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Michael Biggs (Sociology Dept. Oxford) "Free speech at Oxford: Do women have the right to meet to discuss legislation?"

(46 Posts)
R0wantrees Thu 24-May-18 01:10:32

Michael Biggs
Associate Professor in Sociology and Fellow of St Cross College writes:

users.ox.ac.uk/~sfos0060/FreeSpeechOxford.pdf

"A meeting was held on 25 April 2018 to discuss proposed changes to the law on gender recognition. The proposed legislation will eliminate sex-segregated spaces and activities, from women’s refuges to competitive sports. In a democracy, people have the right to meet to discuss—and indeed oppose—legislative changes. This should be incontrovertible. I am appalled that a small number of students at Oxford used extreme measures to stop this meeting from being held....
(concludes)
I have entered this debate not because I am a feminist but because freedom of speech is one of the highest values of a democratic society, and the basic foundation of university life.
Transgender activism poses a grave threat to freedom of speech. I think of the young MPhil student who had to disguise herself to attend this meeting because she feared the reaction of fellow students. This is the generation that we have educated."

OP’s posts: |
TransplantsArePlants Thu 24-May-18 05:02:23

Excellent ROwan

Thank you so much for tall he information gathering and linking you do on Feminism Chat. It's invaluable.

TransplantsArePlants Thu 24-May-18 05:02:35

all

womanformallyknownaswoman Thu 24-May-18 05:25:25

Great news - another supporter - although why in the name of heaven women should have to be justifying their right to discuss legislation in public and private meetings and why the police haven't been called in by politicians to defend that right is beyond me.

I appreciate this and all the other links R0wantrees - I love the skill and dedication of people like you who create and maintain databases of useful links - so useful and I appreciate your service.

JoanSummers Thu 24-May-18 08:11:14

This was really interesting to read. Do you know if any of the protesters have been called in for disciplinarys (like in Bristol)?

lightthedarkness Thu 24-May-18 08:13:04

•In 1908, the Woman’s Social and Political Union could advertise meetings in advance and hold them without security measures. But Woman’s Place UK cannot in 2018•

This.

TerfsUp Thu 24-May-18 08:18:43

Good for Michael Biggs. Five stars. Would read again.

SpareRibFem Thu 24-May-18 08:24:20

Glad he's spoken up, we need more people like Professor Biggs to do the same. Amazed and depressed that in 2018 it needs to be stated that women are allowed to discuss legislation that impacts them.

Thanks Rowantrees

LangCleg Thu 24-May-18 08:28:19

Good, clear article.

And how sad that a PhD student had to disguise herself to attend the meeting, lest she be recognised.

Terfulike Thu 24-May-18 08:36:54

Excellent

gendercritter Thu 24-May-18 09:16:17

Very glad this was written.

blackteasplease Thu 24-May-18 09:34:03

Good stuff!

HotRocker Thu 24-May-18 09:45:15

Good article. I wish I’d known about that meeting, I would’ve gone. Hopefully there will be another one so I can attend.

R0wantrees Thu 24-May-18 10:00:06

(no thanks is needed, but thank you!) I happen to have some time at the moment and I still approach complex ideas as I did when studying English.

The wider impact of no-platforming etc in universities was raised by Claire Fox (Institute of Ideas) when interviewed by Julia H-B.
Its at 09:23.
talkradio.co.uk/radio/listen-again/1525325400#

Discussed here in context of the Govt announcement about protecting free speech on university campus:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3238951-some-good-news

OP’s posts: |
R0wantrees Thu 24-May-18 10:21:51

HotRocker
Link here to twitter thread with upcoming WPUK meetings etc twitter.com/Womans_Place_UK/status/998837710491090944
& their website: womansplaceuk.org

OP’s posts: |
Waddlelikeapenguin Thu 24-May-18 10:29:11

R0wantrees adding my thanks also - I do love a good reference smile

Wanderabout Thu 24-May-18 10:32:23

This is a great statement thank you to Michael Biggs for standing up for freedom of speech.

Also thank you to OP!

Damnthatonestakentryanother2 Thu 24-May-18 10:34:13

You'd have thought a Professor would be more aware of the importance of getting facts right before using them as the basis of an opinion.

ToeToToe Thu 24-May-18 10:38:36

I have entered this debate not because I am a feminist but because freedom of speech is one of the highest values of a democratic society, and the basic foundation of university life. Transgender activism poses a grave threat to freedom of speech.

Yes - shout it from the rooftops (now we're being banned from Twitter wink ) This is so, so important. Possibly the most important aspect of the whole thing.

Thank you Rowan & Michael Biggs.

PurpleCrowbar Thu 24-May-18 10:43:21

Excellent article.

I got into a FB ruck last night over David Lewis - will save this to share with my (well meaning) friend who was yelling at me for being a 'bigot'

Thank you x.

R0wantrees Thu 24-May-18 15:30:11

Damnthatonestakentryanother2
"You'd have thought a Professor would be more aware of the importance of getting facts right before using them as the basis of an opinion."

Briggs' document which I have linked above has a number of footnotes and embedded links. I would assume as he is an academic, he would be open to discussion about these.

Like Waddlelikeapenguin I like references.

I won't presume to guess which aspects of Briggs' writing you believe to be unfactual & its not my place to defend him.

I am aware though that a number of 'distortions of truth' have been spread by some people in the name of Trans rights eg 'that women attending WPUK meetings are 'carrying baseball bats, doxxing children, burning books, inciting rape and suicide etc'

It is a shame that these claims are rarely referenced or critiqued.

OP’s posts: |
jgrobinson Thu 24-May-18 22:51:02

Biggs also just reviewed Heather Brunskell-Evans & Michele Moore's book on trans kids for the Oxford Magazine:
users.ox.ac.uk/~sfos0060/TransgenderChildren_review.pdf

(https://twitter.com/Transgendertrd/status/994943901801832448)

spontaneousgiventime Thu 24-May-18 22:53:56

Hmm, academics wading in. Excellent.

R0wantrees Fri 25-May-18 00:23:51

Hmm, academics wading in. Excellent.

Thread below may be of interest:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3254291-Philosophical-perspectives

OP’s posts: |
Noqont Fri 25-May-18 00:29:48

Transgender activism poses a grave threat to freedom of speech.

This really is important to remember. Because if we are silenced, then where does it end. Even if an opinion isn't popular, it's important, really it's everything, that people are allowed to say what they think anyway.

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