Riz Possnett, a trans rights activist, glued themself to the floor while wearing a “no more dead trans kids” t-shirt at a Kathleen Stock University of Oxford ‘debate’ on Tuesday evening. Fucking legend.
Riz said: “The consequences of Stock’s message and the broader media hate campaign are extensive. Trans people in the UK are stigmatised, threatened, and harassed.”
This is true. A Punching Up critical discourse analysis of MailOnline coverage of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill revealed that transphobic discourses run rampant through the publication, which is the most read online tabloid in the UK.
“I did not attempt to prevent Kathleen Stock from speaking. Whilst I believe her speech is dangerous and hateful, she is entitled to exercise her right to free speech. I chose to exercise my own Article 10 and 11 rights to peacefully protest this speech.”
Stonewall research from 2017 revealed that more than two in five young trans people have tried to take their own life and, while anti-LGBT bullying in Britain’s schools has decreased since 2012, almost half of all LGBT pupils are still bullied for it.
If you don’t know who Kathleen Stock is, then lucky you. The newest wannabe hotshot transphobe has been appearing all over the place, most dominantly on people’s TV screens in the Channel 4 documentary Gender Wars.
Kathleen is a- sorry, was a University of Sussex philosophy professor who resigned in 2021 after trans* students she made feel uncomfortable began protesting her employment. Kath has an OBE, despite the fact that more than 600 professors contested the accolade due to her transphobic takes on philosophy.
Riz said: “Kathleen Stock is not welcome here. TERFs are not welcome here. We will resist hatred, and we will fight for trans rights. Trans people, including trans youth, deserve to live in peace, safe from bigotry and harassment, with access to life-saving gender-affirming healthcare.”
While Oxford Union decided to platform Kathleen, other student societies have spoken against the decision.
The Leeds University Union LGBT Society (LUU LGBTSoc) said: “It is extremely disappointing that this society and other organisations are willing to platform people such as Kathleen Stock, who fuel the hatred and mistreatment of trans people.”
“While Stock may feel that protests are merely student shenanigans, we are proud of our peers for standing up for some of the most marginalised people in our society.”
In the past, Kathleen Stock has suggested that “trans women are still males with male genitalia” and that “many are still attracted to women” in an attempt to turn the existence of trans* people into a debate. I personally speak for Punching Up here. Trans women are women, trans* people exist, and there is no debate to be had on those facts.
Questions like “what is a woman” and answers like “an adult human female” are dog-whistles. The language of Kathleen Stock was one of the reasons she faced resistance at her job. The recently announced planned appointment of a “Direct for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom” means that people like Kathleen Stock, who promote harmful discourses to people who view them as authority figures, will be protected in their bigotry.
And that’s not an opinion, that’s just a fucking painful fact.
We cannot forget the real support behind Riz, though. LUU LGBTSoc said: “We fully support Riz Possnett’s protest, and hope that one day Stock’s intentionally dishonest campaign against trans people will no longer be tolerated by such influential groups.”
We have contacted Kathleen’s agent for comment. This page will update if we receive a reply.