Steph's Place

13th of October. Kathleen Stock and the Women's Declaration

By Murderine Shortstraw

Is it correct to say that Kathleen Stock has called for the elimination of trans people?

In recent days there has been a student-led campaign against the conduct of Kathleen Stock (a professor at Sussex University) in relation to transgender rights and to call for her dismissal.

This campaign has been (mis)characterised by the mainstream media as a campaign of “harassment” based on false assumptions about Stock’s supposed transphobia, when, they claim, Stock is not actually a transphobe, because she has stated that she doesn’t have an issue with trans people.

For herself, Stock claims the students are misguided and states that the media have lied about her intentions and beliefs (

Quite aside from the fact that nobody seems to accept that students have the right to freedom of speech, the right to protest, Stock’s beliefs and actions and (yes) the right to attempt to gain publicity for their campaign make Stock feel uncomfortable. Curious, given the issue has arisen over the past few days.

Anti-transgender activists have developed a remarkable lack of memory and reading comprehension when it comes to Stock’s public actions and statements, particularly when it comes to her signing the WHRC declaration on “Women’s Sex-Based Rights”

Additionally, she also boasts the status as a trustee for anti-trans group “LGB Alliance”.

I’ve characterised this myself ( as a pattern in which trans allies note that Stock has signed the Declaration, and, furthermore - that the declaration calls for the elimination of transgender recognition.

Her supporters ask for evidence of this. Trans allies provide the proof in the form of a link to the Declaration and an explanation of the reasons it is problematic. Her supporters claim the Declaration doesn’t say what it says.

Very strange.

Once and for all, then, what does the Declaration say?

You can read it yourself, although be warned, it is a quasi-legal attack on the rights and freedoms of transgender people. It argues throughout for the elimination of legal recognition and protection for trans people (particularly trans women) on the grounds that such recognition and protection is “at odds” with the rights of women who were assigned that gender at birth.

Possibly the clearest such evidence is the following section:

This should include the retention in law, policies and practice of the category of woman to mean adult human female, the category of lesbian to mean an adult human female whose sexual orientation is towards other adult human females, and the category of mother to mean a female parent; and the exclusion of men who claim to have a female ‘gender identity’ from these categories. (c) States should “condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, agree to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimination against women’’.

(CEDAW, Article 2). This should include the elimination of that act and practice of discrimination against women, which comprises the inclusion of men who claim to have a female ‘gender identity' in the category of women. Such inclusion erodes women’s rights to safety, dignity and equality.

For anyone who is unclear about what is being said, the Declaration is referring to Article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979).

It is arguing that the inclusion of trans women in the category of women “erodes women’s rights”.

The Declaration argues, therefore, that the CEDAW requires states to eliminate transgender rights and protections on the basis that this will be positive for cisgender women.

If, like me, you’re a cisgender woman who knows that gender is a social construct and that trans women are women, this will be disturbing for you.

There are many other such references (such as the section where the Declaration suggests that Article 5 of the CEDAW, which refers to “stereotyped” gender roles, also calls for the elimination of trans rights).

In short, many of the other sections of the Declaration are disturbing.

However, the very first page of the document does answer the question, “Does Kathleen Stock support the reduction of civil rights for transgender individuals?”.

As with all other signatories to the Declaration, it would appear that the correct answer to that question is yes.

Authored by Murderine Shortstraw


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