Over recent years, women with views like mine have routinely been described as hateful. This happened even when we made it clear that we oppose bigotry and support laws protecting transgender people from discrimination. But what is shocking is the escalating language and threats, to the point where Stock – the author of a well-reviewed book on this subject – was advised by police to install CCTV.
It seems easy, for some, to dismiss any resistance to changing cultures of gender as reactionary (or quasi-fascist). It is true that most of the MPs speaking up for Kathleen Stock so far have been Tories. By not explicitly condemning the demands for her to be sacked, while calling for an “investigation” into “institutional transphobia”, the academic union, the UCU, appeared to side with the campaign against her.
But it is a mistake to imagine that the only people for whom sexual differences are meaningful are evolutionary biologists or religious conservatives. For gender-critical feminists, our politics are underpinned by an analysis of the way female bodies and reproductive labour have historically been controlled and exploited. This is why we describe women’s rights as “sex-based”.