercilessly to attack Labour. And Labour will be unable to deflect these attacks without tearing itself apart in the process. It will be a fascinating process to observe. It’s just unfortunate that we happen to live in the country where this experiment in self-immolation is taking place.

    Francis

    November 20, 2021 at 4:41 pm

  4. If I remember correctly, Dr St k may have called the Transfanatics ‘deluded’, but no more so than role playing fans ie cos play. What these people have is an ‘unjustified false belief’, unjustified because if you refer to the external world, they are not physiologically the opposite of their natal sex. If you don’t want to hold the external world up as a yardstick, fine, but then I would point out that I believe I am the Queen of Sheba and I demand 5,000 years of backpayment in tribute. As for the CLASS woman, I was unfortunate enough to hear her say on morning TV that she did not know what the definition of a woman or a man was, are we expected to take these people seriously?

    Sue r

    November 20, 2021 at 5:09 pm

  5. Some say Labour has started its reverse ferret, with the decision about the person mentioned above being overturned, and ‘administrative errors’ blamed. But I agree with the above poster that Gender identity ideology wrecks anything it touches. It has contributed to the destruction of the US left for a long time, and will be partially to blame if the Democrats lose crucial ground in the midterms.

    A Canadian tweeter, Eliza Mondegreen writes Why is trans activism such an effective instrument of division within the Left and destruction of women’s rights, yet such a poor vehicle for delivering actual services and protections that trans people need?

    Andrew, I can see why you think Stock’s comment on male rapists in women’s prisons isn’t calming the waters. I don’t start with those type of topics when trying to talk to new people about this issue. It seems sensationalist and designed to make people think badly of transwomen.

    But – it’s literally true.

    Male rapists, including child rapists, are being put into women’s prisons in California and some other American states, in Canada, Ireland and the UK. These are not mostly transsexuals who have made modifications to their bodies. These are males who say they are as women – that is literally the entrance requirement to women’s spaces where Self ID is in law. As you now know, transsexuals who make modifications to their bodies are now a small group compared with the males who call themselves transgender on the basis of Self ID.

    Stock is right that it’s the class who doesn’t go to prison, sitting comfortably in elite universities, who make the decisions that mostly impact on working class women, who have fewer alternatives to the prison, refuges, psychiatric hospitals, shelters etc where these policies fall with the most impact.

    Why should the women currently suffering in these circumstances be ignored in case it brings embarrassment to the trans cause?

    Self ID removes the most basic safeguarding measures and it’s rejected everywhere that people come to understand what it means. It should be rejected by the trans rights movement.

    It saddens me that Stock has got involved in the Austin U but it’s inevitable that some will drift to the right as long as the left refuses to deal with this.

    https://womansplaceuk.org/2021/07/07/womens-prisons-male-transgender-prisoners/

    https://womensspaceireland.ie/articles/all-it-takes-is-a-grc-how-a-man-can-be-sent-to-a-womens-prison-in-ireland/

    RD

    November 20, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    • It’s complicated. In California, a prisoner claims that: “heterosexual men are manipulating your efforts by now claiming they “identify” as a woman to come to CCWF and CIW. These male convicted rapists and pedophiles have now impregnated two women in CCWF and allegedly one in CIW in the few months they’ve been here. That has been verified.”

      I’m not sure if and how this has been verified, as they provide no citation. Nevertheless, it is certainly true that the most common form of transgender rape in California prisons is that of transfeminine people assaulted in men’s prison’s. So getting at the truth at creating justice might mean literally “thinking outside the box” and creating more decarceral solutions, standing up much for Queer Liberation, while at the same time definitely protecting queer and straight inmates in the women’s prisons. Social Justice is for all- anything less is just not socialist.

      American Dream

      November 20, 2021 at 6:58 pm

      • It’s not very complicated. The problem of violence against gender nonconforming males (ie transwomen and gay men, etc) by other men, inside or outside of prisons, isn’t one that women can solve. Men need to do it. It’s serious gaslighting and whataboutery to address the issue of male prisoners raping women in women’s prison by saying ‘we need to think outside the box’. Make it safe for gender non conforming males in your own spaces, stop using women as human shields.

        RD

        November 20, 2021 at 11:55 pm

        • I don’t buy it. You may be thinking in terms of a false dichotomy that I don’t share- there are more choices than locking up transgender people as a minority within either prison for sure- but throwing trans people to the wolves (i.e. not protecting them from rapists) in men’s prisons with a “let God sort them out” attitude as a response to concerns in women’s prisons seems like a heartless, if not hateful, response. Thinking outside the box about the whole Carceral System seems better to me.

          American Dream

          November 21, 2021 at 12:05 am

          • I think trans and other vulnerable prisoners absolutely need to be protected from male violence. I also think we can’t expect the state to protect anyone in prison. But there is no solution that involves making women’s prisons, or the other few spaces where we require separation of the sexes, into mixed sex spaces.

            RD

            November 21, 2021 at 12:27 am

  6. Posing the question as one of “Womanhood” is such a set up for the gender essentialists as to be rather a dodge- a dodge from the most glaring social justice issues. Queer people- of whom only a percentage are classic “trans women” want/need various things including but not limited to: toilet access where they can safely use the facilities, equal rights to housing, to live free of physical assaults and social shaming, the right to be open about who they are and celebrate their cultures without stigmatization, to live without employment discrimination, to not be exploited in the sex industry, to have social recognition for all the things they are rather than a narrow group of stereotypes, to be free to choose their destinies and to change them if they so choose just as anyone else does, to be accepted as people- included not rejected from families of origin, churches and religious communities, fraternities, social clubs and cultural events, et cetera, et cetera.

    In a better world, in a more socialist society, this would all be true. In a better world, in all our socialist movements, this would all be true and Queer Rights would surely be recognized as central to Human Liberation. No ifs, ands or buts.

    American Dream

    November 20, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    • “Posing the question as one of “Womanhood” is such a set up for the gender essentialists as to be rather a dodge- a dodge from the most glaring social justice issues”. So true. I wish the gender essentialists – those who believe in ‘gender identity’ – would drop the commitment to the quasi religious mantra ‘trans women are women’ and address the actual needs of dysphoric and gender non conforming people. You’ll find few people on the left who disagree that queer or any other people need the things you outline. But not a human right for male people to have access to every space set aside for women, who are oppressed on the basis not of their gender but of their sex.

      RD

      November 21, 2021 at 12:01 am

  7. Andrew Coates

    November 20, 2021 at 8:58 pm

  8. If those transgender sctvitists want to peacefully picket JK Rowling’s house, I don’t actually see anything wrong with that. Let’s face it, I imagine she has a fair bit of ground surrounding it and they are not doing any harm. Neither do I go d anything unacceptable in the basic demands that American Dream outlines, and I don’t think Dr Stock would either. Where we differ is over the issue of whether transwomen can legitimately call themselves women. I would also like to point out that there have been cases of sexual assualt by transwomen who still possess male genitals in English women’s” prisons. Also, most of the trans prisoners are serving time for sexual crimes, which does suggest some deep-seated psychological problems.

    Sue r

    November 20, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    • snap. I agree except that there’s no way of knowing which of ‘trans’ prisoners in for sexual assault are truly ‘trans’ and which are just men taking advantage of a massive recently loophole. I tend to think it’s more likely to be the latter, but there is literally no way to tell the difference, under Self ID.

      RD

      November 21, 2021 at 12:04 am

      • * massive recently created loophole

        RD

        November 21, 2021 at 12:05 am

        • This is why I say it is necessary to “think outside the box”. The inherent cruelty of such logic is beyond the pale and it is in no way socialist to me. Equally so, Transphobia is not socialist, neither is it feminist.

          American Dream

          November 21, 2021 at 12:40 am

  9. What does ‘truly trans’ even mean? How intense do your feelings of gender dysphoria have to be before you are ‘truly trans’? The whole concept is entirely subjective, unknowable, and therefore unsuitable for use as a basis of public policy. Where it is necessary to discriminate on the basis of sex – such as in access to certain spaces or certain types of healthcare – then the basis of the discrimination should be none other than sex, i.e., the anatomy and physiology of an individual’s reproductive system. In all other respects, your rights and duties relate to your status as a person, regardless of what sex you are or what gender you perform.

    Francis

    November 21, 2021 at 12:56 am

    • yes, well said

      RD

      November 21, 2021 at 9:39 am

      • Is that a concern of anyone besides transphobes? I never ever hear any of my queer friends and neighbors talking in any such way. We all accept who each other is without question, as a matter of basic human respect- but not a one of ’em insists “I am a man” or “I am a woman” in any sort of quasi-absolute essential sense. That is just not our lived experience in this neighbourhood. Such people may possibly be in another neighbourhood where for example, folks turn tricks on the street- I don’t know- but ‘truly trans’? There is no pedigree to be obtained, everyone is accepted just as queer as they are, visibly or not. Bigotry is not very socially acceptable around here.

        American Dream

        November 21, 2021 at 9:57 am

  10. What AD really wants is incarceral reform. Be honest instead of using womens’ rights as a battering ram.

    Sue r

    November 21, 2021 at 10:23 am

    • Sure, questioning the whole damn system is the order of the day in the Gulag Archipelago of the United States which of course has the highest prison and jail population and the highest incarceration rate in the world. We need to stop the Racism, the Class War, Queer Hatred and War on Women, children and others as enforced through the Prison Industrial Complex. Transphobia is just one piece of a big, ugly picture.

      American Dream

      November 21, 2021 at 10:35 am

  11. According to CNN the biggest threat in America is ‘angry white men,’. Personally, I’m not to keen on angry black, brown, yellow men or women who behave violently. But, that’s just me. The American media do ?ove there hyperbole.

    Sue r

    November 21, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    • Well, the far Right is a problem- and that means threats of violence from the settlers, historically useful to the ruling class. They are symptoms more than cause and violence is American as apple pie.

      American Dream

      November 21, 2021 at 1:02 pm

  12. So, how does that explain endemic civil ear in many African nations?

    Sue r

    November 21, 2021 at 5:15 pm


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