12:46, October 16 171 0 theguardian.com

2018-10-16 12:46:06
Academics are being harassed over their research into transgender issues

We represent a newly formed network of over 100 academics, most of whom are currently employed in UK universities. We are concerned, from a range of academic perspectives, about proposed governmental reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, and their interaction with the Equality Act.

Our subject areas include: sociology, philosophy, law, criminology, evidence-informed policy, medicine, psychology, education, history, English, social work, computer science, cognitive science, anthropology, political science, economics, and history of art. This week, following an opportunity offered to us by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, we have submitted to the consultation a number of letters, outlining, as individuals, concerns about the introduction of self-ID for gender reassignment.

We are also concerned about the suppression of proper academic analysis and discussion of the social phenomenon of transgenderism, and its multiple causes and effects. Members of our group have experienced campus protests, calls for dismissal in the press, harassment, foiled plots to bring about dismissal, no-platforming, and attempts to censor academic research and publications. Such attacks are out of line with the ordinary reception of critical ideas in the academy, where it is normally accepted that disagreement is reasonable and even productive.

Many of our universities have close links with trans advocacy organisations who provide “training” of academics and management, and who, it is reasonable to suppose, influence university policy through these links. Definitions used by these organisations of what counts as “transphobic” can be dangerously all-encompassing and go well beyond what a reasonable law would describe. They would not withstand academic analysis, and yet their effect is to curtail academic freedom and facilitate the censoring of academic work. We also worry about the effect of such definitions on the success rates of journal submissions and research grant applications from governmental bodies such as the AHRC and ESRC.

We maintain that it is not transphobic to investigate and analyse this area from a range of critical academic perspectives. We think this research is sorely needed, and urge the government to take the lead in protecting any such research from ideologically driven attack.

Professor Kathleen Stock, Philosophy, University of Sussex

Chetan Bhatt, Professor of Human Rights, Sociology, London School of Economics

Professor Rosa Freedman PhD, LLM, LLB, Professor of Law Conflict and Global Development, Director Global Development Division, Co-Director United Nations and Global Order Research Programme, University of Reading

Professor Sophie Scott, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL

Professor Alice Sullivan, Sociology, University College London

Professor Jo Phoenix, Chair in Criminology, The Open University

Professor Jackie Cassell, Head of the Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Kathleen Richardson, Professor of Ethics and Culture of Robots and AI, Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, De Montfort University

John Gardner FBA, Professor of Law and Philosophy, All Souls College, Oxford

Professor Judith Suissa, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Michele Moore, Patient Safety Academy, University of Oxford

Professor Sian Sullivan, Centre for Environmental Humanities, Bath Spa University

Professor Debbie Epstein, Professor of Cultural Studies in Education

School of Education, University of Roehampton, London

Richard Byng, Professor in Primary Care Research, University of Plymouth

Professor John Collins, Philosophy, University of East Anglia

Professor PM Higgins, Honorary Research Fellow, Royal Holloway University of London; former Professor of Music, University of Nottingham; former Käthe-Leichter Visiting Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Vienna

Sheila Jeffreys, Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne

Professor Leslie Green, Philosophy of Law, Balliol College, Oxford

Dr Michael Biggs, Associate Professor in Sociology and Fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford

Dr Diane Brewster (Retired. ex University of Sussex and Open University)

Dr Susan Matthews, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Department of English and Creative Writing, University of Roehampton

Dr Clare Chambers, Reader in Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Dr Stephen Cowden, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Coventry University

Dr Catherine Butler, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Bath

Dr Mary Leng, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of York

Ms Georgia Testa, Teaching Fellow, School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science, University of Leeds

Dr Rosalind Barber, English & Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dr Sophie Allen, Lecturer in Philosophy, Keele University

Dr Paul Sagar, Lecturer in Political Theory, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London

Dr Julia Jordan, Department of English Language and Literature, UCL

Dr David Pilgrim, Honorary Professor of Health and Social Policy, University of Liverpool

Dr Rosie Dias, Associate Professor, History of Art, University of Warwick

Dr Maureen O’Hara, Senior Lecturer in Law, Solicitor, Coventry University

Dr Eva Poen, Lecturer in Economics, University of Exeter

Sian Hindle, Senior Lecturer, School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University

Dr Holly Smith, UCL Institute of Education

Dr Lesley Semmens, Senior Lecturer (retired), School of Computing, Leeds Beckett University

Richard Garside, Director, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Open University

Dr Jane Clare Jones, independent scholar

Dr Jo Waugh, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, York St John University

W Burlette Carter, Professor of Law Emeritus, The George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC

Professor Alex Byrne, Head of Linguistics and Philosophy Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr Ruth McGinity, Lecturer in Educational Leadership and Policy, Institue of Education, UCL

Professor Emeritus Robert Jensen, School of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin

Dr Kathryn Oliver, Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Dr Sophia Connell, Philosophy, Birkbeck College London

Dr Liz Guy, School of Computing, Engineering & Mathematics, University of Brighton

Dr H. Susana Marinho, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, University of Lisbon

Dr Heather Brunskell-Evans, Academic, Writer and Political Commentator

Dr Laura McGrath, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of East London

Dr Mike Hannis, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Humanities (Ethics and Sustainability), Bath Spa University

Doctor Emma Hilton, University of Manchester (honorary)

Dr Holly Lawford-Smith, Senior Lecturer in Political Philosophy, University of Melbourne

Dr Rupert Read, Reader in Philosopher at UEA, and Chair of Green House

Dr Patrick Turner, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Bath Spa University

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