Oxford college threatens to expel students who misgender or 'deadname' trans peers

2 June 2023, 16:13 | Updated: 2 June 2023, 16:18

People protest in Oxford where Professor Kathleen Stock, who quit her job as a lecturer at the University of Sussex after being targeted by activists over her views on gender identity, spoke at the 200-year-old debating society, the Oxford Union
People protest in Oxford where Professor Kathleen Stock, who quit her job as a lecturer at the University of Sussex after being targeted by activists over her views on gender identity, spoke at the 200-year-old debating society, the Oxford Union. Picture: Alamy
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Regent’s Park College unveils new harassment policy with tough measures for anyone caught ‘consistently using incorrect pronouns’

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The College, a prestigious institution within the University of Oxford, has ignited a controversy with its newly unveiled transgender harassment policy.

Under the college's progressive "trans inclusion statement," students now face the risk of expulsion for consistently misgendering or deadnaming their transgender peers.

Counter protester at Oxford University supporting Kathleen Stock

The policy explicitly declares that any "unlawful discriminatory behaviour, including "transphobic harassment" or bullying, will be regarded extremely seriously and could be grounds for disciplinary action."

The statement sets out a range of examples of transphobic harassment, including the persistent use of incorrect titles, pronouns, or names that cause distress to transgender individuals, commonly known as "deadnaming."

Moreover, the college strictly prohibits intrusive or personal questioning, making derogatory jokes about trans people or their identities, and challenging the validity of someone's gender identity.

The statement lists examples of harassment, including “consistently using incorrect titles, pronouns or names to refer to a trans person (‘deadnaming’) especially where this causes distress”.

The college’s students are also banned from “unduly intrusive or personal questioning”, “making jokes about trans people or their trans status” and “denying or disputing the validity and/or existence of a trans person’s identity”.

Iain Dale and former President of NUS quarrel over cancelling of Kathleen Stock's talk at Oxford Uni

Serious consequences await those who breach this policy. Students found to have violated the guidelines may face expulsion or dismissal from the college, as highlighted in the statement.

The college said it believes “gender reassignment” is not an “exclusively medical” term and also has “personal” dimensions.

Protesters storm Kathleen Stock talk at Oxford Union

This news arrives on the heels of a contentious debate at the Oxford Union, sparked by the appearance of Professor Kathleen Stock, known for her gender-critical views.

Earlier this week, British Philosopher Kathleen Stock told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast about her frustration with transgender people being protected under the "same umbrella" as the biological sex.

She told Nick: "The outcome should be that genuinely single-sex spaces, where women get undressed or sleep or otherwise vulnerable to sexual predators should be female only."

The conversation happened ahead of Prof Stock, who quit her job as a professor at the University of Sussex in October 2021 after being "hounded" for her gender-critical views, was to speak at the prestigious Oxford Union debating club later in May.

The planned talk has sparked fears of protests, with the university's LGBT society calling Prof Stock a "transphobic and trans-exclusionary speaker".

The society said it was "dismayed and appalled" by the invitation to Prof Stock, and called for the union to rescind its invitation.

Stock told Nick: "As a society we've become too concerned about upsetting words and not enough about upsetting facts...

"There are women in rape crisis centers who have been sexually assaulted by men who are now equally traumatised by the presence of males in their spaces, for instance, there are very vulnerable females in prison in close quarters with male rapists due to these ridiculous policies."

She later said: "I would like there to be a range of different spaces available and I think that's what Stonewall should have always put their energy into is thinking about creative solutions so that trans women can feel safe and trans m

The debate grew heated when student activist Riz Possnett glued their hand to the floor, resulting in disruption and subsequent police involvement.

Although the protester was ultimately "de-arrested," the incident has fuelled ongoing discussions about transgender rights and academic freedom.

Notably, renowned gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell withdrew from a debate at the Oxford Union in response to their decision to host Prof. Stock.

Regent's Park College, is led by Prof. Sir Malcolm Evans, an esteemed legal scholar with experience on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse panel.

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