Barred academic Heather Brunskell-Evans warns of cowardice over trans issues by Lucy Bannerman in The Times 23 November 2017
The original article can be read here.
Heather Brunskell-Evans had been asked to give a talk this week on the subject of pornography and the sexualisation of young women
An academic who was no-platformed by university students after she discussed transgender issues on a radio show has attacked the “reprehensible cowardliness” of public institutions.
Heather Brunskell-Evans, a research fellow at King’s College London, who is also a spokeswoman for the Women’s Equality Party, told The Times that she believed such institutions were running scared from public debate, out of fear of offending the transgender lobby.
She had been asked by medical students from the Reproductive and Sexual Health Society at King’s to give a talk this week on the subject of pornography and the sexualisation of young women, at the college’s Guy’s Campus in south London.
But days after appearing on the Moral Maze, the Radio 4 series hosted by Michael Buerk, she was told that the event had been cancelled because of concerns that her views on “transgender health . . . would violate the student union’s ‘Safe Space’ policy”.
On the programme, panellists quizzed Dr Brunskell-Evans, and three other speakers, including two transgender activists and a psychotherapist, on the subject of “defining gender”.
The academic had argued in favour of transgender adults defining themselves “in whichever way they want”, but she questioned the advice being promoted to schools and youth groups by transgender organisations that positive affirmation was the only correct way to support children who expressed confusion over their gender.
She said: “If a child decides that it’s an astronaut, one can play along with this. One doesn’t have to moralise about it but quite clearly the child is not an astronaut. In fact it’s incumbent upon adults who are responsible for the welfare, psychological and social and medical, of children not to go along with this story.” It is understood her comments prompted three complaints from transgender members of the Women’s Equality Party, accusing her of “promoting prejudice against the transgender community”.
The party confirmed that it was investigating Dr Brunskell-Evans, who is the spokeswoman on violence against women and girls. It said: “The party has not silenced or sanctioned the subject of the complaint in any way. We are reviewing a complaint, in line with our constitution.”
Dr Brunskell-Evans said she feared “there’s something very dark going on. People who were male are now in the Women’s Equality Party dictating what the party spokeswoman should say on issues affecting women and girls. You could not write this.
“The cowardliness of institutional response is more than reprehensible. No one will speak out. Good people are standing back, doing nothing, as others get pilloried. Organisations and individuals are petrified to be seen as taking any other view than unequivocally endorsing transgender doctrine. It’s truly shocking.
“How has the trans lobby become so powerful that people, including those medical practitioners about to be qualified in the specific field of sexual and reproductive health, are unwilling to tolerate a talk from me on another topic?”
She added: “Truly, this language of violation and safe space is worthy of Orwell’s double think.”
Alexandra Tate, president of the Reproductive and Sexual Health Society, said the event had been cancelled “due to the short notice of these concerns being raised.
“We will endeavour to continue to host speakers whose opinions differ from convention, but in the future we will make sure measures are in place to allow them to be explored safely. We apologise to Dr Brunskell-Evans that we didn’t get these sorted in time for this event.”