A university in the United Kingdom has issued a new speech restriction – one that demands all references to the transgender lifestyle choice be “positive.”
And it’s catching major backlash from professors who describe the action as “Orwellian.”
The Christian Institute identified the school as the University of Sussex, which has decreed that transgender people can only be “positively represented” in classes on campus.
“The university has introduced a clause in its equality policy which says that ‘any materials within relevant courses and modules will positively represent trans people,'” the Institute said.
Philosophy professor Kathleen Stock, however, suggests that academics need “to be free to discuss concerns over men who identify as women having access to women’s prisons, hostels and rape crisis centers,” the Institute said.
“Universities should have policies that protect employees and students from discrimination,” she explained. “But policies which say you must always ‘positively represent’ a group of people clearly overstep the boundary.”
Such “repressive” ideas exert a “chilling effect” on speech, she warned.
Oxford University’s Michael Biggs said, in the Institute report, that the idea was “outrageous.”
“This is really Orwellian. Universities shouldn’t be imposing transgenderism any more than they impose radical feminism,” he said.
It’s not the first move toward total control of speech that the university has taken. A couple of years ago it demanded that guest speakers provide copies of their speeches in advance so the university could review – and censor – as necessary.
The Telegraph noted the “backlash” included warnings that the college was attempting to “stifle debate.”
Its report explained, “Many universities – including Sussex – base their transgender policies on a template created by the sector organization Advance HE, previously known as the Equality Challenge Unit, which states that courses should be checked to ensure they contain material ‘that positively represents trans people and trans lives.'”
A Sussex official told the Telegraph that university officials took the action “because we are committed to the inclusion of all our community.”
In the United States, it was California that several years ago adopted a requirement that discussion in public schools relating to homosexuality could include only the positive aspects, but the move seemed not to catch on around the country.
California, nevertheless, was undeterred, acting more recently to ban counseling for juveniles struggling to overcome homosexual feelings, even when both the juvenile and his or her parents are in favor of the counseling.