Liz Truss supports University of Sussex Professor in row about transgender rights

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss during her speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss during her speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

The Minister for Women and Equalities says 'no one should be targeted and harassed simply for holding an opinion'

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The Equalities minister, Liz Truss has spoken out in support for the University of Sussex's Philosophy professor Kathleen Stock.

Liz Truss has supported Kathleen Stock, 48, who is at the centre of a debate about her views on transgender rights.

Kathleen Stock, is a gender and sexual orientation expert who has been branded a 'transphobe' for saying 'many trans women are still males with male genitalia.'

Stock was awarded an OBE earlier this year.

The head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Baroness Falkner of Margravine, has called the attacks "disgraceful".

The Equalities minister responded in agreement with Baroness Falkner of Margravine and tweeted: "Fully support this letter from the chair of the equality and human rights commission - no one should be targeted and harassed simply for holding an opinion."

Police have given Kathleen Stock access to a hotline to call, a warning her to stay away from campus. Police also are recommending that she teach online.

Images of posters emerged saying the professor's comments 'makes trans students unsafe' and that Sussex students are 'not paying £9,250 a year for transphobia.'

The Twitter hashtag #ShameOnSussexUni has been circulating on the platform and banners saying 'Stock Out' have been held around the campus.

The group running the demonstrations is called 'Anti Terf Sussex', describing itself as an 'unaffiliated network of queer and trans students'.

The acronym 'Terf' stands for 'trans-exclusionary radical feminist'.

The insult was most notably thrown at Harry Potter author JK Rowling following her reply to an article about menstruation.

The posters attacking the philosophy professor have been removed.

The University of Sussex has defended the rights of Professor Kathleen Stock to remain in her job, saying "we will not tolerate threats to cherished academic freedoms".

A University of Sussex spokesman said: “We were extremely concerned to see the harassment towards our staff member and took immediate action in response to this, which is continuing.

“We are deeply committed to being a safe and inclusive university, which values and advances equality and diversity, seeks to resolve conflicts, advances good relations and upholds lawful free speech.

“As a university community, we must be able to have complex discussions without bullying or harassment. We will always take swift action when this occurs.

“Our role as a university is to facilitate such conversations to advance shared understanding and common agreement. We insist that these are carried out respectfully and are always protective of our staff and students.”