Follow these 8 thousand simple rules

Kathleen Stock juxtaposes academic freedom and UK universities’ policies on The Trans Question:

The Education Reform Act 1988 describes the need “to ensure that academic staff have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges they may have at their institutions”. Most UK university statutes contain a similar clause.

Keeping that in mind, consider those policies.

Leeds for instance:

“Think of people as being the gender that they self-identify as.”

Er – no. A university might as well tell its staff to think of people as being the nationality or species or profession or celestial body that they self-identify as. People’s individual private hidden unverifiable personal thoughts about themselves are just that, and it can’t be anybody’s business to tell us to share those thoughts, because it’s impossible. We’re all locked into our own heads. We can’t verify other people’s thoughts about themselves for them, and that’s all there is to it. The expectation that we can and that we must be told to do so is grotesque.

“A person should be addressed and referred to using the pronouns which make them feel comfortable. This could be he, she, they, per, hir or other pronouns. If you are uncertain, either listen to what pronoun others are using or politely ask what they prefer, for example “Hi, I’m xxx and I use the pronouns he and him. What about you?” Encourage others to use these pronouns too and if the wrong pronoun is used, apologise quickly and move on.”

This is grown-up professionals telling other grown-up professionals to do this nonsensical conversation-clogging absurdity. In a university.

“If a trans person informs a staff member that a word or phrasing is inappropriate or offensive, then that staff member should take their word for it, and adjust their phraseology accordingly”

I can’t see how that could go wrong at all.


“Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of their own gender and what feels right for them. This might be male, female, non-binary, genderless, or some other gender identity. All gender identities are equally valid” [NB: bold is theirs].

This is a university policy, for the staff – not a game for children. It’s baby talk, but it’s official policy.

There’s a lot more. It’s all just bonkers.

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