Summary: Britain’s Essex University recently opted to rescind a speaking invitation criminology professor Jo Phoenix after students objected to her belief that gender identity is not as important as biological sex, known as the “gender-critical” viewpoint. A lawyer hired by Essex to investigate the decision found in her report that the rescinded invitation and subsequent blacklisting was likely in violation of Professor Phoenix’s Free Speech rights and British law.
The event is a flashpoint in a growing conflict between transgender activists and gender-critical adherents. Transgender viewpoints, largely originating from American campuses, argue that questioning the importance and validity of an individual’s gender identity is a rejection of their humanity. Conversely, gender-critical activists are concerned that transgender activism threatens female-reserved spaces, like sports teams, prisons, and shelters. The Essex University lawyer’s report is expected to serve as a rallying cry for gender-critical academics, at least in Britain.