We are writing to draw your attention to the issue of radicalisation of students in English Universities, especially radicalisation of those involved in the “incel” culture and transactivist opposition to women’s rights: specifically that women are being threatened for stating the protected belief – which most people hold to be an actual fact – that women are adult human females.
Most recently you might be aware of the activities of the Department of Gender Studies at the London School of Economics. As one example, I would draw your attention to the activity of one Masters student there, Matt Thompson. You can read his thesis here. This was presented in April and subsequently published under the LSE’s aegis. The author was invited to present it again at the university in June 2021.
The author’s chief inspiration is Andrea Long Chu, a sissy-porn enthusiast who defines femaleness as “an open mouth, an expectant asshole, blank, blank eyes”. The author decries the “imagined trans* threat” promulgated by “TERFs” like Janice Raymond and JK Rowling. He asserts: “If TERFs think trans* is an endemic threat to feminism, let us be the threat to feminism…Picture this: I hold a knife to your throat and spit my transness into your ear. Does that turn you on? Are you scared? I sure fucking hope so.” There is more in the same vein.
After details were published by Sex Matters (here) there was an immediate outcry on social media; some, including us, reported this as a counter-terrorism issue and others reported this to the police. The University then removed some of the materials but this is not the issue. The issue is that until that outcry took place, no-one at LSE appears to have seen this paper as problematic. Noone suggested a referral under the Prevent strategy. In fact, they thought it was creditworthy and worth presenting not once, but twice.
You might also be aware of the case earlier this month of Profesor Rosa Freedman, at the University of Reading, who has been hounded by students for expressing gender-critical views, to the point of receiving rape and death threats. This included a letter to her “hoping that someone kidnaps you and fucking tortures you for several days, killing you in the most painful and brutal way possible…” She is a public figure and appears not to have received support from her university to keep her even physically safe. She has now shut down her social media accounts.
We cannot imagine how it feels to be a woman student or member of staff in the HE sector, legitimately (after the Forstater case) holding the belief that a woman is an adult human female, knowing that universities implicitly and explicitly endorse violence in this way. It must be terrifying. It is bad enough, at this distance, to read such hateful, violent misogyny. What governance is in place to keep women safe, to preserve freedom of speech for those who oppose these extremist views?
Finally, we would add that we are not “transphobes”. Activities such as these do nothing to help trans people – they will only serve to “other” trans people, and are setting back the cause of trans equality. We look forward to hearing your views.