Materials will positively represent

Sussex University yesterday issued a new policy which has some rather tricky elements.

The University of Sussex has today (Tuesday 20 November) published a Trans Equality Policy Statement.

The equality policy statement reaffirms that the University will at no time discriminate against people on the grounds of their gender identity or gender expression.

Well…what does that mean, exactly? Universities (and other institutions) shouldn’t discriminate against people on any grounds, should they. It’s right there in the words: discriminate against. Discrimination among is a different thing, and can be justified or not, depending on the particulars. Discrimination among can include extra help or reduced obligations; discrimination against clearly wouldn’t. So, great, University: don’t discriminate against people on any grounds.

The statement articulates the University’s position on inclusion for trans students and staff that is contained in its policies. It commits the University to treating all employees and students with respect, and seeks to provide a positive working and learning environment for everybody free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

Great. So let’s read the statement. It gives a list of promises.

= Requests to change name and gender on records will be handled promptly and staff and students will be made aware of any implications of the changes.

What if some smarty-boots student decides to make such a request every other day? Serious question. I can imagine being such a student and doing it to find out how they would deal with it.

Also the “students will be made aware” part is slightly creepy. Meaning what? All students will be instructed on the gender swap of one particular student whom they don’t necessarily even know? Why?

= The curriculum shall not rely on or reinforce stereotypical assumptions about trans people, and any materials within relevant courses and modules will positively represent trans people and trans lives.

What? So the university curriculum can’t include anything unpleasant about trans lives? And it can’t analyse or question the concept and the sub-concepts that shape it? It’s all yes yes happy happy, or nothing? Those are the choices?

= Transphobic propaganda, in the form of written materials, graffiti, music or speeches, will not be tolerated. We undertake to remove any such propaganda whenever it appears on the premises.

Oh. That’s interesting. Who decides what is “propaganda” as opposed to academic research or analysis? Or are they not even bothering with that and just calling everything “transphobic propaganda”? Seeing as how the more fanatical of the activists consider it transphobic to say that trans women are not literally women in every possible sense, that particular item looks very thought-control-like.

= We recognise that trans staff and students come from diverse backgrounds, and will strive to ensure they do not face discrimination on the grounds of their gender identity or gender expression or in relation to other aspects of their identity, for example, their race, age, religion or belief, disability or sexual orientation. In addition, assumptions will not be made about the gender identity or gender expression of partners of trans staff or students.

Notice anything left out of those “aspects of their identity”? Sex. It’s ok to discriminate against people on the grounds of their sex, just not of their gender identity. If you’re one of those obstinate people who decline to agree that they have a “gender identity,” you’re out of luck – discrimination against you is ok.

Hooray for diversity, except for women. Women are terrible.

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