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NUS statement on the rise of transphobia in Academia

Transgender rainbow cubes

@nusuk statement on the rise of transphobia in Academia: Trans people, trans liberation, trans lives are not ‘contentious subjects’ 

Under the pretence of being “gender-critical”, NUS Liberation team have noticed the sharp mainstream increase of transphobia within academic institutions. The gender critical perspective is rooted in opposing trans people and trans liberation and is nothing more than trying to rebrand transphobia. The increase in transphobic discourse has been coupled by the government’s argument of free speech in Universities.

For example, a “Gender Critical Research Network” has been launched and approved by the Open University, whose senior leadership has be neutral, and therefore, has decided to be an accomplice of this blatant transphobia and bigotry.

This is not an isolated incident. LGBT+ delegates at our Liberation Conference 2021 discussed concerns about rising transphobia in many of their Universities – including transphobic rhetoric from staff targeted directly at students.

Recently, Stonewall launched their new strategy, re-affirming their support and active campaigning for trans liberation. In response, ‘gender-critical’ academics called for the boycott of the organisation’s Diversity Champions scheme citing issues around freedom of speech, as we say for example at Cardiff University.

Some might have expected the UK governments’ Equalities Minister to do her job and stand up for equality and against transphobia, but instead she seemed to have done the exact opposite and call for departments to also leave the scheme. It is very clear that while Stonewall and many organisations have shown their dedication to trans people, the government has, yet again, failed trans people and therefore, failed all of us.

NUS has, since its founding, supported and been at the forefront of student liberation and this is no exception. We unequivocally support trans communities, and join LGBT+ activists, campaigning organisations, and charities who are fighting for trans equality and call for all of the vice-chancelors who allow transphobia to thrive on their campus to apologise and resign immediately.




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