Motion 38 is wilfully divisive

Holly Lawford-Smith says unions shouldn’t persecute women. Seems sensible.

THE Universities and College Union (UCU), which represents academic and related staff in UK universities, meets for its annual Congress this week.

UCU has chosen to include in the agenda a highly divisive motion celebrating a lesbian feminist academic losing her job after a relentless campaign of bullying and harassment.

Anyone seeing the images of masked activists on campus demanding the sacking of Professor Kathleen Stock must have wondered how political debate on women’s rights could sink so low.

The UCU Sussex branch notably failed to offer any solidarity to Stock, who had been a loyal member for decades.

The failure to support her right to participate in public policy debates about women’s rights sets a precedent that can only damage the labour movement.

Motion 38 is wilfully divisive. It depicts as “transphobes” anyone who holds “gender critical views,” which means the view that sex matters in a range of contexts, from sports to single-sex service provision.

The motion denounces anyone who disagrees with the erasure of sex as a legal category, and anyone who criticises the corporate lobby group Stonewall, or opposes “affirmation-only” therapeutic approaches for children and young people experiencing gender dysphoria.

Wouldn’t you think we’ve had enough of denunciations?

Motion 38, “Defend trans and non-binary people’s rights,” reads:

Congress notes:

1. Government hostility towards Stonewall for its support for trans rights, including disaffiliations by the BBC and government bodies;

2. Government’s refusal to implement Self-ID in the Gender Recognition Act;

3. Government’s failure to recognise non-binary as a legitimate identity;

Wait a second. What is a legitimate identity? What does it mean for a government to “recognize” anything as a “legitimate identity”? What other “identities” does government “recognize”?

That doesn’t sound like government language to me at all. What business is it of governments what “identities” people have? The word can mean anything and nothing – by meaning anything it ends up meaning nothing. And then add “non-binary” to the mix and you have meaningless nonsense cubed.

4. The EHRC’s [Equality and Human Rights Commission] attempts to delay anti-conversion therapy legislation for trans people and undermine the Scottish government introducing Self-ID;

5. The Tories’ anti-conversion therapy Bill that dangerously presents equivalence between oppressive anti-trans conversion therapy and pro-trans affirmative intervention.


a. Congratulates Sussex University UCU for their solidarity with student protests against ‘gender critical’ views;

Ohhhh that’s ugly. That is ugly. They’re wanting the union to congratulate the Sussex branch for bullying and terrorizing Kathleen Stock out of her job there, because they hate her view that men can’t literally become women.

b. Welcomes the founding of the Feminist Gender Equality Network, committed to opposing transphobia on campuses and more broadly;

c. Resolves to oppose ‘gender critics’ and transphobes promoting ‘gender ideology’ and trying to undermine trans and non-binary people’s rights and promote divisions between women’s and trans people’s rights.

They want the university union to bully and punish women who don’t think men can become women. They might as well go full Vatican.

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