Rosa Freedman and Jo Phoenix

When feminists fight back

We have been told that our mere presence as academics makes students feel unsafe. We have been threatened with violence, disinvited from speaking and even blacklisted. We have had our academic freedom curtailed. Our crime? Asserting that there are two sexes — male and female — and for insisting that some spaces are legally allowed to be organised according to sex and not gender identity. The Equality Act 2010 protects women’s spaces where it is proportionate and legitimate: spaces such as prisons, domestic violence refuges and sports teams.

The University of Essex has issued a public apology to us both. We were both blocked from attending events, and one of us subsequently blacklisted, over allegations of so-called ‘hate speech’. In other words, the view that sex is real. Ahead of the seminar at which Professor Phoenix was supposed to appear at, flyers had been distributed that included the phrase ‘shut the fuck up Terf’ (which stands for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist’). Included too was an image of a gun pointed at the reader, presumably aimed at the aforementioned Terf.

Since the apology, there has been much focus on the charity Stonewall and its support for the new trans orthodoxy. Set up in 1989 to challenge discrimination against homosexuals, over the past five years the group has controversially campaigned to support the claim that ‘trans women are women’. Their ideology has filtered into universities like Essex — and they have been found to have misinterpreted the law when advising public institutions.

But Stonewall’s influence is only part of the problem in universities today. At the heart of the issue is a wider culture of censorship that has filtered into every layer of our places of learning. The results are chilling.

Academic freedom is not some fanciful idea. Academic freedom is what allows ideas to flourish

Take students.

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