Sacked or silenced: academics say they are blocked from exploring trans issues

Universities are at a loss how to maintain free speech when both sides claim they feel unsafe

On the December morning that Jo Phoenix, professor of criminology at the Open University, was to give a lecture at Essex University on trans rights in prisons, Twitter roared into action, with several Essex staff and students tweeting allegations that a “transphobe” would be on campus.

By 10am Phoenix was warned by a member of university staff that some students were threatening to shut down her lecture, as they said LGBT+ staff and students wouldn’t feel safe if Phoenix gave her talk. At midday the university decided to cancel it because disruption looked inevitable, and proper academic discussion unlikely.

Related: UK universities struggle to deal with ‘toxic’ trans rights row

Related: Schools pulled into row over helping transgender children

Continue reading...