Cambridge academics refused

Wo, here’s a crack in the ice: academics refused to sign a new Trans Declaration of What You Have To Do. Just up and said no, as if they had a right to.

A programme to encourage universities to follow guidance on trans discrimination is to be changed after Cambridge academics refused to sign it.

“Here’s our guidance on how you have to coddle us, sign right here.”


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Advance HE, a charity that advises higher education institutions, has bowed to pressure and pledged to alter its guidelines requiring universities to foster a “collective understanding” on the belief that gender can be chosen.

Should universities foster a collective understanding that the sun circles the earth every day? How about a collective understanding that elephants are smaller than grasshoppers?

Cambridge University academics had refused to commit to the Athena Swan programme, arguing that the issue should be a matter for debate.

Shouldn’t even be that really. You can’t change species. You can’t time travel. You can’t change sex.

Arif Ahmed, a reader in philosophy at Cambridge University who objected to the scheme, said: “It’s welcome that Athena Swan is reconsidering what could have been a charter for thought-control, as many of us had been warning. A university should absolutely not be ‘fostering collective understanding’ on controversial issues but encouraging open debate.

Johns said Advance HE was responding to the concerns raised.

“We have been working with the sector-led Athena Swan governance committee to amend and remove the wording on ‘fostering a collective understanding’.

“While this amendment will protect academic freedom, the charter principles will still recognise that individuals can determine their own gender identity and that the specific issues faced by trans and non-binary people needs tackling.”

But they can’t, not the way you mean it. If “gender identity” is defined as just how you present, then sure, but it never is confined to that, is it. It’s all “trans women are women,” and that’s where women who can find their noses in the dark say no.

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