Edinburgh University lecturers given list of ‘microinsults’ and guidance on transgender issues The Times 03.05.21

The original article is here.

Edinburgh University lecturers have been issued with guidance on transgender issues, including a list of “microinsults” they should not use, such as: “I wanted to be a boy when I was a child.”

Other phrases that they have been told to refrain from using include “all women hate their periods” and “all people think about being the opposite gender sometimes”.

The sayings have been described as “microaggressions” which “negate or nullify the thoughts, feelings or lived reality of trans and non-binary people” and undermine their transition to different genders, according to the guidance, seen by The Sunday Telegraph.

Staff have also been told to refrain from placing “excess focus on anatomical sex markers, most usually sexual organs” and have been encouraged to put their preferred pronouns in emails and wear rainbow lanyards on campus to show solidarity with the transgender community. The document also states that lecturers should avoid using labels such as “man” or “woman” or make any suggestion that someone can only be one or the other.

Edinburgh University said that its guidelines were “designed as a resource to support staff, inform discussion, and help promote a respectful, diverse and inclusive community”. It added: “We will always seek to respond sensitively to any concerns staff or students might raise.”

Students had told the university that they had experienced invasive questioning and touching once they revealed they were transgender. One student, whose name was not disclosed, said: “People feel entitled to ask questions that are really intimate that they’d never ask a cis [non-trans] person. Because you’ve been honest about being trans, they then think that they’ve been invited into some sort of sexual or personal discussion.”

Similar guidance has appeared at several Russell Group universities, many of which have asked lecturers to undergo new training on “cisgender privilege”, the advantages afforded to someone who identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth.

Newcastle University told its staff: “Being cisgender comes with social privilege. That’s even for people who are socially disadvantaged in other ways.” Imperial College, the London School of Economics, Warwick, and Exeter have provided similar guidance, advising academics to use their privilege to become allies of the transgender community.

Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at the Kent University, branded the guidance “indoctrination rather than education”.

Last week a primary school head teacher said that she had banned numerous phrases which she believed could be damaging to a child’s development.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, head of Anderton Park Primary School in Sparkhill, Birmingham, said: “We’ve seen in the last year the biggest ever rise in child abuse, in grooming, and if our boys and girls grow up and in school we don’t challenge this sexist language and boys are told, ‘man up’, ‘grow a pair’, ‘don’t cry’, ‘boys don’t cry’, it’s very damaging for them and abusers later . . . will also use this fear.”

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