Scholarly resources on trans equality and academic freedom

Published On: October 20th, 2023

Here you can find a few scholarly resources on academic freedom and on trans issues that are relevant to our cause.

Contents

Academic Freedom / Trans-Inclusive Feminism / Trans Panic / Stonewall / Kathleen Stock

Academic Freedom

Amia Srinivasan (2023) “Cancelled: Amia Srinivasan writes about free speech on campus“, London Review of Books.

“No doubt it can be painful, infuriating or upsetting to be called a racist or a bigot or a sexist or a transphobe. Most of us would find it horrible to be told that we aren’t worth engaging with, that our views are socially unacceptable or merely a function of demography. But that it is painful to be on the receiving end of such remarks doesn’t mean that one’s own rights to ‘free speech’ are thereby imperilled; it might simply be a reminder that speech can wound.”

Grace Lavery (2021) Grad school as conversion therapy: ‘Free speech’ and the rights of trans and non-binary people on university campuses. Chapter 15 of, The Free Speech Wars, C.L. Riley (Ed.), Manchester University Press.

“[S]ome academics have attempted to frame the practice of deadnaming trans academics and students as a question of ‘academic freedom’. This chapter responds in order to attempt to establish a baseline protocol for scholarly discourse with trans and non-binary students and faculty – both in research and in teaching – and to encourage other faculty to sign on to such a protocol. That protocol is: no, deadnaming and misgendering are not acceptable scholarly practices, and no, they are not covered by the principle of academic freedom.”

Trans-inclusive feminism

Catherine A. MacKinnon (2023), “A feminist defence of transgender sex equality rights“, Yale Journal of Law and Feminism. (Warning: This piece is sex-work-critical in ways that are not widely endorsed by feminists, but makes a number of novel arguments for trans inclusive feminism.)

“In other words, women’s oppression is enforced through gender, specifically gender hierarchy, a social and political, not biological, arrangement. On the technical meaning of sex as physical and gender as its social meaning, sex is equal. Gender is unequal. Women are not men’s biological inferiors; we are constrained to be men’s social inferiors. This power division, not our bodies, is what makes women a political group and the women’s movement a political movement.” (p.90)

Aleardo Zanghellini (2020), “Philosophical problems with the gender-critical feminist argument against trans inclusion“, Sage Open.

I start by explaining what the reforms to the U.K. system of gender recognition propose, why gender-critical feminists oppose them, and how other feminist academics have responded to their arguments. I then offer a more detailed philosophical critique of gender-critical trans-exclusionary feminist arguments. I argue that the gender-critical feminist case against trans women’s access to women-only (or sex-segregated, or single-sex) spaces suffers from a number of fallacies, and introduces modes of argument that are at odds with well-established and sound uses of practical reason.

Talia Mae Bettcher (2017) “Trans Feminism: Recent Philosophical Developments“, Philosophy Compass.

“This article introduces trans feminism as an intersectional analysis of sexist and transphobic forms of oppressions as well as current and historical feminist and trans conflicts over the inclusion of trans women. The first half examines recent feminist philosophical efforts to provide an analysis of the concept woman that is inclusive of trans women. The second examines recent responses to trans-exclusive feminist positions. The article concludes with an assessment of the current state of trans feminist philosophy and outlines challenges for the future.”

Leslie Feinberg (2013) “Transgender liberation: A movement whose time has come“, Chapter 16 of, The Transgender Studies Reader.

“This pamphlet is an attempt to trace the historic rise of an oppression that, as yet, has no commonly agreed name. We are talking here about people who defy the ‘man’-made boundaries of gender.”

Trans Panic

Craig McLean (2021), “The Growth of the Anti-Transgender Movement in the United Kingdom: The Silent Radicalization of the British Electorate”, International Journal of Sociology.

This article examines the development of anti-transgender debates within the United Kingdom, which have gained traction due to proposed amendments to the country’s Gender Recognition Act (GRA). A group of determined lobby groups, taking their lead from like-minded organizations in the United States, has protested vigorously against the proposed changes to the GRA, especially with respect to “single-sex spaces”. As a result of this furor, the lives of transgender people have become the subject of open debate.

Mikey Elster (2022), “Insidious Concern: Trans Panic and the Limits of Care“, Transgender Studies Quarterly

“this article highlights the racist, nationalist, and reactionary undercurrents motivating the current trans panic in the United States.”

Claire Thurlow (2022), “From TERF to gender critical: A telling genealogy?

“I will explain the rebranding as an attempted claim to legitimacy with an aim of accruing mainstream support. However, exploration of the two changes will show that, despite efforts to obscure the point, gender critical feminism continues to rely on transphobic tropes, moral panics and essentialist understandings of men and women.”

Stonewall

Lisa Power (2023), “We founded Stonewall amid a moral panic: History is repeating itself“, openDemocracy.

“As someone who went through Section 28, I know when I see a moral panic being whipped up by the mainstream media. People who hated us in the 1980s characterised lesbians and gays as paedophiles who wanted to convert children – the so-called ‘gay agenda’. And that claim is back, with news stories today about ‘the trans agenda’ and trans people.”

Gina Gwenffrewi (2021) “The stoning of Stonewall during the new trans panic“, UCU report.

“Stonewall has increasingly become a collateral target of the U.K legacy media for its refusal to abandon its advocacy of trans rights. This study analyses how the Guardian’s coverage has contributed to this attempted delegitimization of Stonewall, specifically in terms of its selection of key words and omission of key information in its coverage of the charity.”

Kathleen Stock

Dr Kathleen Stock OBE, a former philosophy professor at the University of Sussex, is a prolific exponent of gender critical and anti-trans views in UK media and in scholarly work. LSE Interim President Eric Neumayer is reported to have said in his September 2023 speech to all new LSE staff, “I have met Kathleen Stock, and I see her point.”

Below we identify a few more considered perspectives on Kathleen Stock’s philosophical claims.

Deborah Shaw (2022) “A tale of two feminisms: gender critical feminism, trans inclusive feminism and the case of Kathleen Stock“, Women’s history review

I want to consider Stock as a totemic figure for a trans-hostile media, and discuss the way her case has been used to spread misinformation around universities, and trans people. My focus here is on trans women as those on the receiving end of most gender critical hostility. I examine the way the concepts of debate and free speech have been unquestioningly weaponised in large parts of the British media. I consider the national platform given to Stock, but not to trans people and trans inclusive feminists, and I challenge the impression given in large parts of the media that gender critical feminists are speaking for all women and all feminists.

Adam Briggle (2021) “Which Reality? Whose Truth? A Review Kathleen Stock’s Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism“, Book review for Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.

“[A]t every crucial political juncture, she doesn’t think protecting the safety and dignity of transgender people outweighs the ‘potential costs’ of altering the social norm. Stock is most concerned about a teeming horde of violent ‘transsexual pretenders’ who might rush into the nihilistic void created by gender identity policies. Yet the book has no systematic scheme or scale for weighing different harms or assessing the likelihood of such a social collapse.”