Trans activists fail to shut down PM-backed Oxford Union event

An attempt by transgender activists to silence the gender-critical views of Professor Kathleen Stock OBE at an Oxford Union event has failed.

Intervening ahead of the talk at the historic debating society, Rishi Sunak said that a ‘vocal few’ had no right to shut down ‘free debate in a free society’.

Hundreds of activists sought to derail the event on Tuesday, after Oxford University’s LGBTQ+ society urged the society to ‘no-platform’ the senior academic, branding her “transphobic” for upholding the reality of biological sex.

‘Totally internal’

Professor Stock told those gathered in the Union debating chamber: “What I think is crazy is to try and have laws and policies based on what is essentially something totally internal, that no one else can see”.

“Trans activism tells us all the time, ‘no one can tell you what your gender identity is, only you can know’, and we’re supposed to accept what someone says about their gender identity as soon as they say it”.

She added that “if that is the basis on which people are getting access to certain spaces where women are vulnerable, or sports teams, or short lists, or whatever it is, it’s just way too open” to wrongdoing.

A tolerant society is one which allows us to understand those we disagree with

Free to disagree

Backing the author and philosopher’s right to freedom of expression, the Prime Minister said: “University should be an environment where debate is supported, not stifled. We mustn’t allow a small but vocal few to shut down discussion.”

He continued: “Agree or disagree with her, Professor Stock is an important figure in this argument. Students should be allowed to hear and debate her views.”

Mr Sunak added: “A tolerant society is one which allows us to understand those we disagree with, and nowhere is that more important than within our great universities.”

The Prime Minister is expected to appoint free speech champion Professor Arif Ahmed to the newly created role of Director for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom in the near future.

Academic integrity

When The Oxford Union refused to bow to LGBTQ+ society demands to censor Prof Stock, the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) severed its ties with the debating society and banned it from the freshers’ fair.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, more than 40 academics “wholeheartedly condemned” the decision by the OUSU to censure the Oxford Union.

The academics stated: “Professor Stock believes that biological sex in humans is real and socially salient, a view which until recently would have been so commonplace as to hardly merit asserting.”

Commending the Union for not capitulating to “moralistic browbeating”, the signatories scorned the idea that Professor Stock’s views “are so illicit that they cannot be safely discussed in front of an audience of consenting and intelligent adults”.

Also see:

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