by UnHerd Staff
Thursday, 4
November 2021
Spotted
16:30

How trans activists reacted to Kathleen Stock’s resignation

Various outlets expressed horror, and even a sense of growing danger
by UnHerd Staff

The past month has seen a significant shift in media coverage of the trans issue, with several major outlets appearing to legitimise a more gender-critical viewpoint.

BBC Sounds released Nolan Investigates: Stonewall, a ten-part series revealing the cultural sway of the LGBTQ+ lobbying group, while the news arm of the same broadcaster published an article addressing lesbian critiques of trans activism. That was before Professor Kathleen Stock’s resignation from Sussex University, which led to a full half-hour interview on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour ahead of her more in-depth interview the same day at UnHerd.

To those on the more gender-critical side, this no doubt will feel like a breakout of common sense in a mainstream media that has hitherto been reluctant to pose difficult questions.

But how has this shift been received among trans activists?

We spent some time reading their reactions in their favourite media outlets, and the answer is: with horror, and even a sense of growing danger.

In an essay called ‘We need to talk about Britain’s transphobia problem’ in The Canary, Jacob Stokoe characterises this trend as part of a sinister growing threat to their own safety:

We have a transphobia problem, and it’s getting worse. Not just because of the frequency with which it’s happening, or the form it’s taking, but because of the legitimacy it’s being given by large scale bodies, including – most recently – by the BBC.
- Jacob Stokoe, The Canary

Describing it as a “growing movement of hate”, Stokoe adds:

What’s so scary about this new transphobic trend is just how much it’s growing. We, as trans people, have been fighting tooth and nail for basic rights. And with every tiny movement forward our efforts are met with such fury that we dared step out of line that we are pushed even further back. 
- Jacob Stokoe, The Canary

Pink News, meanwhile, has been quick to invert the apparent victimisation of Kathleen Stock by her university. The real victims are actually the activists who forced her out, writes Vic Parsons — they now “face harassment and discrimination.”

Specifically, according to Parsons, the discrimination is coming from faculty staff and lecturers, referring to a 2017 Stonewall report in which more than one-third of trans university students say they have experienced negative comments from staff.

An opinion piece published this week by Chrissy Stroop at OpenDemocracy went even further. She writes that, as an American transgender women, she would now feel frightened to visit the UK because of its growing reputation as “TERF Island” (TERF stands for trans exclusionary reactionary feminists).

In it she claims that the BBC’s podcast about Stonewall was more like a conspiracy theory from Alex Jones, and a transparent attempt to make queer people more vulnerable:

Divide and conquer is a classic authoritarian strategy, and right-wingers hope to weaken the LGBTQ community by scapegoating trans individuals in order to turn cisgender lesbians, gay men and bisexual people against us. Unfortunately, some supposed leftists, many of them queer, are willing to play this game.
- Chrissy Stroop, OpenDemocracy

The reactions to the past month of stories are totally opposed. Instead of coming closer together, the two sides of this ongoing controversy only seem to be growing further apart.

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Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago

Fighting for “basic rights”?
Total domination of what people are allowed to say or write is not a basic right.

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago

No matter what they are given, it will never be enough. They are in conflict with nature. It will never stop.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  JP Martin

They will not stop because so far they have got everything they wanted so easily.
The Blitzkrieg has been successful, they’re in Paris so why would they stop now? But wait – what are those faint frosty rumblings coming from the EastTERFern Front … ?

Heggs Mleggs
Heggs Mleggs
1 year ago

I’d love to know what basic rights they as a specific group don’t have. I’ve never been given a straight answer on that one.

Rose D
Rose D
1 year ago
Reply to  Heggs Mleggs

The right to compel everyone else to validate their internal view of themselves.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rose D
Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago
Reply to  Heggs Mleggs

That is something that is never spelt out, for the obvious reason that they have their full human rights like everyone else.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

Deep down transgender activists know that their life philosophy is completely skewed. They are like spoilt children who need to constantly be told how special they are and how bad they have it. It is a form of delusion brought about by a combination of narcissism and self-loathing. I harbor no ill will toward them, but toward the institutions that enabled their wrong-headed thinking and brain-sickly imaginings.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Farrows
J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Narcissism is a form of self loathing, so no need for the “and”. 🙂

Phil Bradbury
Phil Bradbury
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop
Last edited 1 year ago by Phil Bradbury
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Bradbury

The short answer is: excessive apparent self-love is an over-compensation for deep, repressed self-loathing.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 year ago

Interesting that Chrissy Stroop thinks that the UK is more dangerous than the USA. There are fewer trans murders/assaults over here. But people are allowed to say what they mean and that might hurt some feelings… Prof Kathleen Stock was hounded out of her job. Marion Millar was taken to court before commonsense prevailed. All because trans folks are sensitive wee souls…
Biological women are far more vulnerable, abused and harassed than trans people in the UK. But we are constantly told to shut up by trans folks and their allies. We have the evidence but are told it is wrong or the specimen is too small; by people who think it okay to use USA/South American data and sample studies of 27 young people!
It is time that the pendulum swung the other way and sensible debate begins, otherwise logic, science and commonsense will be totally lost and only emotion allowed in public debate in the UK and everyone loses out.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Sensitive? Or drunk on power?
The power to destroy lives.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Personally. I think that we should wear the label “TERF Isalnd” proudly.

Last edited 1 year ago by Linda Hutchinson
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago

They really are completely unhinged, aren’t they?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

Us Glassists understand the trans people’s being so angry at being denied the accepting of their reality. Having self identified as being glass I am appalled at how people will not treat me as being as prone to shattering as I am, and do not keep their distance and even touch against me in crowded places….

Glass delusion is an external manifestation of a psychiatric disorder recorded in Europe mainly in the late Middle Ages and early modern period (15th to 17th centuries). People feared that they were made of glass “and therefore likely to shatter into pieces”. One famous early sufferer was King Charles VI of France, who refused to allow people to touch him and wore reinforced clothing”

IT IS NOT A DELUSION – IT IS REAL, GET BACK!

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

That is terrible. Presumably people see straight through you so they don’t believe there is a real glass person by the side of them. And if two of you Glassists stand in the window you have Double Glazing.

Aldo Maccione
Aldo Maccione
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

double glassisting

David Guest
David Guest
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I think you’re being a little too “glass half empty” on this point

Julia H
Julia H
1 year ago

The absurd reactions of trans activists, and particularly the inversion of victimisation, reminds me of what happens every time there is an Islamist terror attack in the UK. Lots of fretting in the usual quarters about how terrible this will be for peaceful Muslims who will be bound to suffer a backlash (they never, ever have but that fact mustn’t get in the way of the narrative). Trans activists seem obsessed with their own ‘safety’ while being entirely dismissive of women’s equivalent concerns about their own safety. It’s all about them, although I suppose that’s par for the course for people who expend so much energy obsessing about themselves.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julia H
Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
1 year ago

Bully and intimidate till the cows come home, but you’re not women.

James Joyce
James Joyce
1 year ago

To those on the more gender critical side….
First, enough already with trans. Treat ALL people with respect–at least initially–and let’s keep calm and carry on.
Second, what does that quote even mean? Does UnHerd discuss science with:
To those on the gravity side….
To those on the earth is flat side….
To those on the alchemy side….
To those on the god is real side….(OK, I’ve lost some of you, deliberately provocative, but hey….)
There are 2 genders, male and female, maybe in rare cases there is some genetic or physical confusion. If some people want to pretend to be something else, treat them with respect, support them, stay out of their way, even embrace them, but don’t turn society on its head because a bunch of nutters scream loudly and hector everyone.
I have nothing but contempt for the lack of resiliency in the people quoted. The entire UK is not a “safe space” for trans people–so don’t come. Hide under the bed–it’s safer there.
I challenge UnHerd commentators to call me out–I thought you said treat everyone with respect–doesn’t sound like it! Come on, mate! Most of my interaction with trans people has occurred at the poker table. I–everyone really–treats this person with respect, though not with great admiration because she is not a great poker player. She’s treated on merit, as it should be. Fair play!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I basically agree – but you made a wording mistake that may confuse things. You should have said “There are 2 *sexes*, male and female.
There are two sexes (biology), and the one you have does not change.
Most societies have two genders (social roles), but a few human societies have three, and a few societies let you change, and/or let you have a (social) gender that does not match your (biological) sex.

Your meaning is clear, but this stuff is (deliberately) rather confusing, so the more precise the better.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Amongst the major contradictions of trans ideology and gender ideology is though the ideology claims there are multiple genders, it also claims that a transwomen is a woman. Were trans people a separate gender there would be no problem.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Or we could accept that people can be women by gender / social role, but still male by sex, set some reasonable hurdles for transitioning, and then sort out area by area whether distinctions should be by sex or gender. People would have to drop the ‘Trans women are women!!‘ though.

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

These semantic differences will have no meaning now that the words are being divorced from physical reality and the logical categories dissolved. What exactly is ‘trans’ once we dissolve gender/sexual categories? If we are to believe these lunatics, there is no real barrier to transgress. It’s all fluid, non-binary, or contingent on feelings, etc. It’s not even possible to have a sensible discussion if we accept any part of their absurd framework.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
1 year ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Okay, I’m going to pull you up on this James for a category error. Gravity, the spherical earth, the uselessness of alchemy are all scientifically provable. The existence of God is, at the time of writing, neither scientifically provable or unprovable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Judy Englander
Ricki Tarr
Ricki Tarr
1 year ago

You don’t agree with me ergo you are a dastardly person.

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ricki Tarr

Yes, I have been called a ‘fascist’ and a ‘Nazi’ for rejecting ‘inclusive language’. These people are terrorists.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Sorry, I must pick you up here. I don’t think the term “terrorism” should be degraded. If you have any information about trans-activists being involved in bombings, shootings etc then I stand corrected. What they are are self absorbed bullies, and I do wonder whether it is nothing more than a power game that they’re playing because they seem to get more and more extreme – they really can’t believe what they’re saying, can they?

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago

Terrorism uses both violence and the fear of violence. Inspiring fear in the public is usually more important to terrorists than actually harming the direct object of their violence. The indirect target is the public. These crimes are intended to influence the public; we are their real audience (“propaganda by the deed”). The threats against Kathleen Stock were sufficiently credible that she was forced to hire bodyguards and have special security systems installed at her home. The police are convinced that these were credible threats and that these people were prepared to take direct violent action.

Last edited 1 year ago by JP Martin
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Fair point.

Andrea X
Andrea X
1 year ago

Divide and conquer is a classic authoritarian strategy, and right-wingers hope to weaken the LGBTQ community

i don’t understand why they don’t just drop the LGB and just keep the T (not sure about the Q, as I don’t understand what it means).
Also I would want to ask jacob Stoke about what he is quoted to have said:

We, as trans people, have been fighting tooth and nail for basic rights.

Such as?
Housing? Schooling? Healthcare? Using female toilets?

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago

These very tiresome people expect all of humanity and nature to bend to their insane desires. The only appropriate answer is ‘no’.

Keith Jefferson
Keith Jefferson
1 year ago

For marginalised groups to campaign for equal rights is a noble cause. To demand that their rights should trump the rights of other groups is narcissism. To claim that those who merely question their arguments are committing acts of violence against them is paranoia. To demand that others change their fundamental beliefs to accommodate their demands is coercion. To force those who do not conform to their belief system out of their jobs is McCarthyism.
If the trans lobby were just campaigning for equal treatment where they feel it doesn’t exist, I would listen to and consider their arguments. But we should not give any time to the narcissistic, paranoid, coercive and McCarthyite mob that is currently dominating the trans debate.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
1 year ago

Well put sir.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago

Politicians, Trades Unions, Universities, Publishers, etc. are all now just as terrified of being accused of transphobia as they are of accusations of racism. In the immediate future, their terror will dominate how their decision-making.
Superficially, a lot of the heat generated by this issue concerns identifying the boundary line between what constitutes a “reasonable” expressions of opinions and hate. But the confected outrage of some of the activists suggests that, actually, they are not interested in winning hearts and minds. Rather, they see their expression of outrage as an effective way of keeping in thrall the leaders of Civic UK.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Francis
David Morley
David Morley
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

So the tactic of radfem anti trans activists will be to make them more afraid of being called sexist or misogynistic than they are of being called transphobes. 🙂

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago
Reply to  David Morley

That’s dead right! But there is an essential preliminary step for ANY group that wants to adopt this tactic: first, the group must cast itself in the role of victim. This is required because the one thing that we all love is a victim.

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
1 year ago

I see the problem as folk negating the reality of biological sex.

There are a miniscule number of babies born with indeterminate sex.

However, the vast majority of babies are able to be allocated to either sex by determination of their genes in every cell of their body.

In the biological sense, people should accept that some boys and men are e.g. “wilting wallflowers”; while some girls are aggressive fighters. As the latter, I was brought up as a tomboy. I studied Mathematical Physics at University, did my own car maintenance, and became an engineer.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ann Ceely
David Morley
David Morley
1 year ago
Reply to  Ann Ceely

Ann – you sound like me, in that my objection to the trans position is theoretical – I just don’t think they are right about the facts of human biology.
Like you, I think, I see the traditional sex stereotypes as far too restrictive, and it’s good to see them loosened up.
But a girl who mountain bikes or rock climbs is no less a girl – she’s just a girl who rock climbs. It’s her personality, and a loosening of gender roles has set her free to do what she wants.
It’s a kind of obvious feminism that almost everyone can agree with. But some feminists, and after them some trans activists, have turned this into a ridiculous ideological battle ground.

David Morley
David Morley
1 year ago

I can understand why trans activists might feel like this, but I’m afraid they are victims of their own overreach. If they had simply asked for more tolerance they most likely would have got it.
They’ve learned a lot of tactics from the feminist movement, but one thing they don’t seem to have learned is that extreme activists eventually alienate their own mainstream support.
We can only hope that perfectly reasonable trans people don’t bear the brunt of hatred stirred up by people who are little better in their attitudes than some of the trans activists.

David Morley
David Morley
1 year ago

the same broadcaster published an article addressing lesbian critiques of trans activism

But why “lesbian” critiques, as if more mainstream critiques are simply to be ignored, and only when a group with its own victim brownie points speaks up is it ok to take notice.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago

I’m not overly impressed that one third of trans students have experienced negative comments. I thought pretty much everyone received a negative comment or two as they went through life.

David Morley
David Morley
1 year ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

A good point. Whenever we are told of the suffering of others we really do have to make comparison with the normal levels of suffering which are simply a part of life – and which we simply have to expect people to deal with.
Lots of things in life hurt, and it is utterly impossible to remove all of them.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

I’ve listened to Nolan’s Stonewall podcasts and this is the best piece of objective investigative journalism in the U.K. for at least a decade.
It should be required listening for all those employers who are collaborating with Stonewall to crush the rights of women and lesbians.

Michael Chambers
Michael Chambers
1 year ago

For those trans activists, everything in life is a fight for rights and there are only winners and losers, good guys and bad guys. They have no tolerance of old people who imbibed the moral values of their generation when growing up say in the 40s and 50s. There has to be space for everyone in the moral debate.