TERF aesthetics

Trigger warning: The following text reproduces queer- and transphobic statements and attitudes.

Preliminary Remarks
Before I try to approach the media debate about the transphobic statements and the resulting withdrawal of the British professor Kathleen Stock as well as the arguments brought forward from different sides, I would first like to shed light on my own situatedness and approach in the discourse about gender.
1. I have the privilege of living without gender or body dysphoria. I identify with the social category ‘woman’ to the extent that this assignment forms my lived experiences of discrimination and situates them within a structural power scheme. However, the concept of womanhood is rather abstract for me and I feel has little to do with my intrinsically experienced gender identity.

2. I am writing this essay in the context of a queerfeminist seminar. This makes it easier to write confidently against hegemonic notions of gender. The text should be as radical as necessary and as sensitive as possible. Since I myself have been socialized into this very hegemony, I must continually check my thoughts and language concerning cis-heterosexist narratives in the writing process.
3. Just as I cannot escape the real consequences of societal conceptions of gender, the social entanglements must not be ignored when considering the debate about Kathleen Stock: It is embedded in a media landscape that is predominantly shaped by cisgendered,
white people, and in which visibility and social power are mutually reinforcing. Since I do not self-identify as trans*, I want to avoid speaking for trans* people and instead take a position of solidarity alongside them when writing (following the decolonial methodology “Speaking Near-by” by filmmaker and theorist Trinh T. Minh-ha).


In the autumn of 2021, Professor Kathleen Stock leaves her post after 18 years of teaching at the University of Sussex in England. Her resignation is the result of self-organized protests by an anonymous group of queer, trans* and non-binary students of the same university, who first published a mission statement against her and demanded Stock’s dismissal in the following days with poster actions and demonstrations. The protests were triggered by the queer- and transphobic statements that Kathleen Stock published in newspaper interviews, blog posts and via her personal Twitter account, especially during the last three years of her tenure.

The following text will, on the one hand, re-trace the media debate surrounding her resignation, as well as the argumentation and rhetoric of the accompanying cancel culture accusations and the emphatically expressed fears that academic freedom and freedom of expression have been endangered. On the other hand, it will attempt to identify specific aesthetics of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism.

Reference is made primarily to various German and British newspaper articles that reported on the debate. First, however, the text will take an in-depth look at the argumentation and thought structures of TERFs.


Why Kathleen Stock is a TERF

On August 19, 2008, blogger Viv Smythe writes the following under her pseudonym TigTog on Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, her blog on feminism FAQs:

I am aware that this decision is likely to affront some trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs), but it must be said: marginalising trans women at actual risk from regularly documented abuse /violence in favour of protecting hypothetical cis women from purely hypothetical abuse/violence from trans women in women-only safe-spaces strikes me as horribly unethical as well as repellently callous.1Smythe, Viv: An apology and a promise. in: Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, 19.08.2008, https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/an-apology-and-a-promise (last accessed 30.10.2022)

Shortly after that the acronym TERF appeared on more feminist blogs,2Williams, Cristan: TERF: What It Means And Where It Came From. in: The Trans Advocate, 03.2014, https://www.transadvocate.com/terf-what-it-means-and-where-it-came-from_n_13066.htm (last accessed … Continue reading gaining popularity over the years. In a 2017 interview with The Trans Advocate, Smythe describes the term as a neutral designation for a branch of radical feminism found primarily online, on blogs and social media. She says she used the term in response to a sudden rise in transmisogynist comments and posts in radical feminist internet spaces, which was then picked up by other trans*-positive/neutral feminist activists and used for distinction.3Williams, Cristan: TERF: What It Means And Where It Came From. in: The Trans Advocate, 03.2014, https://www.transadvocate.com/terf-what-it-means-and-where-it-came-from_n_13066.htm (last accessed … Continue reading

TERFs frame trans* women and trans*-feminine persons in various scenarios as threats to cis women, which is why they fundamentally reject their inclusion in (safer) spaces such as women’s restrooms or women’s shelters. 

Under the highly transmisogynistic assumption that trans* women remain ‘biological men’, they are imagined as potential sexual offenders. Accordingly, there is a rather dismissive and sometimes mocking attitude towards terminologies such as ‘cis’ or self-identified pronouns. Moreover, something like a neo-liberal trans* agenda is often being suspected, which persuades lesbian women into believing that they are trans* men—“transing the gay away”, as Bev Jackson claims, co-founder of the transphobic advocacy group LGB Alliance, of which Kathleen Stock is also a member.4Dixon, Hayley: Tavistock clinic ‘putting young gay people at risk by treating them as trans’. in: The Telegraph, 12.09.2022, … Continue reading 

The conflict surrounding Kathleen Stock, whose teaching focus at the University of Sussex on the nature of fiction and imagination as well as art and music theory in philosophy before the conflict began, ignited in 2018 over several contentious writings and essays Stock published on various blogs on the occasion of the proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act—a legal reform that would make it easier for trans* people in the UK to change their gender identity without having to present humiliating medical or psychological certificates.

In an essay on the US-american publishing platform Medium, she circumvents terms like ‘cis’ or ‘afab’ by awkwardly calling cis women “women-who-are-not-transwomen” and abbreviating them as “WNT”. This is not a harmless linguistic gimmick, but follows a rhetorical strategy of preserving cis gender as a social norm by never explicitly naming it.

Language is a subtle but effective means of perpetuating established relations of oppression and power: In a heterosexist, predominantly white society, a person is imagined as cis-male, straight, white, able-bodied, etc. until they are linguistically marked and categorized as trans*, queer, of color, or disabled. However, language can also very effectively unmask and destabilize structures of power and oppression by examining supposed norms and also describing them with terms—such as ‘cis’. Kathleen Stock’s active avoidance of the concept of cis as just another gender, which has been established in Western gender studies since the 1990s, impressively underlines the progressive potential of this seemingly small word.

She continues:

Citing the history of male violence against WNT, some have pointed out what seems perfectly reasonable — that this change in the law will allow some duplicitous or badly motivated males to “change gender” fairly easily […] in order to do harm to WNT in women-only spaces, and possibly children too, since children are often with their mothers.5Stock, Kathleen: Academic philosophy and the UK Gender Recognition Act. in: Medium, 07.05.2022, https://medium.com/@kathleenstock/academic-philosophy-and-the-uk-gender-recognition-act-6179b315b9dd … Continue reading 

In the same year, she expressed the following opinion to the local British newspaper The Argus: “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.”6Doherty-Cove, Jody: ‚Trans women are still males with male genitalia‘ – university lecturer airs controversial views. in: The Argus, 15.07.2018, … Continue reading Furthermore, in the internationally renowned magazine The Economist, Stock publishes a text that reveals an extremely biologistic and essentialist way of thinking about the social gender categories of “man” and “woman” and predicts gender self-determination as a crime statistics distorting rape and threat scenario for cis women.7Stock, Kathleen: Changing the concept of “woman” will cause unintended harms. in The Economist, 06.07.2018, … Continue reading 

Even though Stock regularly dismisses all accusations of transphobia, this is ultimately purely at the discretion of those who are affected. In the case of the student protests at the University of Sussex, at least, it’s clear. In their mission statement published on October 6 via the Instagram channel antiterfsussex, the anonymous group of queer, trans* and non-binary activists writes:

Transphobes like Stock are anti-feminist, anti-queer and anti-intellectual, they are harmful and dangerous to trans people. […] They camouflage their transphobia in academic language, in fake feminism, in „reasonable concerns“, and then we suffer the real material consequences of it.8antiterfsussex, 06.10.2021, https://www.instagram.com/p/CUrjq01MbQ1 (last accessed 31.10.2022)

© INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT @ANTITERFSUSSEX


Media Representation of the Conflict over Scientific Freedom, Cancel Culture, and Discourse Sovereignty

In both the British and German media, the protests and Stock’s subsequent personal resignation attract a great deal of attention. The headline of the British tabloid The Daily Mail reads:

Terrorised off campus by the trans hate mob: Balaclava-clad fanatics targeted her for daring to speak up for women’s right. But here, ex-university lecturer Kathleen Stock defiantly says she WON‘T be silenced in fight for freedom of thought9Bindel, Julie: Terrorised off campus by the trans hate mob: Balaclava-clad fanatics targeted her for daring to speak up for women‘s rights. But here, ex-university lecturer Kathleen Stock defiantly … Continue reading 

The German newspaper FAZ writes in a slightly more moderate way about “Cancel Culture”10Vukadinović, Vojin Saša: Chronik einer orchestrierten Verleumdung. in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 18.03.2021, … Continue reading and the “smear campaign against a philosopher”11Vukadinović, Vojin Saša: Schmutzkampagne gegen eine Philosophin. in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 11.10.2021, … Continue reading, while the taz uses the mocking neologism ‘Wokistan’ in its reporting12Feddersen, Jan: Antifreiheitliches Wokistan. in: taz, 01.11.2021, https://taz.de/Professorin-tritt-nach-trans-Eklat-ab/!5809038 (last accessed 30.10.2022). The daily Zeit speaks of “transactivists [who] go after feminists”13Vukadinović, Vojin Saša: Gezielte Kampagnen. in: Die Zeit, 26.11.2021, https://www.zeit.de/2021/48/kathleen-stock-wissenschaftsfreiheit-feministen-transaktivisten-philosophin (last accessed … Continue reading and thus deems academic freedom endangered. One author appears conspicuously often in the discourse: Vojin Saša Vukadinović, who himself studied gender studies in the early 2000s, then called it the “academic nail in the coffin of women’s emancipation”14Vukadinović, Vojin Saša: Butler erhebt „Rassismus“-Vorwurf. in: Emma, 28.06.2017, https://www.emma.de/artikel/gender-studies-sargnaegel-des-feminismus-334569 (last accessed 30.10.2022) in 2017, defends Stock’s position very vehemently and unyieldingly in his texts.

Almost all articles reporting on the case are illustrated with a photo of the resigned professor, a white woman with a short gray haircut, at times portrayed in her office with an exhausted smile or a troubled scowl, at times in a heroic perspective from below, then again with her back to the camera, the dark shadows of a crowd retouched on top. The pictorial politics makes it clear: the defendant and her perspective have the word.

In the contributions to the debate, the hostility experienced by Stock from the activists is profusely discussed. The majority of student activists had protested through flyer and poster campaigns, social media posts, and demonstrations in a show-stopping but peaceful manner. Nevertheless, the protest is vilified as a targeted defamation, campaign of lies, hatred and agitation by oversensitive students, and the argumentation of the protest letter15Open Letter Concerning Transphobia in Philosophy, 06.2021, https://sites.google.com/view/trans-phil-letter (last accessed 30.10.2022) signed by more than 600 philosophers worldwide is largely undercut. Stock’s persistent adherence to long outdated biologisms and binaries is elevated as a courageous questioning of the “gender paradigm.”16Vukadinović, Vojin Saša: Gezielte Kampagnen. in: Die Zeit, 26.11.2021, https://www.zeit.de/2021/48/kathleen-stock-wissenschaftsfreiheit-feministen-transaktivisten-philosophin (last accessed … Continue reading At the same time, her derogatory and defamatory behavior towards trans* persons inside and outside the university remains completely unmentioned, as does the fact that she “tried to prevent its discussion in a student magazine,”17Celikates, Robin; Hoppe, Katharina; Loick, Daniel; Nonhoff, Martin; von Redecker, Eva; Vogelmann, Frieder: Wissenschaftsfreiheit, die wir meinen. in: Die Zeit, 18.11.2021, … Continue reading as the philosophers and social scientists Robin Celikates, Katharina Hoppe, Daniel Loick, Martin Nonhoff, Eva von Redecker, and Frieder Vogelmann emphasize in another Zeit article. Rightfully, as authors of one of the few counter-positions, they object to the claim that freedom of science and speech is threatened and point out the double standards that underlie the argumentation:

The biased presentation of such cases is methodoligical and a real reason for concern. Again and again, similar strategies are used to convince the public that it is, of all people, those with established and institutional support who are threatened.18Celikates, Robin; Hoppe, Katharina; Loick, Daniel; Nonhoff, Martin; von Redecker, Eva; Vogelmann, Frieder: Wissenschaftsfreiheit, die wir meinen. in: Die Zeit, 18.11.2021, … Continue reading

Academic freedom is a mere buzzword that is supposed to make power and violence in the academic world invisible and thus legitimize reactionary positions. An emancipatory understanding of academic freedom would therefore need to recognize the university as a space that is shaped by exclusions and hierarchies arising from historical relations of power. True knowledge can only be pursued through the inclusion of marginalized positions and the continuous dismantling of power asymmetries.19Celikates, Robin; Hoppe, Katharina; Loick, Daniel; Nonhoff, Martin; von Redecker, Eva; Vogelmann, Frieder: Wissenschaftsfreiheit, die wir meinen. in: Die Zeit, 18.11.2021, … Continue reading

Grace Laverey, a professor at Berkeley, trans* activist, and former student at the University of Sussex, makes perfectly clear in an essay published on her blog at the same time that Stock’s academic freedom and freedom of speech have not been curtailed, but, shamefully, the rights of that activists.20Lavery, Grace: The UK Media Has Seriously Bungled the Kathleen Stock Story. in: www.gracelavery.org, 17.10.2021, http://www.gracelavery.org/uk-media-biased-stock-sussex (last accessed 30.10.2022) When, for example, Amelia Jones, student representative for trans* and non-binary people at the University of Sussex, explained in an interview with the BBC why Kathleen Stock, as an active member of the transphobic LGB Alliance and her signature on the Women’s Declaration of Sex-Based Rights—a manifesto against trans* rights—created an unsafe atmosphere for trans* students21Thorburn, Jacob: BBC is forced to air ‚correction‘ from feminist professor Kathleen Stock after allowing students‘ union officer to ‚falsely‘ claim that she signed a ‚declaration to … Continue reading, Stock started a media campaign against the student, who had to close her social media accounts after attacks by Stock’s supporters.22Lavery, Grace: The UK Media Has Seriously Bungled the Kathleen Stock Story. in: http://www.gracelavery.org, 17.10.2021, http://www.gracelavery.org/uk-media-biased-stock-sussex (last accessed … Continue reading

And the statements made by the Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell on the University of Sussex Twitter account are indeed a violation of students’ rights to academic freedom by threatening to launch investigations and consequences for those who publish arguments in favor of Kathleen Stock’s suspension, i.e. put up posters. Thus, while Kathleen Stock is continually allowed to speak out in numerous media outlets and backed by the university administration, particularly Vice Chancellor Adam Tickell, the activists’ position and arguments are muzzled in the media portrayal.

The mode of reporting clearly illustrates the prevailing power relations in the gender debate, and the fact that Kathleen Stock is offered (and accepts)23Woolcock, Nicola: Kathleen Stock: Exiled academic joins free-speech college The University of Austin. in: The Times, 10.11.2021, … Continue reading a teaching position at the ‘free-speech’ University of Austin in Texas a few days after her resignation is only further evidence of the fallacy of the cancel-culture narrative, which claims that progressive debates continually lead to the systematic and forceful exclusion of previously established positions. On the contrary, the fact that activists were able to achieve Kathleen Stock’s resignation through their protests is not something we should take for granted. They have had to act loudly, multi-media, and consistently in order to be taken seriously in their demands, and yet both the British and German media have inevitably followed the cis-heterosexist perspective24Steinhoff, Uwe: Was man nicht kritisieren darf. in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22.11.2021, … Continue reading, taking some of the most extreme and frightening positions in the current debate about the human rights of trans* people.

In a final statement, the activists write about their partial success:

We have organized as a network of autonomous actors – and it is due to our anonymity, plurality of tactics and decentralized structure that we have succeeded. Fuck the national press media who happily collaborated with the university and Stock to turn this into a debate about ‘free speech’ and ‘academic freedoms’. […] For those reaching out to this account, we will not speak to the press because we will never debate, discuss or organize on the terms of the people who have enabled discrimination and transphobia. […] But the struggle isn’t over. Institutional transphobia lives on, it runs deeper than Stock or Tickell or Sussex or any university. Trans liberation is possible in our lifetimes but we must stand strong together in the face of structures that support eliminationists and bigots.25antiterfsussex: ANTI-STOCK ACTION 2021, 28.10.2021, https://www.instagram.com/p/CVlRyn3gcrs (last accessed 31.10.2022)


TERF Aesthetics and their Proximity to Neo-Fascist Narratives

The transmisogynistic claim that trans* women are and remain ‘biological men’ is not new. It is underpinned by an outdated but widespread biologistic binary that divides humanity into two groups: the XX group and the XY group, and pathologizes all those who disrupt this binary. Any debate that seeks to discuss the antecedent conditions of this division, thus questioning its objectivity, is in turn, in an attempt to delegitimize it, accused of subjective (i.e. ‘unscientific’) affectedness. 

The film theorist and literary scholar Teresa de Lauretis is one of the many representatives of gender and queer studies who have been writing against this accusation for decades. She regards the cultural production of gender in the understanding of Michel Foucault as a ‘technology of sex’, which “is a product of various social technologies such as cinema and institutionalized discourses, epistemologies, critical forms of practice, and also of everyday practice”26de Lauretis, Teresa: Die Technologie des Geschlechts. In: Kathrin Peters (Hg.), Andrea Seier (Hg.), Gender & Medien-Reader, S. 459. (last accessed 31.10.2022). In other words, technology is composed of multiple practices/discourses (pop culture, laws, police, art, media discourses, science) that continuously (re)produce concepts like ‘sex’ and ‘gender’.

The trans- and queerphobic trope of the serial killer or sex offender dressed in women’s clothing is, in fact, found in pop culture in multiple forms, such as in the award-winning and million-received motion pictures Psycho from 1960, in which the serial killer believes his jealous deceased mother has taken possession of him, and therefore murders the women he desires dressed in women’s clothes and wigs, or 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, in which a man kidnaps women, murders them, and skins them to make a dress based on his desire to be a woman. These transmisogynistic narratives are a direct product of the misogyny of patriarchy, which inherently demonizes women acting in a self-determined manner and accordingly declares men who explore their femininity to be insane and monstrous.

PSYCHO, 1960, © SUNSET BOULEVARD/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES

Not only do TERFs pick up on these pop culture-enhanced, violent narratives in their arguments, but in right-wing circles, explicitly transphobic and anti-feminist beliefs have also become a cornerstone of neo-fascist ideology. Sascha Krahnke, who researches right-wing extremism at the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, describes how right-wing extremist and transphobic disinformation campaigns are converging: “For a few years now, or increasingly this year, [we’ve seen] the strong focus on the trans issue. And especially trans women or trans-feminine people as an enemy image, as a threat.”27Kogel, Dennis: Genzmer, Jenny: Die Anfeindungen nehmen zu. in: Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 16.07.2022, https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/transpersonen-desinformationen-100.html (last accessed … Continue reading 

However, disinformation is only one example of the tactics and rhetoric of TERFs that are alarmingly similar to those of (neo-)fascist movements. Another tactic is the appropriation of originally leftist terms and theses: Expressions such as cancel culture and woke/wokeness/wokistan, which originated in queer and/or Black (internet) communities, are now combative terminologies of right-wing conservative politics, much like the concept of political correctness. The appropriation, distortion, and inversion of leftist images, concepts, and narratives is known in the Identitarian movement as ‘Metapolitics'28https://www.identitaere-bewegung.de/faq/was-ist-unter-dem-begriff-metapolitik-zu-verstehen (last accessed 04.12.2022), a political strategy absurdly coined by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci.

The last example brings us back to Kathleen Stock: similar to neo-fascist ideologies, the narrative of the hero/martyr who dares to speak out against the supposedly discourse-dominating gender ideology can also be found in this case. Thus the slogan of the German TERF magazine Emma reads “Stay brave!”, a magazine that Kathleen Stock defended in a long article29Louis, Chantal: Kathleen Stock: Realität & Ideologie. in: Emma, 23.02.2022, https://www.emma.de/artikel/realitaet-wiegt-schwerer-als-ideologie-339251 (last accessed 31.10.2022), a few weeks after it not just implicitly referred to the Green party politician and trans* woman Tessa Ganserer as a man in women’s clothes30Ganserer: Die Quotenfrau. in: Emma, 19.02.2022, https://www.emma.de/artikel/markus-ganserer-die-quotenfrau-339185 (last accessed 31.10.2022). And the narrative voice set to emotive music in the promotional video for the so-called ‘Forbidden Courses’, a summer school at the University of Austin, Texas, where Stock now teaches, enthuses about the university’s concept: “willing to take intellectual risk will attract the intellectual risk takers and those of course are the intellectual innovators”31https://www.uaustin.org/forbidden-courses (last accessed 31.10.2022). At the same time, with the rise of the religious right in the U.S., more and more trans* people are fleeing Texas for fear of losing their human rights.32Kogel, Dennis: Genzmer, Jenny: Die Anfeindungen nehmen zu. in: Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 16.07.2022, https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/transpersonen-desinformationen-100.html (last accessed … Continue reading

The circle closes with the abundance of references to persons from neo-Nazi networks among the supporters of the LGB Alliance, of which Kathleen Stock is a member.33Parsons, Vic: Neo-Nazis and homophobes are among the supporters of the ‘anti-trans’ group LGB Alliance. in: PinkNews, … Continue reading The statement on their website that “a religious person who is struggling with their sexuality [should] be allowed to seek guidance or counselling from their faith group or religious leaders”34https://lgballiance.org.uk/end-conversion-therapy (last accessed 31.10.2022)—conversion therapy light, so to speak—and the close ties many members have to conservative and religious groups such as the Heritage Foundation, the Alliance Defending Freedom or the Centre for Bioethics and Culture35Lavery, Grace: The UK Media Has Seriously Bungled the Kathleen Stock Story. in: www.gracelavery.org, 17.10.2021, http://www.gracelavery.org/uk-media-biased-stock-sussex (last accessed 30.10.2022), is ultimately no wonder.


TERFake News, TERFascism, TERFundamentalism…?

By re-tracing the debate it becomes clear that transphobia, and especially transmisogyny, is, just like racism or anti-Semitism, an inherent part of Western societies, which for some time now has been used by right-wing political groups to strengthen their fascist ideologies and make them more acceptable to society. This approach is calculated and extremely effective and can only be interrupted by making visible the structural discrimination in Western societies and the subsequent consistent, power-critical reappraisal of these structures. Or to put it more concretely in Grace Lavery’s words:

Sussex University needs to start acting like a University again. Adam Tickell, who misunderstands academic freedom and who issues vague threats against student protestors, needs to lose his job. […] And the British media needs to grow a spine, swallow its pride, and hire a bunch of trans editors, any of whom could have seen this coming a mile off.36Lavery, Grace: The UK Media Has Seriously Bungled the Kathleen Stock Story. in: www.gracelavery.org, 17.10.2021, http://www.gracelavery.org/uk-media-biased-stock-sussex (last accessed 30.10.2022)

References

References
1 Smythe, Viv: An apology and a promise. in: Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, 19.08.2008, https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/an-apology-and-a-promise (last accessed 30.10.2022)
2, 3 Williams, Cristan: TERF: What It Means And Where It Came From. in: The Trans Advocate, 03.2014, https://www.transadvocate.com/terf-what-it-means-and-where-it-came-from_n_13066.htm (last accessed 30.10.2022)
4 Dixon, Hayley: Tavistock clinic ‘putting young gay people at risk by treating them as trans’. in: The Telegraph, 12.09.2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/09/12/nhs-clinic-transing-gay-away (last accessed 30.10.2022)
5 Stock, Kathleen: Academic philosophy and the UK Gender Recognition Act. in: Medium, 07.05.2022, https://medium.com/@kathleenstock/academic-philosophy-and-the-uk-gender-recognition-act-6179b315b9dd (last accessed 30.10.2022)
6 Doherty-Cove, Jody: ‚Trans women are still males with male genitalia‘ – university lecturer airs controversial views. in: The Argus, 15.07.2018, https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/16334391.trans-women-still-males-male-genitalia—university-lecturer-airs-controversial-views (last accessed 30.10.2022)
7 Stock, Kathleen: Changing the concept of “woman” will cause unintended harms. in The Economist, 06.07.2018, https://www.economist.com/open-future/2018/07/06/changing-the-concept-of-woman-will-cause-unintended-harms (last accessed 30.10.2022)
8 antiterfsussex, 06.10.2021, https://www.instagram.com/p/CUrjq01MbQ1 (last accessed 31.10.2022)
9 Bindel, Julie: Terrorised off campus by the trans hate mob: Balaclava-clad fanatics targeted her for daring to speak up for women‘s rights. But here, ex-university lecturer Kathleen Stock defiantly says she WON‘T be silenced in fight for freedom of thought. in: The Daily Mail, 03.11.2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10163007/Ex-university-lecturer-Kathleen-Stock-says-WONT-silenced-fight-freedom-thought.html (last accessed 30.10.2022)
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12 Feddersen, Jan: Antifreiheitliches Wokistan. in: taz, 01.11.2021, https://taz.de/Professorin-tritt-nach-trans-Eklat-ab/!5809038 (last accessed 30.10.2022)
13 Vukadinović, Vojin Saša: Gezielte Kampagnen. in: Die Zeit, 26.11.2021, https://www.zeit.de/2021/48/kathleen-stock-wissenschaftsfreiheit-feministen-transaktivisten-philosophin (last accessed 04.12.2022)
14 Vukadinović, Vojin Saša: Butler erhebt „Rassismus“-Vorwurf. in: Emma, 28.06.2017, https://www.emma.de/artikel/gender-studies-sargnaegel-des-feminismus-334569 (last accessed 30.10.2022)
15 Open Letter Concerning Transphobia in Philosophy, 06.2021, https://sites.google.com/view/trans-phil-letter (last accessed 30.10.2022)
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17, 18, 19 Celikates, Robin; Hoppe, Katharina; Loick, Daniel; Nonhoff, Martin; von Redecker, Eva; Vogelmann, Frieder: Wissenschaftsfreiheit, die wir meinen. in: Die Zeit, 18.11.2021, https://www.zeit.de/2021/47/wissenschaftsfreiheit-universitaeten-cancel-culture-kathleen-stock (last accessed 30.10.2022)
20, 35, 36 Lavery, Grace: The UK Media Has Seriously Bungled the Kathleen Stock Story. in: www.gracelavery.org, 17.10.2021, http://www.gracelavery.org/uk-media-biased-stock-sussex (last accessed 30.10.2022)
21 Thorburn, Jacob: BBC is forced to air ‚correction‘ from feminist professor Kathleen Stock after allowing students‘ union officer to ‚falsely‘ claim that she signed a ‚declaration to eliminate trans people in law‘ during live broadcast. in: MailOnline, 15.10.2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10095721/BBC-apologises-student-union-rep-says-professor-supports-elimination-trans-people-law.html#v-642147033211617435 (last accessed 30.10.2022)
22 Lavery, Grace: The UK Media Has Seriously Bungled the Kathleen Stock Story. in: http://www.gracelavery.org, 17.10.2021, http://www.gracelavery.org/uk-media-biased-stock-sussex (last accessed 30.10.2022)
23 Woolcock, Nicola: Kathleen Stock: Exiled academic joins free-speech college The University of Austin. in: The Times, 10.11.2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/kathleen-stock-exiled-academic-joins-free-speech-college-the-university-of-austin-kdrf883sj (last accessed 30.10.2022)
24 Steinhoff, Uwe: Was man nicht kritisieren darf. in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22.11.2021, https://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/debatten/gender-studies-konformismus-im-fall-kathleen-stock-gefordert-17645134.html (last accessed 04.12.2022)
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26 de Lauretis, Teresa: Die Technologie des Geschlechts. In: Kathrin Peters (Hg.), Andrea Seier (Hg.), Gender & Medien-Reader, S. 459. (last accessed 31.10.2022)
27, 32 Kogel, Dennis: Genzmer, Jenny: Die Anfeindungen nehmen zu. in: Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 16.07.2022, https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/transpersonen-desinformationen-100.html (last accessed 31.10.2022)
28 https://www.identitaere-bewegung.de/faq/was-ist-unter-dem-begriff-metapolitik-zu-verstehen (last accessed 04.12.2022)
29 Louis, Chantal: Kathleen Stock: Realität & Ideologie. in: Emma, 23.02.2022, https://www.emma.de/artikel/realitaet-wiegt-schwerer-als-ideologie-339251 (last accessed 31.10.2022)
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34 https://lgballiance.org.uk/end-conversion-therapy (last accessed 31.10.2022)


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The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) is the uniform central body of regulations in Germany for the implementation of four European anti-discrimination directives. For the first time, a law was created in Germany that comprehensively regulates protection against discrimination.

Imagination of a gender system that consists of only two categories, male and female. Assignment beyond which is only allowed, if at all, only as a deviation from the norm – hides the following: gender, sex, desire, performance.

Differences in values, attitudes, cultural perspective, beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender identity, abilities, knowledge and life experiences of each individual in each group of people should be considered and overcome within the university.

The concept according to Birgit Rommelspacher assumes that there is a system of hierarchies, rule and power in which the various racist, sexist and other forms of government intertwine. In this interconnectedness, a dominant group has the power, which is socially negotiated again and again.

the personal idea of one‘s own gender and one‘s own gender role. Within society, gender is the concept according to which we classify various ideas such as social status, gender presentation, role in society, life planning and sexuality into the gender categories.

Discrimination based on the organisational actions of institutions. Institutional discrimination is not present in society as a whole.

Inter * are persons born with physical characteristics that are medically considered to be „sexually ambiguous“. The generic term Inter * has evolved from the community, and refers to the diversity of intersex realities and physicalities as an emancipatory and identitarian umbrella term.

In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of discrimination, its individual forms of discrimination must not be considered independently of each other, as they are interrelated.

Discrimination based on the value of economically and educationally unequally strong classes. This is related to discrimination and stigmatisation based on actual or assumed educational status and social inclusion. Thus, the inferior classes in the hierarchy are problematised and stereotyped.

Culturally argued racism is directed against people who, regardless of whether they actually practice one culture or religion (e.g. Islam, Judaism) and how religious they are. (e.g. anti-Muslim racism (AMR) and anti-Semitism)

Describes a displacement of minorities to the social fringe. As a rule, marginalised groups do not correspond to the norm-oriented majority of society and are severely restricted in their ability to act.

Describes the basic assumption that thinking and brain structures function individually. A medical norm and the disease mongering of everything supposedly divergent is called into question.

Discrimination based on ones ethnic roots.

The conceptual distinction between gender as a biological fact (sex) on the one hand and as a product of cultural and social processes (gender) .

Any form of discrimination against people on the basis of their (attributed or supposed) sex and the ideology underlying these phenomena.

A person‘s sexual orientation describes which sex a person feels emotionally, physically and/or sexually attracted to.

System of socio-cultural values and norms into which one is born (environments and classes), e.g. Educational biography, social inclusion. Values are constructed.

System of socio-cultural values and norms into which one is born (milieus and classes). e.g. Educational status and social inclusion. Values are constructed.

Discrimination of social subgroups based on the nature of the structure of society as a whole.

„Trans“ is a Latin prefix, meaning beyond and refers to people who do not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. The self-designation is not an identity feature that automatically indicates whether this person identifies with a different gender, gender or multiple genders. Thus, there are several trans identities.

This term is not a self-designation, but a description of a reality of people who do not experience racism. white is written in small italics and reveals privileges, which are often not named as such. So the term is not about skin shades, but about the visualisation of different access to social resources.

Negative assessment of body and mind due to abilities and skills. An evaluation pattern based on a supposed biological (physical and / or mental) norm.

Discrimination e.g. in everyday life and law based on unequal power relationships between adults, children, adolescents and young people.

Skills and abilities are questioned and rated due to ones age.

Cis or cis-gender refers to people who identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. If this were not named, trans * would always be marked as the deviation of a given norm.

This term focuses on how people observe, (re-)produce and make gender relevant in everyday life.

Is a self-designation to unite people affected by racism and to fight together against power relations such as racism.

In English, ‚queer‘ was used as an insult for a long time. In the meantime, however, the term is usually used positively as a self-designation and describes the breaking out of the two-gender order as well as heteronormative concepts of life.

Reciprocal interactions as a multi-dimensional approach between the university and the non-university environment, which also includes the cultural, social and political dimensions on an equal footing.

A superficial gesture to include minority members. It is intended to create an appearance of inclusion and to divert allegations of discrimination by requiring a person to be representative of a minority.