Make the woman crawl

Another apology extorted:

The vice-provost for education at Imperial College London, Professor Simone Buitendijk, has apologised for sharing anti-trans content on social media.

Buitendijk first offered her apologies to the university’s student newspaper Felix last Friday (May 10) in response to a letter by 86 members of the university’s staff and student body raising concerns about her “engagement with transphobic material and social media accounts.”

The letter referred specifically to Buitendijk following and ‘liking’ content from Twitter accounts belonging to anti-trans groups such as Transgender Trend—who campaign against supporting young trans people in their transition—and individuals.

That’s tendentiously, aka unfairly, worded. An alternative wording would be: “who campaign for supporting children and adolescents in rejecting gender stereotypes without resort to surgery or hormones.” The point is not a refusal to support young people but a disagreement about what is the best way to deal with gender nonconformity and dysphoria.

Most of the vice-provost’s social media activity relates to promoting women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, opposition to sexism and misogyny[,] and support for LGBT rights and related events such as LGBT History Month.

But a closer look at the content she engaged with revealed a certain hostility to trans rights activism.

Maybe that’s because trans rights activism is so thoroughly and aggressively misogynist and often so antagonistic to LGB rights.

Joanna Wormald, deputy editor of the Felix newspaper, collected more than 50 screenshots, spanning at least six months, attesting to the vice-provost’s social media activity.

Thank god for the Joanna Wormalds of the world, yeah?

Among the content that the vice-provost has since deleted was a tweet dated October 30 in which she shared an article from TheGuardian article titled: “UK universities struggle to deal with ‘toxic’ trans row.”

In her tweet, she wrote: “As a feminist, M.D. and child health researcher, I find the notion of sex being fluid and gender being biological, engrained and dichotomous deeply troubling. That does not contradict that as VP Education I should protect trans students’ rights. We need respectful debate.”

And that’s forbidden, is it? So forbidden that she has to be forced to delete it and apologize, and Pink News needs to report breathlessly on it as if she were a mass murderer?

There are more examples of her thought crime which to not-crazy people look like thoughtful analysis.

Josef Willsher, a third year Physics student at Imperial College, first discovered Buitendijk’s apparent support for anti-trans views in April, by accident—Twitter suggested he followed certain accounts due to Buitendijk following them.

“I wasn’t the first to notice that but I was the first to consider writing a letter. I thought as a student it was my responsibility to bring this up,” he told PinkNews.

He approached the university’s Physics LGBT Allies Network, which he had joined soon after the group was formed last year, asking for advice on how to proceed. A few days after the group began drafting the letter and looked for backers, word of their effort reached the college management, who decided to meet with the network to discuss their concerns.

Buitendijk was present at two meetings, engaging in the discussion that, at times, became “quite heated,” in Willsher’s words.

“We appreciated the quick response from college and their willingness to meet with us. It was reassuring to see how they had taken it seriously and the discussions were productive,” he said.

The student also said Buitendijk got in touch via email over the Easter weekend—which fell in between the two meetings—to express how thankful she was that they came to her and how it was important they could raise the issue.

While they agreed to a resolution, Willsher felt it was important to bring the issue to the attention of the wider community. The letter was published in the student newspaper alongside statements from the university publicly acknowledging the issue, as well as Buitendijk’s apology.

It goes on and on and on. It’s all sickening.

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