Response to transphobic statements in Rishi Sunak’s conference speech

Response to transphobic statements in Rishi Sunak’s conference speech

Colleagues and Students,

You may be aware that Rishi Sunak made transphobic comments in his speech to the Tory conference this week, stating “we shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be. They can’t.  A man is a man and a woman is a woman. That’s just common sense.”  As an academic community we recognise that the Appeal to Common Sense is a logical fallacy employed in desperation when an assertion cannot be properly defended.

As the committees for Loughborough UCU branch, and the Staff LGBT+ Network, we would like to make absolutely clear that we condemn Rishi Sunak’s comments.  We recognise that gender is a complex, multi-dimensional aspect of everyone’s identity, and is unique to each of us.  To characterise the experience of being transgender as “being any sex [you] want” is a deliberate over-simplification and mis-representation designed to scapegoat a marginalised community for populist appeal. As is the suggestion that this group are “bullying” the majority.  And while anti-trans sentiments are often portrayed as defending women, they are in fact propping up patriarchy and the disempowerment of women, by emphasising the idea that men and women are fundamentally and radically different.  We support members and non-members of any gender identity; everyone is part of our community.  We are also committed to playing a key role in shaping and delivering the University’s EDI agenda, which includes recognition, respect and support for all individuals in their gender identity. 

If you are interested in learning more about the complexity and nuance of gender identity, we recommend the LGBT Awareness course available through Organisational Development and presented by LUCU Treasurer and LGBT+ Network Trans and Non-binary Lead, David Wilson, as well as their post on the University’s LGBT Blog Trans visibility as an act of resistance.

In solidarity

Loughborough UCU Committee

LGBT+ Staff Network Committee

LGBTQI+ History Month

LGBTQI+ History Month

February is a time to highlight and celebrate the contributions of LGBTQI+ communities in Britain.

At a time when the Covid pandemic is increasing existing inequalities globally, and countries such as Poland and Hungary are removing hard-won rights, it is especially important that we stand in solidarity with LGBTQI+ people, who often face discrimination in accessing healthcare among other inequities. Closer to home we have concerns about the government’s recent decision to shelve improvements to the Gender Recognition Act and the potential for transphobic implications of the government’s consultation on gendered toilet provision.

We would like to call attention to an excellent resource bank that UCU has put together to commemorate the history of LGBTI+ communities and to highlight and combat ongoing discrimination. This includes short videos on understanding what is meant by LGBT+ and what issues the community can face at work.

You can find all of the resources at UCU – LGBT+ History Month

LUCU Committee – 5th Feb 2021