The idea that gender identity is all that matters

Joanna Moorhead at The Guardian interviews Kathleen Stock:

Stock, a professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex, says the key question she addresses – itself offensive to many – is this: do trans women count as women?

Whatever else about her views is controversial, she is surely on firm ground when she writes that this question has become surrounded by toxicity. But the problem for her is, at least partly, that many people do anything they can to avoid answering it. “Very few people who are sceptical talk about it directly, because they’re frightened,” she says. “It’s so hard psychologically to say, in reply: ‘I’m afraid not.’”

Maybe it’s easier if you just say no, of course not.

Stock is at pains to say she is not a transphobe, and also that she is sympathetic to the idea that many people feel they are not in the “right” body. What she says she opposes, though, is the institutionalisation of the idea that gender identity is all that matters – that how you identify automatically confers all the entitlements of that sex. And she believes that increasingly in universities and the wider world, that is a view that cannot be challenged.

She doesn’t so much “believe” that as know it all too well, including from personal experience.

How, then, in her view, have we got to where we are? Stock takes issue with Stonewall, the LGBTQ+ charity, which campaigns for trans inclusion and opposes the views of gender-critical feminists. The charity’s Diversity Champions programme is very popular on campuses, and Stock believes this has in part “turned universities into trans activist organisations” through their equality, diversity and inclusion departments.

Stonewall, as we read earlier today, started out as a campaigning group for LG; the TQ got grafted on later. Now the LG come in a distant second.

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