Today I was informed that a woman named Selena Todd had been invited to my university, the University of Kent to speak. What’s the big deal? She’s a working class, self proclaimed feminist scholar from Oxford. Oh, and she’s also an active transphobic or TERF (‘trans exclusionary radical feminist). This means that she does not believe in the rights of trans men and women to exist in their own right.
Todd claims that people who ‘identify as female but are anatomically male’ should be excluded from female only spaces as well as claiming that trans rights will negatively impact cis-women’s rights. Her response to criticism is the often cited ‘freedom of speech‘ which, strangely enough, only comes to importance when people want to be bigoted. Any sort of hate crime should not be taken lying down, especially not in an academic setting. We cannot stop Todd from spreading ignorance and hatred, but we can diminish her platform by not allowing her to speak at our places of education, work or leisure. Therefore, if you would, please contact the people in charge. Below is a template email that can be copied and pasted and sent straight to the Head of School for English, who is in charge of this event. It has not been widely publicised yet, so there is a chance that we stop it before it starts. Further down is the email that I myself have sent. Feel free to create your own version or just send a simple statement asking to stop Todd’s visit. I really urge you to take the time to do this, whether you’re in the University of Kent, a student, or just someone who knows that this situation is wrong. Any and all voices are welcome.
Edit – I have received comments to say that Todd should be allowed to speak to bring her opinion to a debate. Firstly, the event she is invited to is not a debate on trans rights but a lecture on working class feminism. Secondly, trans rights are not up for debate. Their right to exist and function as full members of society is not an opinion or a debate topic.
‘Dear Dr. James
I am writing to express my disdain for the invitation of Selena Todd to speak at the university. I am in solidarity with the trans members of our community and therefore request that the event is cancelled and replaced with an intersectional speaker who will not spread further hate.
The email address is email@example.com
9 thoughts on “A Call To Action For Our Brothers and Sisters and Everyone Else In Between”
“This means that she does not believe in the rights of trans men and women to exist in their own right.”
Next sentence: “Todd claims that people who ‘identify as female but are anatomically male’ should be excluded from female-only spaces.”
Which does she believe? Those seem like two very different beliefs? Believing in women-only spaces that exclude trans women does not seem the same as believing that trans people do not have a right to exist as trans people?
Hi there Henry,
By wanting to prevent trans women from entering female spaces, it puts the trans woman into a place of ‘less than’ cisgendered women.
Thanks. Do you mean that it argues that trans women are “less woman/womanly” than cis women?
I suppose that’s a way of looking at Todd’s views. However, the underlying issue is Todd’s aim to justify her transphobia through masking it with faux issues such as bathroom safety or cisgender rights.
Thanks. I can’t quite see how it makes them “less than” in any other respect – e.g. social status.
I’m curious, why do you feel those are faux issues and not as legitimate as trans rights?
If a space is designed for women, then both cis and trans women should be welcome there – they are all women.
I perhaps didn’t phrase my last comment well – Todd is saying that cis women are at risk if trans women are in the female bathrooms.
Thanks for explaining 🙂
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A call for pitchforks and an angry mob.
The problem with thinking that your ideas are righteous enough to shut down alternative ideas, is that it is carried by an underlying arrogance in one’s position. It is deeply unwise to ever allow yourself to think like that, else you end up becoming the bad guy, given enough time.
I’m interested, what position do you feel that I am in? This article is asking people to reject hate speech and not give a platform to those preaching it. Trans rights are not an ‘idea’ much as the right to safety is the right of the black community, the Jewish community, any other minority you can think of. Thank you for your concern for my wellbeing though.