Freedom of speech at the University of Bristol

To sign, please scroll to the bottom of the letter and leave a comment with your name and any institutional affilitation(s) you have.


Professor Hugh Brady
Vice Chancellor and President
Vice Chancellor’s Office
Senate House, Tyndall Avenue

Dear Professor Brady,

As feminist scholars, we are writing to express our concern at the news that disciplinary procedures have been initiated against a PhD student who petitioned against a discriminatory event associated with the University of Bristol.

The student, Nic Shall, wrote a petition opposing an event organised by the anti-trans campaign group “A Woman’s Place”. Shall has been accused by the Vice Chancellor’s office of writing a letter containing false information, attempting to suppress the free speech of fellow students, and bringing the university into disrepute. They have been threatened with expulsion.

We believe that the disciplinary action against Shall represents an attack on the democratic right to free expression, and that it is this action that brings the University of Bristol into disrepute. The student in question is, in effect, being threatened with expulsion for writing a petition. If the University of Bristol is to uphold the principle of free speech and encourage political debate, then students and staff must be afforded the right to openly express their principled opposition to bigotry and discrimination.

We further insist that Shall’s letter did not contain false information in stating that “A Women’s Place” provide a platform for hate speech. This group is committed solely to campaigning against trans rights, as enshrined in legislation such as the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010. Speakers at events hosted by “A Women’s Place” have propagated ignorant and harmful narratives through the use of offensive stereotypes, drawing a false dichotomy between trans rights and women’s rights, and misrepresenting both empirical research and current laws. The group has thereby played a role in creating moral panic about trans people’s role in public life, and contributed to atmosphere of fear and shame among trans people.

Finally, we believe that the right to free speech must be balanced with a responsibility to promote respect and justice for all. The University of Bristol Equality and Diversity Policy states that the University aims to create an inclusive environment that respects the diversity of its staff and students. It further commits to complying with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, which include a duty to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. The University of Bristol holds an Athena SWAN bronze award and is a Stonewall Diversity champion; both schemes require that the institution actively uphold the right of trans students and staff to participate in academic life on a free and equitable basis.

In threatening Shall with expulsion and offering tacit support to an openly anti-trans event, the University of Bristol has demonstrated that it does not provide an environment in which trans students and staff can reasonably participate in fair and open political debate. Both actions clearly violate the principles of the University’s Equality and Diversity policy, as well as the Athena SWAN charter and Stonewall Diversity Champion scheme.

As such, we hope that the Vice Chancellor’s office will act swiftly to dismiss the disciplinary against Nic Shall, and apologise for the hurt caused to trans students and staff by the institution’s position on the “A Woman’s Place” event.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Surya Monro (University of Huddersfield)
Professor Sally Hines (University of Leeds)
Dr Carol Steele (ex. University of Salford – now retired)
Dr Zowie Davy (De Montfort University)
Dr Ruth Pearce (University of Leeds)
Dr Joanna Cuttell (University of Warwick)
Dr Kirsty Liddiard (University of Sheffield)
Dr Katherine Hubbard (University of Surrey)
Dr Michael Toze (University of Lincoln)
Dr Ben Vincent (University of York)
Dr Tray Yeadon-Lee (University of Huddersfield)
Dr Kirsty Lohman (University of Surrey)
Dr Nazia Hussein (Birmingham City University)
Dr Reva Yunus (independent scholar)
Dr Anna Bull (University of Portsmouth)
Dr Karen Cuthbert (University of Leeds)
Dr Kim Allen (University of Leeds)
Dr Milena Kremakova (Humboldt University Berlin)
Dr Tiffany Page (University of Cambridge)
Dr Carla A. Pfeffer (University of South Carolina)
Dr Igi Moon (University of Roehampton)
Dr T.J. Jourian (Oakland University)
Dr Mary Ann S. Saunders (University of British Columbia)
Professor D-L Stewart (Colorado State University)
Wiktor Dynarski (Warsaw University)
Dr Catherine Baker (University of Hull)
Dr Julia Bahner (University of Leeds)
Dr Jen Slater (Sheffield Hallam University)
CN Lester (University of Huddersfield)
Natacha Kennedy (Goldsmiths College and University College London)
Dr Julia Downes (The Open University)
Sonja Erikainen (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Julia Swallow (University of Leeds)
Nat Raha (University of Sussex and Edinburgh College of Art)
Dr stef shuster (Appalachian State University)
Dr Jaimie Veale (University of Waikato)
Professor Joy Ladin (Yeshiva University)
Dr Eliza Steinbock (Leiden University)
Dr Z Nicolazzo (University of Arizona)
Dr Meg-John Barker (The Open University)
Dr Thamar Klein (University of Cologne)
Mijke van der Drift (Goldsmiths College, University of London)
Dr David Andrew Griffiths (University of Surrey)
Dr Samantha Lyle (King’s College London)
Alex Drummond (independent scholar)
Dr Chris Rossdale (London School of Economics)
Jim Russell (University of Warwick)
Craig Gent (University of Warwick
Stephanie Woodcock (University of Liverpool)
Rhiannon Cuttell (King’s College London)
Liam Kelly (University of Leeds)
Anna Langley (University of Cambridge)
Russell Christie (Brunel University)
Dr Sarah Scott (University of Liverpool)
Dr Caoimhe Mader McGuinness (Kingston University)
Dr Adi Kuntsman (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Dr Uditi Sen (University of Nottingham)
Dr Kayte Stockoe (University of Warwick)
Elizabeth Ablett (University of Warwick)
Dr Sam Soloman (University of Sussex)
Dr Francis Ray White (University of Westminster)
Jo McKillop (University of Roehampton)
Ibtisam Ahmed (University of Nottingham)
Dr Onni Gust (University of Nottingham)
Dr Alexis H. Truong (University of Ottawa)
Rebecca Tadman (Royal College of Art)
Seamus O’Farrell (University of Sussex)
Helen Parsons (independent scholar)
Caroline Metz (University of Manchester)
Daniel Edmondson (University of Nottingham)
James Todd (Durham University)
Samuel Heyes (University of Essex)
Lewis Defrates (University of Cambridge)
Nicole Cochrane (University of Hull)
Dr Laura Colebrooke (University of Exeter)
Professor Paisley Currah (City University of New York)
Shriradha Geigerman (independent scholar)
Dr Kit Heyam (University of Leeds)
Lee-Anne Lawrance (Goldsmiths College, University of London)
Dr Molly Geidel (University of Manchester)
Jane Augsburger (Goldsmiths College, University of London)
Alex Fitzpatrick (University of Bradford)
Laurie Atkinson (Keele University)
Sahra Taylor (City, University of London)
Debbie Wood (Be-North Trans Support & Development)
Professor Jennifer Saul (University of Sheffield)
Professor Constantine Sandis (University of Hertfordshire)
Professor Shannon Dea (University of Waterloo)
Jude Hair (University of Wyoming)
Professor Zoe Matthews (University of Southampton)
Professor Janet D. Stemwedel (San Jose State University)
Professor Susan Stryker (University of Arizona)
Marianna Kasperska-Zegar (independent scholar)
Iwo Nord (Södertörn University)
Victoria Ida Nicholls (Bournemouth University)
Dr Julien Murzi (University of Salzburg)
Nicholas Ray (University of Waterloo)
Deborah Ashby (University of Wales Trinity St David)
Professor Aron Edidin (New College of Florida)
Dr Sarah Jane Pattison (University of Southampton – now retired)
Anaïs Duong-Pedica (Åbo Akademi University)
Professor Andrea Cornwall (University of Sussex)
Professor Clare Hemmings (London School of Economics)
Dr Debra Ferreday (Lancaster University)
Professor Jo Brewis (The Open University)
Dr Saoirse Caitlin O’Shea (University of Leicester)
Dr Aren Aizura (University of Minnesota)
Dr Sima Shakhsari (University of Minnesota)
Sanaz Raji (independent scholar)
Dr Aline Courtois (University of Bath)
Professor Feona Attwood (Middlesex University)
Lesley Gabriel (Birmingham City University)
Dr Helen Bowes-Catton (The Open University)
Sabine Sharp (University of Manchester)
Dr Daniel Fairbrother (University of Oulu)
Dr Annadís G. Rúdólfsdóttir (Univerity of Iceland)
Rachel Hubbard (UWE Bristol)
Samantha Summers (Queen’s University Canada)
Lee Large (Durham University)
Lilith Brouwers (University of Leeds)
Dr Rebecca Davnall (University of Liverpool)
Dr Sarah Burton (Durham University)
Sinead Wilson (The University of Queensland)
Professor Carol Haigh (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Kat Brennan (Oxford Brookes University)
Dr Liz Gloyn (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Dr Adele Mercier (Queen’s University Canada)
Dr Hannah McCann (University of Melbourne)
Dr James Beebe  (University at Buffalo)
Naomi Daw (University of Sussex)
Katharine Peddie (University of Kent)
LJ Potter (Coventry University)
Dr Susan Iacovou (University of Roehampton)
Dr Rose Holyoak (University of Winchester)
Karen Pollock (Bi Pride UK)
Julia Rose Lewis (Cardiff University)
Professor Ann Garry (California State University, Los Angeles)
Dr Laura Seymour (Bath Spa University)
Dr Tom Betteridge (University of Essex)
Professor Naomi Scheman (University of Minnesota)
Dr Matt Lodder (University of Essex)
Dr Thomas Swann (Loughborough University)
Dr Carrie Etter (Bath Spa University)
Dr Elaine Swan (University of Sussex)
Dr Joanna Paschedag (Middlesex University)
Dr Samantha Walton (Bath Spa University)
Gabrielle Storey (University of Winchester)
Dr Christina Richards (Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health)
Dr Louise Livesey (University of Gloucestershire)
Lisa Kalayji (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Abigail Day (University of Nottingham)
Alex MacFarlane (University of Oxford)
Dr Sasha Garwood (University of Sheffield)
Hannah Graydon (University of Roehampton)
Rowan Davis (University of Oxford)
Orla White (University of Sussex)
Dr Sophie Jones (Birkbeck, University of London)
Dr Ross Balzaretti (University of Nottingham)
Valentina Puddu (Queen Mary, University of London)
Dr Kari Maund (independent scholar)
LucasDonna Hedlund (King’s College London)
Os Keyes (University of Washington)
Dr Charlotte Morris (University of Sussex)
Ruth Tarlo (University of Nottingham)
Professor Carrie Paechter (Nottingham Trent University)
Lyman Gamberton (SOAS, University of London)
Monique Botha (University of Surrey)
Jenny Harris (University of Cambridge)
Dr Mari Greenfield (independent scholar)
Jo Smith (University of Surrey)
Dr John McTague (University of Bristol)
Ricki Coughlan (Charles Darwin University)
Dr Nora Williams (independent scholar)
Professor A.W. Peet (University of Toronto)
Christian Zsilavetz (Pride School Atlanta)
Dr Naomi Hetherington (University of Sheffield)
Dr Lisa Purse (University of Reading)
Barbora Veselá (Charles University)
Laken Brooks (Emory & Henry College)
Andrew Siva (Emory & Henry College)
Dr Hannah Boast (University of Birmingham)
Dr Serena Iervolino (King’s College London)
Annette Pryce (LGBT Executive Member (NUT section) National Education Union)
Dr Beatrice Ivey (University of Leeds)
Dr Catherine Lester (University of Warwick)
Ben Farnworth (Edge Hill University)
Dr AC Baker (independent scholar)
Dr DL Clements (Imperial College London)
Barbara Grant (University of Liverpool)
Dr Victoria Dawson (University College London)
Dr Tom Price (Utrecht University)
Dr Nikki Hayfield (UWE Bristol)
Dr Fran Amery (University of Bath)
Dr Jennie Ferrell (UWE Bristol)
Emily Rose Teece (University of Leicester)
Dr Zoë Shacklock (University of Warwick)
Dr Charlotte Stevens (Birmingham City University)
Marianthi Kourti (University of Birmingham)
Dr Emanuela Bianchi (New York University)
Dr Matt Weiner (University of Vermont)
Dr Megan Blomfield (University of Bristol)
Dr William Pooley (University of Bristol)
ecilea Mun (Central Michigan University)
Dr Elif Ceylan Özsoy (University of Exeter)
Dr Amy Tooth Murphy (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Ani Ritchie (Southampton Solent University)
Toni Harrison (independent scholar)
Milena Popova (UWE Bristol)
Dr Clara Quinion (independent scholar)
Jessica Sandelson (University of Oxford)
Lucas Platero (independent scholar)
Professor Andy Danford (University of Leicester, retired)
Anamarija Horvat (Northumbria University)
Kate Marston (Cardiff University)
Lois Stone (University of Manchester)
Dr Harlan Weaver (Kansas State University)
Lorraine Code (York University Toronto)
Jack Doyle (University of Oxford)
Ellie Milne-Brown (University of Oxford)
Laura Marshall (University College London)
Isela González Vázquez (University of Sheffield)
Hannah Rossiter (University of Auckland)
Hershel Russell (independent scholar)
Stacey Prince (independent scholar)
Maureen Colclough (University of British Columbia)
Dr Jamison Green (independent scholar)
Dr Benjamin M. Baader (University of Manitoba)
Rachel Ann Burns (University College London)
Dr Emily Luise Hart (University of Liverpool)
Helena Navarrete Plana (University of Warwick)
Ky Andrea (University of Warwick)
Dr Erich N Pitcher (Oregon State University)
Dr Clara Barker (VC of the LGBT+ Advisory Group, University of Oxford)
Penelope Ehrhardt (University of Oxford)
Dr Alex Madva (California State Polytechnic University, Pomona)
Katja May (University of Kent)
Sean Mulcahy (University of Warwick)
Jeevan Ravindran (University of Oxford)
Josephine Sirotkin (University of Leeds)
Jess Fairbairn (University of Manchester)
Dr Gwyneth Lonergan (University of Sheffield)
Angela Ford (University of Oxford)
Nancy Huang (University of Bristol)
Dr Christopher Hinesley (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Lor Anderson (independent scholar)
Ava Ladner (University of Hawaii)
Dr Chris Dietz (University of Leeds)
Reubs Walsh (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Megan Hughes (University of Oxford)
Dr Andrew Godfrey (independent scholar)
Elissa O’Connell (University of Bristol)
Dr Lucy Hodgetts (University of Leeds)
Dr James Harland (University of York and Northumbria University)
Tim Rowbotham (University of York)
Dr Brian Riedel (Rice University)
Dr Remi Joseph-Salisbury (Leeds Beckett University)
Dr Azeezat Johnson (Queen Mary University of London)
Dr Laura Connelly (University of Salford)
Professor Graciela Slesaransky-Poe (Arcadia University)
Dr Trish Salah (Queen’s University Ontario)
Gillian McNaull (Queen’s University Belfast)
Lauren O’Sullivan (Queen’s University Belfast)
Lindsay Lee Miller (University of Sheffield)
Dr Jennifer Cobbe (University of Cambridge)
Tim Squirrell (University of Edinburgh)
Tim Wingard (University of York)
Niamh O’Reilly (University College Cork, National University of Ireland)
Dr John Kemp (independent scholar, ex. University of Coventry)
Josie M. Moore (independent scholar)
Paula Schiefer (University of Aberdeen)
Dr Kate Nambiar (Brighton and Sussex Medical School)
Dr Derek Ruez (University of Tampere)
Dr Kay Kirkpatrick (University of Illinois)
Rachael Horwitz (University College London)
Professor Alison Phipps (University of Sussex)
Dr Charlotte Jones (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Mark Carrigan (University of Cambridge)
Dr Nicholas Hardy (University of Birmingham)
Dr Sarah J. Young (University College London)
Laura Shand (University of Hull)
Claire Potter (Liverpool John Moores University)
Dr Natalie Alana Ashton (University of Vienna)
Professor Andrea Brady (Queen Mary, University of London)
Dr Tam Blaxter (University of Cambridge)
Dr Sukhdev Parhar (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and University of Glasgow)
Jemma Milburn (Veterinary Medicine University Vienna)
Jae Frith (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Leah Burch (University of Leeds)
Dr Owen Barden (Liverpool Hope University)
Ai Miller (University of Minnesota)
Dr Jill Pluquailec (Sheffield Hallam University)
Amanda Harrison (University of Chester)
Maryam Jameela (University of Sheffield)
Cron Cronshaw (Lancaster University)
Dr Kat Gupta (University of Sussex)
Dr Catherine Tonry (University of Greenwich)
George Haggett (Royal Holloway)
Dr Harriet Palfreyman (University of Manchester)
Alex Hill (Durham University)
Emily Nunn (University of Sheffield)
Miller Power (Durham University)
Chrystel Oloukoï (Harvard University)
Dr Jennifer Hackett (University of Nottingham)
Dr Nathan Stephens Griffin (Durham University)
Farheen Ahmed (University of Oxford)
Gabriale Payne (University of Minnesota)
Professor Vanita Sundaram (University of York)
Dr Rajesh Patel (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Mark Mulligan (The College of William and Mary)
Edith England (Cardiff University)
Lucas Armitage (Durham University)
Alexander Cowan (Harvard University)
Dr Edward Webb (Dickinson College Pennsylvania)
Dr D-M Withers (University of Sussex)
Mary Robson (University of Leeds)
Dr Nancy E. Adams (Pennsylvania State University)
Dr Patrick Keys (Colorado State Unviersity)
Dr Ken Griffin (independent scholar)
Siggi Mackenzie (University of Plymouth)
Dr Madhu Krishnan (University of Bristol)
Dr Wolfgang Wüster (Bangor University)
Abby Harrison (University of Manchester)
Nick Bell (Edinburgh College)
Charlotte Payne (University of Cambridge)
Sakura Byrne (The Open University)
Dr David Huyssen (University of York)
Florence Oulds (University of Cambridge)
Dr S. Artt (Edinburgh Napier University)
Rachel Hollis (University of Leeds)
Emer McHugh (National University of Ireland Galway)
Alicia Andrzejewski (City University of New York)
Ashleigh Rushton (Massey University)
Dr Miranda Fay Thomas (University College Dublin)
Dr Natasha Simonova (University of Oxford)
Dr Louise Geddes (Adelphi University)
Dr Shaun May (University of Kent)
Michael Miller (University of Sheffield)
Larissa Peixoto Gomes (Federal University of Minas Gerais)
Emma Ward (Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour)
Matthew Barnard (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Professor Anthony Mandal (Cardiff University)
Dr Pippa Gardner (University of Sheffield)
Dr Rachel O’Connell (University of Sussex)



376 thoughts on “Freedom of speech at the University of Bristol

    1. What demands of Woman’s Place UK do you stand against Sahra? Here they are, in case you forgot:

      1. Respectful and evidence-based discussion about the impact of the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act to be allowed to take place and for women’s voices to be heard.

      2. The principle of women-only spaces to be upheld – and where necessary extended.

      3. A review of how the exemptions in the Equality Act which allow or single sex services or requirements that only a woman can apply for a job (such as in a domestic violence refuge) are being applied in practice.

      4. Government to consult with women’s organisations on how self-declaration would impact on women-only services and spaces.

      5. Government to consult on how self-declaration will impact upon data gathering – such as crime, employment, pay and health statistics – and monitoring of sex-based discrimination such as the gender pay gap.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Please add my name. Debbie Wood, BSc (Hons) Psych, MSc, PgDip (CBT), MBPsS, MBABCP
    Director: Be-North Trans Support & Development


  2. I would have liked to have signed, but there is an important and very misleading falsehood contained in the letter. WPUK is not “anti trans” in action or intent. WPUK is facilitating discussion about the effects of the proposed GRA on women who are not trans. This is a necessary discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We disagree. If A Woman’s Place were committed to actual fair and open dialogue around the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, they would not continuously book speakers who have a long history of prejudice against trans people.

      It is one thing to seek a debate. It is quite another to only book speakers who actively oppose trans rights – speakers who repeatedly portray trans women as violent and dangerous, to argue that trans people are a danger to children, to ignore trans experiences, and to portray trans rights and feminism as at odds.

      The hatred and ignorance promoted by A Woman’s Place is terrifying, whether it’s promoted through arguments that might seem “reasonable” to people without much knowledge of the issues, or through direct threats of violence.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Good grief.

        No, we are drawing a conclusion on the basis of available evidence.

        A Woman’s Place’s website and social media platforms are designed to appear “reasonable” to those unfamiliar with the debates.

        We don’t expect to convince you of anything – your position is clear. However, in the spirit of transparency and openness, we encourage other people reading this conversation to watch some of the videos from events hosted by A Woman’s Place ( and think about the following:

        – how do the accounts of trans experience presented here differ from the accounts presented by a majority of trans people?

        – to what extent are speakers at these events making sweeping generalisations about a demographic group?

        – how committed are speakers at these events to ideals of bodily autonomy and consent?

        – how many accusations of “bullying” can be explained by individuals protesting against the discriminatory attitudes presented towards them?

        – just how many straw men can you fit into one speech?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. WPUK claim they are not anti-trans and are only facilitating discussion. However, I suggest people watch their videos and draw their own conclusions.


  3. Please add my name: Associate Professor Susan Stryker, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona (USA)


  4. Freedom of speach does not oblige anyone to offer a platform to you. Freedom of speach also include the right to disagree and to employ constitutional and non violent means to show disagreement. Sanctioning and individual for speaking out by the respectable mens of a position is the actions of dictatorship.


  5. Free speech has to be for all. Women’s Place UK opposes the existence of a vulnerable minority group, a group protected by the Equality Act, that is demonstratively shown by the figures to be under privileged almost all areas from healthcare to criminal abuse. We look to universities as centres of free speech and academic exploration in this Bristol has lost all moral authority theough its complicity with this hate group.


  6. I would have signed too but as I value women which I demonstrate by listening to women, I can do no such thing.

    Woman’s Place UK has five demands:

    1. Respectful and evidence-based discussion about the impact of the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act to be allowed to take place and for women’s voices to be heard.

    2. The principle of women-only spaces to be upheld – and where necessary extended.

    3. A review of how the exemptions in the Equality Act which allow or single sex services or requirements that only a woman can apply for a job (such as in a domestic violence refuge) are being applied in practice.

    4. Government to consult with women’s organisations on how self-declaration would impact on women-only services and spaces.

    5. Government to consult on how self-declaration will impact upon data gathering – such as crime, employment, pay and health statistics – and monitoring of sex-based discrimination such as the gender pay gap.

    Which demands are you all against, and why?

    It is distressing to see so many academics work together to close down discussion about women’s rights.

    I hope whoever penned this letter, and every single academic who has signed this, is challenged as to why they signed. I hope they are held accountable for their defamation by their peers and by their students and I hope that they are prepared for the fallout.

    It is disheartening to see so many academics decide to stand together against women – especially working class women as Lucy describes in this article:

    Shame on every academic who signed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John,

      The “demands” of A Woman’s Place are disengenous. Firstly, because the actions of the group do not reflect their own demands, and secondly, because when the group refer to “women” they refer only to cis (non-trans) women. The demands have been carefully written to sound reasonable to people who are unaware of what A Woman’s Place actually stand for, and to those who agree that trans women are not women.

      This is dangerous because positioning trans women as “men” is not simply a matter of disrespect, but works to draw attention away from the disproportionate level of gendered discrimination, harassment and violence (including sexual violence and intimate partner abuse) experienced by trans woman (some examples can be found here:

      With regards to the actual demands:

      1) Yes, we agree. However, it is clear that A Woman’s Place are only interested in the voices of a very select group of women. Neither the views of women who support gender recognition (e.g. or the voices of the majority of trans people are welcome. Moreover, a range of speakers at events hosted by A Women’s Place have used bigoted language or threatened violence against trans women (

      2) There is a real value to women-only spaces, but A Woman’s Place is effectively calling for these to exclude trans women.

      3) See above.

      4) The government has already announced that it intends to undertake a consultation. Women’s groups will be included in this.

      5) See above.

      Trans people who dare to speak out for their rights are “challenged” and held accountable for daring to exist every day of their lives. We are proud to see so many academics standing by trans people at a time of heightened transphobic rhetoric.

      Finally, the presumption that trans people cannot be working class, and that transphobia is not a working class issue, is exactly the kind of misrepresentation this campaign relies on.


      1. Hi,

        It’s discouraging to see you not question the most basic assertion you make.

        How, in material reality, is a trans woman (a male) the same as a woman (a female)?

        Given we know that males have a higher crime rate than females, irregardless of how they identify, insisting all spaces become mixed sex knowingly places women at higher risk of assault. It is right for women to be concerned about male violence. This is easily quantifiable.

        One step self ID legislation is the idea that with a simple self declaration one could change their sex. What mechanism would be used to distinguish men who simply say, “I am a woman” (say, to access and hurt a woman in a safehouse – which would be naïve to pretend wouldn’t occur) from transwomen?

        To reject A Woman’s Place as disingenuous, is to say that male violence against women is negligible – and not worth thinking about.

        As someone who has lost a sister to a violent male, I can tell you that you turning your back on women concerned about male violence like this shows you are shockingly divorced from reality.

        Are you saying my sister should have had to share a rape crisis centre with any male who claims to “identify as a woman”? What rubbish! Women DO deserve spaces which are women only, no exceptions. I think only entitlement would lead people to ignore women’s boundaries, as you seem to advocate.

        Further, I have become aware of the vitriol currently being directed at lesbian women too – do you stand against that? People are saying lesbian women should ‘open their minds’ to dating transwomen (males)! I hope you and all academics who signed this letter reject this blatant homophobia.

        Overall I hope this student does not lose their position at university because freedom of speech is important. But I hope you all consider your privilege quickly and truly think about how important female only space is to women, given the levels and seriousness of the epidemic of male violence.

        I have noticed a wide variety of women speaking at a Woman’s Place UK events, including transwomen and believe transwomen and transmen may need their own spaces separate from men and women.

        It is RIGHT to listen to women’s concerns, particularly about the lack of accountability built into self ID legislation. You could have published this open letter without promoting misogyny.

        “The first rule of patriarchy is to find a woman to blame.”

        You seem to have done well.


        [Spoiler: I’m a woman.]

        Liked by 1 person

  7. As a non-binary academic I also would like to sign the letter. Please add me, Dr Saoirse Caitlin O’Shea, University of Leicester


  8. I’m not an academic but until recently worked at Oxford Brookes University, and don’t see why non-academics can’t sign this anyway.

    Please add my name: Yvonne Aburrow.


    1. Hi Yvonne, thanks a huge amount for your support.

      We are asking academics to sign this letter in order to show the Vice Chancellor of Bristol University the story of how his institution is treating a trans student is circulating among people who work at other universities and colleges.

      It would be really great to have as many letters and emails as possible sent to the Vice Chancellor to show there is public opposition to the disciplinary too, and you are very welcome to use this letter as a template.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. If you are accepting student signatures, please add my name:
    Siobhan Owen, University of Exeter undergraduate.

    Regardless of your position on the ‘debate’ in question, to threaten expulsion for writing a petition — one of the most peaceful forms of protest I can think of — is deeply troubling. The right to free speech is also the right to dissent, and Shall’s letter is respectful and dignified in response to the vilification of trans people


  10. Please add my name. Just terrible that “universities” have come to this: being the stage for the alt-right, and punishing dissenters.


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