There must be reprisals

Still not getting it. Aaron Hughes says life is tough for trans and gender nonconforming students at Oxford, then moves on to the more entertaining part about blaming feminist women for the tough life problem.

In spite of its public commitments, Oxford has failed to protect trans people from harassment and discrimination. Its refusal to act when transphobic speakers are invited to talk in its colleges and faculties is damning. Indeed, its willingness to condone the invitation of people who deny the existence of trans people entirely undermines its commitment to trans inclusivity.

Notice the instant and unargued jump from “harassment and discrimination” to “transphobic speakers invited to talk in its colleges and faculties.” That’s a massive jump. We know from experience that people are often called “transphobic” who are not “transphobic” but skeptical of new and counterfactual dogmas laid down about what women are and what we are allowed to say. Is it likely that Oxford would invite someone to speak whose talk would consist simply of abuse of trans people? Hardly. Refusing to sign up to new and counterfactual and peremptory dogmas about what women are is not any kind of “phobic.” Inviting feminist women who don’t agree that anyone who “identifies as” a woman is a woman is not harassment and discrimination. Women have a large stake in beliefs about what women are, and we’re not harassing anyone by disagreeing that men can make themselves women simply by uttering the magic words.

Then there’s the second sentence. We don’t “deny the existence of trans people.” We know very well that trans people exist, not least because some of them never stop yelling at us. What we deny is their peculiar vision of the facts. We deny that men know more about being women than we do, for instance; we deny that we have to step aside and defer to men who say they are women; we deny that men who say they are women get to bully us and bully any institution that invites us to speak or write an essay or attend a meeting.

Next paragraph.

The language we use is shaped by, and shapes, the world we live in. When we give space to transphobic hate speech in our higher education institutions, we normalise violence against trans people.

But it isn’t “transphobic hate speech.” (Note the redundancy. “It’s hatey McHaterson hate speech!!”) It isn’t hatred, it’s argument over truth claims. It isn’t hate speech and it doesn’t “normalise violence against trans people.” That kind of rhetoric is a distasteful appropriation of the real struggles of people who face real exploitation and oppression.

If the university’s silence on the issue of guest speakers is unacceptable, its failure to act when academics within its own institutions endorse transphobic hate speech is indefensible. In recent times, several academics have publicly disputed the validity of trans identities, in particular those of trans women and transfeminine people. At the time of writing, none have been reprimanded by the university.

What is “transfeminine” and how is it different from trans women? At any rate, again: disputing claims about “identities” that contradict material realities is not phobic hate speech. If we buy into the idea that it is, what’s to prevent the next generation from having to agree that their friends are rabbits, cars, pharaohs, whales, daffodils? If we’re not allowed to maintain our ability to distinguish between truth and lies, how can we function at all?

Trans identities are not a subject of debate, academic or otherwise. That members of academic staff can question our existence without reprisal is an indictment of the university’s commitment to trans inclusivity.

Reprisal. The little shit wants actual reprisal now. What will it be? Thumbscrews? The rack? Whipping?

And then at the end there’s a shocker:

Aaron Hughes is a lecturer in French at the University of Oxford’s Balliol College

I thought he was a student, and a first year at that.

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