Today in "the new settlement has no space for women's humanity," a university professor has been warned to stay away from campus after gender ideologue students renewed their campaign for her to be sacked, warning that they would escalate these protests until the university capitulated to their demand.
On October 5, just before giving a lecture on campus, philosophy professor Kathleen Stock found stickers in the women's toilets accusing her of "transphobic shit." To protect herself, she moved her talk online.
The following morning, Stock found the underpass leading to campus covered in posters demanding her termination. The posters read "We're not paying £9,250 a year for transphobia," and "Fire Stock… whose salary comes from our pockets." Another poster featured a trans flag-colored venomous snake with the distinctly fascist-sounding caption "We are only safe together."
"The tunnel was bustling with students and staff. When I saw my name, I stopped dead. It was like a terrible stress dream," the professor said.
Suffering a panic attack, Stock headed for home, just missing masked figures letting off smoke bombs beside a sign reading "Stock Out."
A menacing new Instagram account, Anti Terf Sussex, stated: "Our demand is simple: fire Stock. Otherwise you'll see us around."
Stock has since been signed off sick, suffering from a nervous breakdown.
Some commentators judged that it's fine for people to engage in potentially criminal harassment of a woman if her research makes them feel uneasy in a way that calls into question the legitimacy of their ideology, and characterized the professor—not the students making threats and letting off smoke bombs—as an "extremist."
Tom Canham, founder of Drag Queen Story Time, suggested that the radicalized students were right to "feel unsafe" because Stock objected to men using women's toilets, misrepresenting this as an objection to men accessing any toilet facilities on campus, and a "welfare" issue. Notably, he was unconcerned about Stock's welfare.
Various respected public figures—most of them women—stood with the professor.
It is not the first time that there has been a co-ordinated effort by transgender ideologues to get the philosopher professor fired from her post.
Kathleen Stock is the analytic philosopher specializing in gender theory who, in 2018, entered the conflict between women's rights and the claims of men who consider 'woman' to be an identity available for them to toy with. She has given evidence in Parliament and was awarded an OBE for services to her profession.
One academic at the same institution, art historian Francesco Ventrella, tweeted in support of the radicalized students.
Other academics at Sussex kept a low profile, saying nothing in defence of the principle of academic freedom, nor of Professor Stock's right to do her job free from harassment.
Under pressure from campaigners for women's rights and free speech, on October 7 the university's Vice Chancellor Adam Tickell issued a statement in support of the professor's employment rights and academic freedom.
On October 12, Sussex Union issued a statement to all of its members "in support of Trans and Nonbinary Communities at Sussex." It said that they "strongly condemn all forms of transphobia," and "urge our management to take a clear and strong stance against transphobia at Sussex."
Union leaders Chris Chatwin, Rumy Hasan, Malcom James and Rob Fidler claimed that a commitment to "ensuring the dignity" of "trans and nonbinary staff and students" was "inexcusably absent" from the Vice Chancellor's statement--as though the students issuing threats were somehow victimizing themselves by potentially breaking the law.
Notably, there was nothing in the statement about their paid-up subscribing member, Professor Stock, whom they accused of "instrumentaliz[ing]" employment rights and academic freedom for the purpose of "devalu[ing] the lives of trans and non binary people"—an Orwellian twisting of language if ever there was one.
This is a quite extraordinary claim, that a woman subject to alleged criminal harassment in the workplace somehow brought the harassment upon herself for the purpose of wounding a small demographic of people who are in denial about their sex, and about the fact that their sex poses a statistical risk to women.
There is a word for that political move: victim blaming. The left purports to be against it, on principle—except when the victim happens to be a woman smeared as a "terf." Women are not responsible for the actions of men who choose to abuse them. The responsibility lies solely with the abuser, in this case the transgender ideologue students and their institutional enablers.
Despite all of this, the union went on to claim that it values academic freedom and safety in the workplace, all the while, fueling further victimization of the professor. They called for an investigation not into student radicalization and escalating threats of violence, but into so-called "institutional transphobia."
The professor briefly returned to social media to complain that the union had "effectively ended" her career at Sussex University.
So much for "solidarity."
The union denied outright that the professor has been made extremely vulnerable, in a material fashion, by the threats of the students and the slowness of the University to act. She has been advised to stay away from campus, or to bring private bodyguards if she attends her place of work, so that the radicalized students have the run of the place.
Should the university fail to expel the students responsible, the message will be very clear: any academic who engages in "wrongthink," as defined by hard left students, is on their own. The bullies will hold the institution to ransom, and the victim will have to cope however she can.
This would be a disgraceful dereliction of the university's obligation to its teaching staff, and to those students who are not on board with the hard left agenda.
The irony about trans ideologues' decision to target Stock is that she accepts individuals' right to live their lives according to the tenets of that ideology, as long as men do not access women's spaces, and as long as children are not transitioned to the opposite sex. Her work exhibits an ultra-liberal tolerance of men's public autogynephilia, a tolerance which many ordinary women find themselves instinctively—or on the basis of bitter experience—unable to share.
As such, one would think that trans activists would welcome Stock with open arms as an ally to their cause of expressing their "sexual identity" freely in all public settings, without societal shaming. Not so. It should be apparent, by now, that only 100 percent capitulation to the escalating irrational demands of trans extremists can save a career. Even then, one need only put a foot wrong one time to find that former allies will viciously turn on you.
The cardinal thoughtcrime, to transgender ideologues, is to acknowledge that sex is binary and immutable, and that it matters in many arenas of daily life. That is the bare fact they find intolerable, and will go to extreme lengths to punish anyone who asserts it. The expression of that fact is what they mean by "transphobia."
Properly understood, a phobia is an irrational response to something that can't harm you. Men harm women every day, in staggering numbers. Is it really unreasonable for women to fear and mistrust men who pretend to be us, demand access to the spaces where we are most vulnerable, appropriate our resources and regularly express extreme and violent levels of contempt for our sex?
Forgive me if I dismiss the whole concept of "transphobia" as a totalitarian attempt to control what people think and say, a gaslighting exercise that serves to coerce women and children into giving up their perfectly legitimate and much-needed boundaries.
Similarly, to be fearful of child sterilization performed by clinicians such as Marci Bowers MD would seem to be a perfectly legitimate and merited response.
Cries of "transphobia" are no more than an increasingly ineffective attempt at though control by political actors who must be beginning to realize that the general population are reacting unfavorably to their sex denialism, their entitlement, their untreated mental illness and compulsive boundary violations.
By way of illustration, consider the Berkeley literature academic Grace Lavery, a biological male who identifies as transgender and uses female pronouns, who enjoined Berkeley to sever links with Sussex University over its failure to summarily sack Kathleen Stock.
Lavery wrote that there was an "escalating crisis" in the UK, which Lavery described as a "global movement to suppresss and exclude transgender people from all areas of civil society." What Lavery objects to is the prospect of potentially, at some point in the not-too-distant-future, having to keep her autogynephilia a private matter instead of a fetish Lavery is enabled to indulge in the workplace while teaching young people.
Is it really such a bad thing that men with paraphilias should have to "suppress" their compulsions at work, so that other people are not unwittingly harassed and enlisted as sexual props? That's nothing like conversion therapy: it's just basic consideration for other people—for women, especially, who are expected to pander to the AGP man's pursuit of 'gender euphoria', otherwise known as a sexual kick. Women should not be prostituted in the workplace like this by gender identity laws.
What we are also seeing in this episode is the negative consequences of the marketization of universities. Students are now paying customers, and the customer is king. We witnessed a similar dynamic at Evergreen State University, where hard-left students used the concept of racial equity to steer the leadership, harass academics and get them sacked.
Those academics who survived the cull at Evergreen, as well as those keeping a low profile at Sussex University, would probably have thrived in the German Democratic Republic where uncritical obedience to Communist party dogma was the price of sustaining a career. Of course, that regime didn't end well, so perhaps we should breathe a sigh of relief that neither the US nor the UK is a totalitarian one party state.