These are the full answers from my interview with the Brighton Argus here.
1) Why does there need to be a discussion around proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act?
The proposed move to self-identification within the legal gender reassignment process needs to be discussed, party because of the problem of sex-segregated spaces, where females get undressed or sleep. These spaces were originally designed to protect the dignity, privacy, and safety of female women and girls. Organisations such as Youth Hostelling Scotland, Topshop, Caledonian Sleeper, Girl Guiding UK, and some women’s prisons, are already allowing into these spaces trans women who say they are women. Many trans women retain male genitalia and a sexual attraction towards females. If gender reassignment proceeds by ‘self-ID’ then in practice, this will make transitioning much easier, and will eventually mean more trans women in female-only spaces, unless the law excludes them. It also means that it will be increasingly hard for women-only spaces to keep out any males, whether trans women or not, because in practice people might not be able to tell the difference by appearance. This puts women at risk from predatory males who want to take advantage of the loophole. Meanwhile, the existing Equalities Act is confusing for people and does not help sort out the issues. I think all this should be discussed openly, listening to all people affected, including females.
2) Have you had backlash from the LGBTQ community before on this or any other issue?
No. I gladly and vocally assert the rights of trans people to live their lives free from fear, violence, harassment or any discrimination. I think that discussing female rights is compatible with defending these trans rights.
As a lesbian, I am also concerned with lesbian rights. I am particularly concerned about trans women, with male genitalia, being called ‘lesbians’, and what this means for female lesbians. I think that this also needs discussion.
3) Fox believes that the intention of the event is to create a moral panic as there isn’t anything that needs to be solved or discussed as trans woman pose no threat to cis women. Thoughts?
I am definitely not saying that trans women are particularly dangerous — they are definitely not. Most trans people are law-abiding and wouldn’t dream of harming anyone. However, many trans women are still males with male genitalia, many are sexually attracted to females, and they should not be in places where females undress or sleep in a completely unrestricted way. We need to discuss this.
4) Fox also believes that it is deeply concerning that one of their (UoS) lecturers would so openly oppose the rights of trans people and advocate against their inclusion. Adding, “to have to either attend classes with someone that openly want to deny you your basic human rights, or to work with them, is incredibly stressful and harmful.” Thoughts?
I support trans rights and have worked very happily and productively alongside trans students for many years. This has nothing to do with any particular trans people — it is about a general structural issue in our society, and how to deal with it. I don’t teach on this area, and I would never impose my views on students in my teaching anyway. I encourage students to think for themselves, and to disagree with me. Philosophy is about exploring and challenging different viewpoints, in a respectful, civil way.