Over 100 Oxford based staff members have signed a letter supporting trans rights in solidarity with the Oxford LGBTQ+ society’s campaign against Kathleen Stock. This follows the creation of three letters, two in support of the Union and Kathleen Stock, and one opposing the event and her views.
The most recent letter in support of trans students denounces the “harm and suffering” trans people have faced in recent years and firmly opposes the Union’s decision to “amplify” Kathleen Stock’s views. The letter was written and organised by Amiad (Addi) Haran Diman, president of the Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society and doctoral researcher in politics at Lincoln College. The letter also takes issue with the response of University leadership, which they believe has not given sufficient “care and attention to student concerns and student welfare”.
The letter also argues that the event and the University’s response have contributed to “the press ridicul[ing] the need to care for the well-being of the student population”. This sentiment echoes the frustration found in the previous anti-Stock letter, signed by students. One of that letter’s authors, Kelsey Trevett, stated they were “deeply frustrated to see Prof Williams’s conflation of two issues, culminating in his letter in the Telegraph, fuelling media hostility towards trans students. Our open letter demonstrates that when given a voice, students place the safety of our community first and foremost every time. Our voice must not be undermined by university management.”
Haran Diman was motivated to write this letter as “Oxford University’s trans students have been ignored and abandoned by a university administration that has been captivated by misleading reports from the right-wing media.” They went on to thank the academics who supported the letter and the LGBTQ+ Scoiety’s efforts. Amongst the scholars to sign the open letter are Prof. Kate Tunstall, who was interim provost of Worcester College from 2019 to 2021; Prof. Dan Healey, who pioneered the research on LGBTQ+ experience in Soviet Russia; Dr Pelagia Goulimari, Co-Director of Oxford’s MSt program in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Dr Jack Doyle, Oxford’s first departmental lecturer in LGBTQ history; and Prof. Max Van Kleek, LGBT fellow of Kellogg College and senior member (faculty supervisor) of the OULGBTQ+ Society. The LGBTQ+ Society underscores that the signatories include more than a dozen senior professors and more than half the signatories hold PHDs.
“This is a critical time to support, protect, and celebrate our trans students (and, indeed, trans people worldwide), to counter the increased hostility, violence, and discrimination they are now facing at levels unprecedented in years.”, said Prof. Max Van Kleek, one of the letter’s signatories. “The trans movement are not enemies of free speech; they have every right to protest speakers who frame them as anything but our full, valid, equals.”
Kathleen Stock will speak at the Union at 5pm on May 30. A counter demonstration has been planned by the Oxford LGBTQ+ society at the same time.