Today I was informed that a woman named Selena Todd had been invited to my university, the University of Kent to speak. What’s the big deal? She’s a working class, self proclaimed feminist scholar from Oxford. Oh, and she’s also an active transphobic or TERF (‘trans exclusionary radical feminist). This means that she does not believe in the rights of trans men and women to exist in their own right.
Todd claims that people who ‘identify as female but are anatomically male’ should be excluded from female only spaces as well as claiming that trans rights will negatively impact cis-women’s rights. Her response to criticism is the often cited ‘freedom of speech‘ which, strangely enough, only comes to importance when people want to be bigoted. Any sort of hate crime should not be taken lying down, especially not in an academic setting. We cannot stop Todd from spreading ignorance and hatred, but we can diminish her platform by not allowing her to speak at our places of education, work or leisure. Therefore, if you would, please contact the people in charge. Below is a template email that can be copied and pasted and sent straight to the Head of School for English, who is in charge of this event. It has not been widely publicised yet, so there is a chance that we stop it before it starts. Further down is the email that I myself have sent. Feel free to create your own version or just send a simple statement asking to stop Todd’s visit. I really urge you to take the time to do this, whether you’re in the University of Kent, a student, or just someone who knows that this situation is wrong. Any and all voices are welcome.
Edit – I have received comments to say that Todd should be allowed to speak to bring her opinion to a debate. Firstly, the event she is invited to is not a debate on trans rights but a lecture on working class feminism. Secondly, trans rights are not up for debate. Their right to exist and function as full members of society is not an opinion or a debate topic.
‘Dear Dr. James
I am writing to express my disdain for the invitation of Selena Todd to speak at the university. I am in solidarity with the trans members of our community and therefore request that the event is cancelled and replaced with an intersectional speaker who will not spread further hate.
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org