Pledgey McPledgerson

You will sign the Loyalty Oath or else.

Staff at a top university say they feel coerced to subscribe to a Stonewall agenda by signing a pledge to oppose transphobia and demonstrate “allyship” by sharing their pronouns.

Exeter University last week asked its academics to sign the “inclusive practitioners commitment” produced by its “LGBTQ+ colleague and student” group.

Well that will be why they feel coerced, then – the fact that their employer “asked” them to sign a pledge to believe in bullshit.

The online document requests staff make six pledges to prove they are “the kind of person that LGBTQ+ people can confide in and feel safe around”.

Isn’t it fascinating that universities have never “requested” (actually demanded) that staff make pledges to prove they are the kind of person women can feel safe around?

These include promising to “affirm trans staff and students” by using their chosen names and pronouns. They are then encouraged to seek out LGBTQ+ people’s contributions to their teaching subject and ensure when they refer to trans and non-binary experts they “respect their identities, names and pronouns”.

Lecturers are also told to “educate” themselves about how anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment can be perpetuated through “micro-aggressions, dog whistles and talking points”.

Honestly, how does this happen? How do adult people running universities take this childish drivel seriously? Why aren’t they all rolling their eyes and throwing it in the recycle bin?

In addition, they are asked to promise that they are “firmly against” transphobia, bi-erasure, acephobia (discrimination against asexual people) and intersexism, a term for prejudice against people with variations in their sex characteristics. Finally, staff are asked to ensure their “allyship” is visible by sharing their own pronouns where appropriate.

Who is in charge of all this asking?

Exeter University is part of the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, which ranks employers on how LGBTQ friendly their working environments are. It is also a member of the charity’s controversial Diversity Champions Scheme, which has been criticised for encouraging employers to stifle free speech and debate in relation to trans issues.

It sounds more like a daycare facility than a university.

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