Kathleen Stock: 5 tips to keep transactivist troublemakers quiet

The lecturer forced to resign for saying that biological sex exists explains how to deal with harassing transactivism: just like a mother dealing with a wayward child or rebellious teenager. An ironic guide to saving your life
Please be aware that the translation of contents, although automatic, has a cost to Feminist Post but is provided to you without any charge. Please consider making a contribution via the "Support us" page if you intend to use our translation service intensively.
The contents of this site are translated using automatic translation systems without the intervention of professional translators.
Translations are provided for the sole purpose of facilitating reading by international visitors.
Share this article

Philosopher Kathleen Stock became known outside academic circles after being forced by threats and defamation by transactivists to resign from her professorship at the University of Sussex for expressing critical views on gender identity (see here).

While similar cases happen all over the world, including Italy and Europe (see here e here), in Anglo-Saxon countries the teachers organise themselves to fight against the censorship of gender critical feminism.

In the article we present Kathleen Stock uses one of the most powerful weapons against all authoritarianism: irony.

From her experience Kathleen Stock draws 5 tips on how to talk to 'troublemaker transactivists' we might find in our path. In a nutshell: like a mother struggling with a tantruming child or a rebellious teenager.


It will not have escaped the notice of those who carefully observe that something about modern transactivism seems to make certain adults, in other respects functional according to Gillick* expertise, tend to have childish behaviour. From recent intervention of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to clarify the legality of single-sex spaces under theEquality Act, until the government's announcement not to criminalise what is tendentiously called 'conversion therapy' for people with 'discordant' gender identities, it seems that Every time an obstacle is placed in the path of transactivists, general despair breaks out, with dramatic statements and breath held until nausea.

Given the extreme nature of activists' ambitions - essentially, refounding the English language so that no one can refer specifically to males and females in any context any more - one might assume that they would be a little more prepared for a possible tough challenge. But not so - each new challenge is perceived as an incomprehensible and devastating attack which, inevitably, causes a lot of melodrama.

What generates such infantile regression in the followers of the new 'gender religion'? In part, the answer seems to have to do with the example given by Stonewall. For years, the association has acted like a frenzied primary school teacher who suddenly becomes a scoundrel, inciting all kinds of misbehaviour in those within his sphere of influence. Through the use of an elaborate 'gratification' graphic - otherwise known as UK Workplace Equality Index - sowed a fgeneral misunderstanding within hundreds of institutions on the actual state of equality law. It scared people with gruesome stories of murders, suicide threats and hate crimes such as the "misgendering" (using pronouns of a gender other than 'preferred', Ed). No wonder the more susceptible are getting so worried.

The latest example of Stonewall's moral leadership was a couple of weeks ago, when it was revealed that the organisation's abstention from the LGBT rights conference Safe To Be Meplanned by the government, will cost taxpayers at least £650,000, and probably more. Having previously been paid to co-organise the conference, the declaration of withdrawal of Stonewall was peppered with the usual propaganda: broken hearts over the government's U-turn on conversion therapy, shattered trust, and so on. One would think that the government has just announced compulsory heterosexuality for all, and not simply a pause in legislation that threatens to criminalise talking therapies for people questioning their gender, including homosexual teenagers who risk embarking on a medicalised path they might later regret.

Many of those fighting the Stonewall agenda are mothers - or as the maternity hospital where I gave birth twice would say, 'pregnant people'. As many mothers know, it is important to have some strategy ready when things get tough. So - with solidarity for beleaguered adults everywhere who are dealing with the transactivist drama in their organisations, homes and groups of friends - here is five rules in supernanny style, from me.

1 - ENCOURAGE THEM TO USE THEIR OWN WORDS

As with children, in transactivism there is a lot of shouting and cackling and strutting, but not much thinking. The next time a transactivist intones a mantra or slogan approved by Stonewall, Kindly encourage him to use his words and explain what he says. For instance, you might ask: if every male who feels like a woman is a trans woman, and trans women are women, what then is a woman? Don't be put off by furious complaints that you would be bigots for asking such a question - this is just a diversion not to answer you.

Similarly, one could ask them: whether, as Stonewall tells us, "to be 'non-binary' is to exist outside the boundaries and expectations of society", what does this mean for the countless gay people who have spent their lives facing discrimination and sometimes violence because they do not correspond to heterosexual norms? How does having a particular haircut compare to this?

Or if, as the new Stonewall campaign in favour of 'asexuals', a 'grey-sexual' is someone who "may experience sexual attraction very rarely or only in specific circumstances", while "'demisexual' people only experience sexual attraction after developing a strong emotional bond with someone", then in effect, most of us are not 'grey-sexual' or 'demisexual'? And more precisely, why all this involves a lavishly paid political campaign by taxpayers?

2 - PRAISE THE GOOD

When educating offspring, it is important to positively reinforcing correct behaviour. This can be an effective strategy, in general, for people of difficult character. Transactivists often claim that they want to break down retrograde stereotypes of how males and females should behave and appear. If this is the case, tell them that this is a really great thing! Praise them highly for this - although you might also ask them how they plan to break down stereotypes, as they seem to believe that playing with dolls and wearing female clothes can turn a male child into a female.

3 - SETTING LIMITS

This seems to be particularly difficult for transactivists to accept, since they tend to think that all those who set limits or stakes are fascists. Start by casually saying things like 'apples cannot be oranges' and 'tables cannot be chairs'. (In case they get angry and start calling you 'fruit police' or 'furniture police', ignore them and proceed calmly.) Finally, work your way up to talking about males and females in non-human species on earth: 'deer are not hinds', 'bulls are not heifers', and so on.

Once this information is well tolerated, gently introduce the idea that humans are also a sexually dimorphic species; and that, as with other species, we need mutually exclusive names for the two human sexes in order to be able to speak clearly about them. And after this radical idea has taken root, perhaps you could start talking about other kinds of limits and stakes as well.

For example, one could talk about the physical boundaries of women's changing rooms and dormitoriesand what these boundaries should actually do to protect their occupants from male predation. Or one could talk about the personal boundaries of women who say they do not want men in the public spaces where they undress. At all times during this process, use examples. A firm and consistent 'no' could be useful.

4 - IGNORE DERAILMENT ATTEMPTS

Children like to copy what you just said and repeat it back to you ("no, YOU are!"). Sometimes they do it just to annoy you. Other times, it is because they want to argue an argument but don't know how, so they parrot a version of what you just said in the hope that it will work. Similarly, some transactivists like to take the themes launched by gender-critical feminists (gender critical) and relaunch them, only slightly changed.

For example, feminists gender critical often express concerns about the lack of protection in self-identification (Self-ID) policies, and the negative effects of such policies on female survivors of male sexual violence. Not to be outdone, last week my former colleague and fervent transactivist professor Alison Phipps wrote on TwitterWhen I go to a public toilet I am incredibly vigilant - I scan every woman I meet and ask myself if she is a 'gender-critical feminist'. Their obsession with what's in everyone's trousers is frightening and as a woman cis e survivor, it makes me feel very insecure'. Now, either this shows a level of paranoia on par with Q-Anon's concerns about 'reptilians' in the White House, or is it a not subtle attempt to provoke feminists gender critical.

Or take University of Berkeley 'professor' Grace Lavery, currently in the UK promoting on Woman's Hour a new book about his penis, and on which he gave at University College London a conference entitled "The critical gender movement is the greatest threat to academic freedom in the last generation". I was told that in the speech, my name came up - you know, that former professor who was harassed for saying that biological sex matters - as someone who is supposedly personally responsible for the recent serious losses of freedom of thought in the academies.

As with the more childish version, the nonsensical reversals ('no YOU are') such as those of Phipps and Lavery risk dragging you into unnecessary back-and-forth, which presumably, is their real intention. Try not to get involved. Do what mothers have been doing since time immemorial and pour yourself a nice gin. Take a sip and read this piece wonderfully warm, insightful and witty English scholars Christopher Castile and Christopher Reed, written in response to Grace Lavery's attempt - you know, that 'professor' who is very keen on protecting academic freedom - to delete them in 2018 for allegedly allowing 'transphobic fascism' in their writings. (Their alleged crime, according to Lavery, was to defend the use in some cases of birth names and real sex pronouns. And the attempted deletion was eventually successful.

In particular, as you read Castile and Reed's piece, dwell on these premonitory words: "What we too often face in university academies today is something that looks less and less like activism or erudition and much more like a acting-out adolescent. Now that scientists have decided that adolescence - a newly invented identity closely associated with advanced capitalism - persists into the third decade of human life, perhaps we should not be surprised to see behaviours associated with adolescents proliferating, being tolerated and sometimes even encouraged within educational institutions. To be specific, adolescent' is defined as the furious response to the discovery that others do not perceive you exactly as you would like to imagine yourself to be'.

5 - GET THEM OUT IN THE OPEN AIR

This last rule is quite simple. Get your transactivist troublemaker away from the screen or phone and into the fresh air. Inhibit the flow of crazy statements coming into innocent minds from LGBT organisations and blue-checked accounts on Twitter. Encourage them instead to run around, take off their shoes, splash around, get muddy and sweaty, and generally reconnect with their physical body and the natural world.

And if there is a member of the opposite sex, why not encourage them to arm wrestle or have a throwing contest? Both might learn something interesting. Perhaps this teaching could also fuel subsequent conversations about the presence of 'trans women' (biologically men) in women's sport.

* La Gillick competence is a term used in English medical law to decide whether a child under 16 is capable of consenting to his or her own medical treatment, without the need for parental permission or knowledge.

Translation by Angela Tacchini

Original article here


Much of the news published by Feminist Post you will not read elsewhere. That is why it is important to support us, even with a small contribution: Feminist Post is produced solely by the voluntary work of many people and has no funding.
If you think our work can be useful for your life, we will be grateful for even the smallest contribution.

You can give us your contribution by clicking here: Patreon - Feminist Post
   - or -
You can send to: ASSOCIAZIONE CULTURALE BLU BRAMANTE
Obligatory reason: FEMINIST POST
IBAN: IT80C0200812914000104838541
You might also be interested in
27 September 2022
Feminism and the Right
In response to Julie Bindel, who considers the wall erected by the transactivist left but also the risks of an alliance with the right: in Italy, the historical novelty -a right-wing woman premier, Giorgia Meloni- further complicates the picture. What to do then? What is happening in Spain over the horrible Ley Trans perhaps points to a good way forward for everyone
Julie Bindel and Harvey Jeni take the bull by the horns: given that for too long there has been no possibility of dialogue with the left, can radical and gender-critical feminism look to the right without taking risks? This is a theme that we in Italy are well aware of and that agitated the entire election campaign that ended with the landslide victory of a right-wing woman, Giorgia Meloni, who has never declared herself a feminist. The fact that today the right in Italy is [...]
Read now
24 September 2022
SPAIN: SOCIALISTS AGAINST THE TRANS LEY
Unlike their Italian counterparts from the PD and the left who stand for free gender identity, the Spanish progressives break with the PSOE's transactivist policies in defence of women and children. In their manifesto the excellent arguments against what, if passed, could be the worst transactivist law in the world
Breaking with its party, the PSOE, and sending a signal to the women of the European left, who are generally aligned in defence of transactivist diktatism, the Federación de Mujeres Progresistas launches a courageous manifesto against the Trans Law wanted by the governing majority in Spain (PSOE and Podemos) and being approved by an emergency procedure, without an effective parliamentary debate or a wide public discussion. The initiative also comes in response to the clamorous break between historical Spanish feminism -united in the Contraborrado cartel- [...].
Read now
21 September 2022
RU486 or abortion pill: myths, misunderstandings and business
Chemical abortion is sold as more free and self-determined, but it is not the solution for everyone: it is longer and more painful than surgery, sometimes less safe, and mostly serves to save the health system money, as the essay by three American feminists explains. Women must be guaranteed the right to be informed and to make an informed choice between the two options: here is a bill to make hospitals work
A few days ago we published 'When abortion matters to men'. In the post we mentioned the various methods of involuntary termination of pregnancy, including the abortion pill RU 486, also known as 'chemical abortion'. Chemical abortion is spoken of as a step forward in self-determination. Younger women in particular can get confused between 'morning-after' contraception (which must be taken within 72 hours of risky intercourse) and the abortion pill, with which pregnancy can be terminated up to the ninth week. [...]
Read now
14 September 2022
Perhaps gender identity does not exist
If it is the biologist Anna Fausto-Sterling, the first to speak about it in the 1990s, the inspiration of Judith Butler and the founder of gender theory, who is in doubt, then perhaps we are at a clamorous and definitive turning point. Stop trans laws before it is too late!
If Judith Butler is The Queen of Gender, Anna Fausto-Sterling is its goddess: zoologist, biologist and lecturer in gender studies -now at Brown University- starting from the rare genetic condition of intersexuality in the early 1990s, she was the first to attack the concept of sexual binaryity, arguing that sexuality is a spectrum and that at least five sexes can be identified ('come on, it wasn't a theory, I was being ironic, it was just a provocation' she later said. But in vain). [...]
Read now
11 September 2022
Trans-Europe: Ireland, UK, Spain, gender laws high on political agendas
While the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss works to block gender self-certification in Scotland, the Iberian government prevents the parliamentary debate on the Ley Trans, which allows sex change even for 12 year olds, to go for approval in a hurry: that is why Spanish feminists break with the left and open dialogue with the Popular Party. Meanwhile in Ireland a professor is arrested for refusing to use fluid language
A teacher at an Irish Christian school, Enoch Burke, was suspended and then arrested for refusing to name a transgender student with a neuter pronoun. Meanwhile, new British PM Liz Truss is reportedly trying to block Scotland's plans to allow self-identification for transgender (self-id) people and has asked lawyers for advice on how to 'pause or prevent' the reforms. Truss, head of the equalities brief as well as a former foreign minister, was instrumental in ruling out [...]
Read now
12 August 2022
Italian Society of Paediatrics: stopping puberty in dysphoric children does not cause permanent problems. But several studies prove otherwise
UK, Sweden, Finland, USA: much of the world is up in arms against puberty blockers that can irreversibly damage the health of girls and boys. The Tavistock clinic in London is closing down, a thousand families are preparing for a class action in defence of their daughters and sons who have not been properly treated, many American paediatricians are attacking their trade association which is pushing for the administration of these drugs. But for the Italian paediatricians' society these problems do not exist
According to the Italian Society of Paediatrics, the effects of puberty blockers used to treat girls and boys with gender dysphoria are perfectly REVERSIBLE: this means that if the girl/boy changes her mind about her intention to 'change sex' and suspends the 'therapy', her development will resume normally, without any definitive effects and/or health problems. This is not the case at all. The effects of puberty blocker therapy are by no means 'completely reversible', as has been demonstrated by several [...]
Read now
1 2 3 ... 38