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Edinburgh University rules won’t help trans people

Trans rights are indeed human rights but we surely do not need to be treated with such reverence that we cannot be questioned or challenged

Not everyone wants to trumpet their gender dysphoria

As part of new guidance on transgender issues, lecturers at Edinburgh University have been told to avoid using ‘microinsults’ like: ‘I wanted to be a boy when I was a child’. It’s probably a good thing that I do not teach there, since I certainly wanted to be a girl.

Transgender guidance used to be simple and effective. When I transitioned in 2012, my colleagues were advised to continue to treat me the same as before (i.e. as a human being). They did, and all was well. Certainly, we all had far too much work to do than to worry about my change of wardrobe.

But getting on with life as before is no solution for the new breed of transgender activists who seem to think that the world revolves around them. The new Edinburgh guidance restricts language — lecturers are advised to avoid using the ‘labels’ man and woman — and change their way of thinking about sex and gender, lest they upset any transgender people within this spiral arm of the Milky Way.

Of course, staff at Edinburgh have also been encouraged to wear rainbow lanyards, and put their pronouns in email signatures. But at some point, somebody needs to ask: why? Pronoun signatures are not the easy-win that our progressive allies might think they are. Not every sufferer of gender dysphoria can be out to the world. And while some people may wrap themselves in pink-and-blue flags and trumpet their identity, others are forced to hide their inner feelings. Whether they are driven by shame, guilt and fear, or they simply do not want to disrupt hurt their families, does not matter.

Had pronoun circles (declaring one’s pronouns) been the norm 20 years ago, I would have crumbled inside every time it was my turn to say “my pronouns are he and him.” What else could I have said? But the activists do not care about those people any more than they care about the rights of women or the safeguarding of children, two other groups who have been victim to this self-seeking and self-serving movement.

The biggest culprits, however, are those policymakers who have disengaged with reality and pandered to every request. Trans rights are indeed human rights — we are human beings after all — but we surely do not need to be treated with such reverence that we cannot be questioned or challenged.

It is not a micro insult to say that “you are either a man or a woman” — whatever Edinburgh university might be telling its staff. It is the truth. Transgender people have come a long way in society since we lived in fear of being ridiculed or dismissed from our jobs, but only the truth will set us free.


Debbie Hayton

* This article was first published by Unherd on 5 May 2021: Edinburgh University rules won’t help trans people.

By Debbie Hayton

Physics teacher and trade unionist.

2 replies on “Edinburgh University rules won’t help trans people”

How very sad that it has come to this – when a casual remark is treated as a micro-insult. Exactly how many trans students are at this uni to actually warrant such draconian rules, for draconian they certainly are. As you so rightly pointed out, back in the day everyone was busy getting on with all the things they had to do. Nowadays, students seem to be spending their time foraging for perceived slurs and insults and combing the history books looking for yet more perceived links to insults and slavery. Those who are not trans think that allying themselves so vociferously with the trans mob somehow confers upon them a sanctity that says they are ‘all right,’ they ‘understand,’ they are ‘one of us’ in mind and thought. When they get into the real world, both trans and wanna-be-in-the-mindset, they will have a hard time inflicting their neuroses and anxieties and perpetual state of perceived ‘offendedness’ in the business world where employers are less than sympathetic and will show them the door.

Liked by 2 people

I just don’t see how encouraging uber-sensitivity will make students fit for the world upon their exit from uni. I realise the attitude is that the world has to change to accommodate them, and certainly some changes are good, but the world will never stop being a tough place to live in and will never change enough for them. Feelings are always changing, but our external world doesn’t change at anywhere near the same pace. I believe that civility and courtesy to all should be encouraged and insisted upon as a foundation of behaviour, but needing to have hyper-vigilance to offence just makes these students (and others ) such high maintenance that it’s exhausting.

Liked by 1 person

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