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What's it like being gender-critical in your workplace?

(285 Posts)
TerfyMcTerface Thu 08-Feb-18 14:02:08

If you're gender-critical, I wondered what your experiences are at work?

I'm an academic. The Vice Chancellor at my university is totally woke, unfurling rainbow flags on campus, and the like. The student newspaper is full of articles denouncing "transphobes". I do not discuss trans issues with my colleagues. A couple of my not-very-PC older male colleagues had a bit of a snigger when someone from the SU sent round a missive that signed off with his pronouns. But the women in the department seem to be very studiously not discussing any of this.

I have shelved plans I had to teach a new module with a strong element of feminist analysis in it. I made that decision after the no-platforming of Greer. I realise this is cowardly of me, but I really do not want to become the subject of a witch-hunt as the job is already destroying my mental health.

Universities are supposed to uphold the principle of freedom of speech, but you only have that luxury if you're willing to put up with the kind of shit that Greer has endured. My university is currently in the process of revising a statute that gives certain employment protections to academics. One of the major worries about this is that they could simply get rid of us for holding controversial views. When the university called a meeting about this, a professor in a medical field said that she worked on a drug that is only effective on biological females and she needed to be able to actually say this without fearing that any shitstorm that came down on the university from transactivists would result in her losing her job. I was shocked at the time that she could think that things could come to this, but having since seen some social media transactivism at work, I now completely understand her concerns.

I'm so pissed off to find myself working in a University and unable to speak openly about my feminist viewpoints. It's like living in a third-world oppressive regime. I feel that some of this is my own fault for not daring to put my head above the parapet.

Just wondering what other people's experiences are?

Amethyst975 Thu 08-Feb-18 14:26:40

Agree completely, Terfy. I also work at a university and I wouldn't dare mention the issue. I don't actually know just how wide-spread pro-trans views are across the whole uni but I've seen a couple of trans-heavy LGBT events/initiatives mentioned in campus news and a few supportive mentions of "gender diversity".

Don't know how my immediate colleagues would respond. Even if they're woke, they're unlikely to be nasty about opposing views. A few of them are staunch feminists/lesbians, but that can go either way, as we know.

I don't mind holding unpopular views. I just don't want my job threatened or to be forced to "recant" to satisfy diversity objectives.

LangCleg Thu 08-Feb-18 14:31:28

I work for myself so I don't really have an issue. The industry I work in has some elements where I wouldn't be able to be openly gender critical so I just don't bid for that work.

My husband works for a "normal" commercial company. Is loudly and openly gender critical and everyone he works with agrees with him but can't see why it's such a big bee in his bonnet. They think it's a trivial issue for the "loony left" fringe to argue about.

Everyonematters Thu 08-Feb-18 14:31:56

Thanks for posting this, I am so shocked that you feel unable to include feminism focusing on women in the curriculum. Also that your colleague is worried about ongoing funding for things that will affect biological women. This is crazy. I feel really worried about all this. This does not go anywhere good for us as a society. Who is your MP? Would you feel comfortable going to meet them to talk about this in confidence or even writing to them? I get you are worried about work, and feel so cross that you should feel like this. I wonder if there is some way to get an anonymous but verified set of messages about this out there, I am hearing it from so many women.

would be interested in others views. I am between jobs at the moment so no issues.

Winefred Thu 08-Feb-18 14:32:30

It's The Kings Clothes - Don't say the obvious.
& Best not get on a 'List'.

My work? Something which requires that I act Impartially. So an extra obligation to keep Mum.

Amortentia Thu 08-Feb-18 14:33:41

I’ve just gone back to working in Academia and I’m shocked at how much it has changed. I was recently involved in a discussion on one of the Lecturers research, I inquired as to why they were using gender and not sex and it did not go down well at all. Apparently, when researching women’s participation in something you have to be inclusive, so I was told. 🙄

I’ve been really saddened to see the sidelining of the person who teaches gender/feminist Theory. I think she’s too old school for the current climate. Also, there are currently no PhD students directly researching anything to do with women or inequality. I do wonder if it’s linked to hardly any women being in senior positions.

anonymice Thu 08-Feb-18 14:39:10

not easy. I teach language and gender. I am very very wary of having any voice or stance of my own. It's constraining and frustrating.

GetOffMyTERF Thu 08-Feb-18 14:42:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoqontroI Thu 08-Feb-18 14:48:23

I work for the local authority and I can't speak about it either. There are posters now up all over the walls telling me what I should think. I think if I openly expressed my thoughts and brought it forward for discussion, I would certainly lose my job.

TerfyMcTerface Thu 08-Feb-18 14:49:37

Thanks for the replies - I not sure if it's reassuring or just bloody depressing that others feel the same (the latter I think).

Amortentia - it's true that there has been a massive decline in subjects like English, History, Art History, etc. in faculty working on women. Oddly, my DH's department had a feminist scholar recently retire. Until about five years ago, she was the most popular academic in the department (they actually have a prize hmm ). Then suddenly the students all seemed to turn on her and were making constant complaints. I always wondered if this was about a change of attitude amongst the student body to the subject-matter she taught, rather than a 180-degree personality change that she underwent. Anyway, she certainly hasn't been replaced by another feminist scholar.

Everyone - it just so happens that I wrote to my MP this morning about the issue of gender ID. I didn't mention my workplace specifically (though did allude to the way in which women are being threatened, including with their jobs). I'll wait to see how she responds and may push the point further - there is so much to draw attention to with trans issues and their impact on women that I was struggling to keep my letter even close to concise.

Unfortunately, this is yet another area where the marketization of higher education has had a completely toxic effect. We have to appease our customers students rather than challenge them. If push came to shove, I don't think there's any way our VC would stand up for academic freedom of speech on this particular matter.

MiMi78 Thu 08-Feb-18 14:52:37

Am openly critical, as my job involves services that are sex segregated at the moment.
I've brought up valid concerns in the office, to our funders and to management.
It wasn't bravery at all though, when I started I didn't realise it was such a hot potato, I just thought I was speaking common sense.
Since I've realised though, I've had insurance in place that would help me legally and financially if I was sacked.
I do wonder at times how many people will have to defend saying 'women don't have dicks' in employment tribunals.

Fishfingersandwichnocheese Thu 08-Feb-18 14:52:41

I work for a private company. Most of my colleagues are quite left wing.

Regardless I don’t feel able to voice any views due to the risk of being seen as transphobic and the effect it could have on my job.

anonymice Thu 08-Feb-18 14:55:06

My area of academia has no space for radical feminism anymore. There are people in my area working on that approach and using second wave sources to interpret our data, but they are not publishing that work in mainstream journals. I have no idea who is gender critical because to raise that subject would be dangerous, I am sure.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Thu 08-Feb-18 14:55:33

I’m an academic. I have to teach a bit of life drawing as part of my job. It’s the only chance I have to point out sex differences - in pelvic size, shape and angle and length of arm reach. The students are often nervous anyway as they quite often haven’t drawn a nude before but you can hear a pin drop when I’m talking through these differences and there are never any questions, and I suspect, though I’ve no evidence, that this is because a majority are hungry for that information from someone who seems knowledgeable and authoritative and they are pleased to hear it but scared to say anything.

I studied feminism and gender studies. I’m actually quite open to the idea that gender expression and performance is part of the whole of gendered culture but I can’t get on board with identity at all, it seems ridiculous, like introducing the idea of the soul or arguing about transubstantiation, as Janice Turner said.

However, I did a PhD (fairly recently) which was connected to female people. At the start I was using the word sex in the text and was told ‘gender, not sex’ in a strange way. I’ve still not fully worked out if both my supervisors had drunk the kool aid or not but certainly they were very careful. During the PhD I heard all manner of nonsense from a Feminist perspective from other researchers, not just about trans but about other currently fashionable lefty stuff. This experience left me hating my PhD and almost not completing it. I wish I had not had a feminist element in the research. I feel extremely alienated from gender studies in universities and quite angry at the way it’s going. All my future academic research will ignore feminism and focus on other concerns, however I do some activities that are more practical, grass roots feminist work, on a small scale. I feel I’m contributing if I continue with that. I find the current situation so distressing I can’t talk about it calmly so I would never deliberately bring it up. The one time it did come up I totally lost my cool, though the other (lib) fem did seem to forgive me.

TerfyMcTerface Thu 08-Feb-18 14:57:25

Since I've realised though, I've had insurance in place that would help me legally and financially if I was sacked.

I have legal cover from my Union membership. It has crossed my mind that if I needed to avail myself of their legal services on this matter, they wouldn't be very helpful, and would probably be more inclined to burn the witch.

MiMi78 Thu 08-Feb-18 15:03:28

Terfy, yep I've thought that too.
I'm careful to frame everything from a women's rights point of view, risk assessing and safeguarding
The last two put the shits up people where I am, instead of 'transphobia!' And which i can defend if disciplined or at a tribunal grin

athingthateveryoneneeds Thu 08-Feb-18 15:04:32

This is very disturbing. Do we live in a democracy, or not?

OvaHere Thu 08-Feb-18 15:04:50

Don't have anything to add as I'm currently a SAHM (not really out of choice but maybe a silver lining considering my staunch gender critical views).

This is quite depressing reading flowers to you all.

Lonelystarbuckslover Thu 08-Feb-18 15:09:47

Also in academia. Building has 'all gender toilets' next to the men's toilets. It's very right on. I am connected with another institution, a redbrick, that now has a sociology department that has become predominantly male, has sidelined gender studies and is all about technology type research.

I have outed myself to the academics - women, were adults in the 70s, lefty, feminist types - who I sensed were gender critical.

Not with my students though and not with other colleagues.

We need a handshake or a handkerchief to denote TERF.

I teach social construction in a building that has bought into this.

UpstartCrow Thu 08-Feb-18 15:13:27

All this evokes images of 1940's Europe.

drinkswineoutofamug Thu 08-Feb-18 15:15:41

I work NHS, not sure how my views would be taken , but I keep being told I'm not politically correct . I've tried to educate a couple of friends and they said I was being backwards in my thinking

MasterWu Thu 08-Feb-18 15:18:12

I don't mind holding unpopular views. I just don't want my job threatened or to be forced to "recant" to satisfy diversity objectives

The left has done this to the right for years, it can reap what it sows...

Winefred Thu 08-Feb-18 15:19:21

We need a handshake or a handkerchief to denote TERF.

Ofglen says the Eyes now eat at the hall. She tells Offred about the Resistance movement’s password, “Mayday,” which Ofglen had once tried saying to Offred. The password reminds Offred of spy novels. The Handmaids return home, and Nick’s crooked hat signals to Offred that she’ll have a nighttime meeting with the Commander.

cromeyellow0 Thu 08-Feb-18 15:19:55

TerfyMcTerface I have legal cover from my Union membership. It has crossed my mind that if I needed to avail myself of their legal services on this matter, they wouldn't be very helpful, and would probably be more inclined to burn the witch.

Do you know anything concrete about the UCU's stance on this? I'm a member but no nothing about the union's internal politics.

Fishfingersandwichnocheese Thu 08-Feb-18 15:21:03

I dread to think how my social circle would react.

A lot of them are gay me and one at least has posted about his workplace introducing unisex toilets as being a good thing.

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