Transgender protests against Prof Kathleen Stock at Oxford Union

Professor Kathleen Stock addresses the Oxford Union

Transgender protests against Prof Kathleen Stock at Oxford Union Credit: Rebel Wisdom Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Transgender rights protesters gathered outside the Oxford Union yesterday, May 30, as Professor Stock, who has questioned the legitimacy of areas of the gender debate, arrived to deliver her address. 

Professor Stock, who wrote a book in which she questioned the values of gender identity against biological sex, was determined to make her address despite the need for a security entourage. Darren Grimes wrote on Twitter:

“Kathleen Stock had to turn up to a university in Britain with a fleet of security guards. Her crime? Being a feminist that believes in sex-based rights, the protection of single-sex spaces and a desire to see an end to the medicalisation of children. These thugs are the fascists!”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was keen to support her right to speak, saying on Twitter: “A free society requires free debate. @Docstockk‘s invitation to the @OxfordUnion should stand and students should be allowed to hear and debate her views. We mustn’t allow a small but vocal few to shut down discussion.”

Others though have described Professor Stock’s views as hate speech and protestors from the Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society marched from the centre of Oxford to the Oxford Union in protest at her appearance. There were peaceful but noisy protests, which interrupted the Oxford Union address.

Reactions to Ms Stock’s book Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism, caused her to leave her job at the University of Sussex in 2021. She believes in the importance of public debate on controversial subjects. 

Associate professor of sociology at The University of Oxford, Dr Michael Biggs believes that censorship on university campuses threatens everything that universities stand for but he has in the past had attempts to discuss and debate gender issues shut down.

Some protesters said that addresses like this one from Professor Stock attacked the very core of their rights as trans persons, but other voices would argue that to hear and discuss opinions you disagreed with is the only way to resolve differences and bridge divides.

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.