Protesters storm Oxford Union as academic Kathleen Stock delivers gender identity speech

  • Watch as protesters march through the streets of Oxford ahead of a controversial speech by Professor Kathleen Stock

Protesters have gathered outside the Oxford Union this evening, as feminist and academic Kathleen Stock is debating her views on gender identity.

Professor Stock, who last year was made an OBE for services to higher education, was formerly a lecturer at the University of Sussex.

She resigned from her post after a book she wrote, with strong views on gender identity, sparked protests from students.

LGBT+ activists stormed the talk earlier before one of them glued themselves to the floor.

Hundreds of people, some with placards, gathered outside the Union, in protest, with some claiming Professor Stock's views are 'transphobic' and she shouldn't be given a platform to share her views.

Amiad Haran Diman, President of Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society

Professor Stock spoke for around 10 minutes before three protesters emerged from the audience of the packed hall, shouting: “No more dead trans kids”.

One of them, Riz Possnett, glued themselves to the floor as security guards rushed to remove the others and audience members booed the protesters, shouting for Prof Stock to “carry on”.

One audience member addressed the protester, who wore a t-shirt saying “no more dead trans kids”, shouting, “we are here to listen” whether you “like it or not”.

Shortly later, four police officers removed Riz and escorted them out of the building to cheers from the audience.

The interruption, which lasted for around half an hour, was later dismissed by Prof Stock, who said: “It wasn’t traumatic for me”.

ITV News Reporter Ben Chapman reports from Oxford.

Speaking to ITV Meridian, Amiad Haran Diman, President of Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society said: "She's not an expert on gender identity.

"There is no civil conversation going on. There is no evidence-based discussion, it's all just hate speech in my view."

The Oxford Union has hosted prominent and often controversial speakers and hosted lively debates for more than 200 years.

But Professor Stock's appearance has divided opinion, with students and academics.

Earlier this month Oxford University's vice-chancellor Irene Tracey defended the right for Prof Stock to speak.

She said it was a matter of "freedom of speech",saying she believes that part of the university's role is to enable students to deal with differing viewpoints.

An open letter from the LGBTQ+ Society, calling for the visit to be cancelled, was signed by 100 academics.

The letter stated that "trans students should not be made to debate their existence".

Professor Kathleen Stock speaking on Good Morning Britian

Professor Stock argues that debate on gender identity is important.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain on Monday (29 May), she said a small group of people with extreme views don't necessarily represent the views of ordinary trans people.

"As far as I'm concerned these issues are important and there's more people affected than just a small group of trans people and the policies that are being argued for.

"The laws are wide ranging and radical and change all sorts of things about British society including women only spaces and women's sports.

"I am clear about trans people being protected in law. I have no ambition to argue against the equality or gender recognition act. actually this is probably as good as it gets.

"The problem is the extremes on the other side, who do not represent ordinary trans people.

"It's not democratic, they haven't done a vote, there are a few voices, dominating that side who are asking for extreme measures as far as i'm concerned."

Protesters march through Oxford City Centre. Credit: ITV Meridian

Meanwhile in an unprecedented intervention into campus politics, the Prime Minister released a statement supporting Professor Stock's address.

Rishi Sunak said Kathleen Stock should be allowed to deliver a speech at the Union, saying that debate was 'a hallmark of a tolerant society'.

He told the Telegraph: "Agree or disagree with her, Professor Stock is an important figure in this argument. Students should be allowed to hear and debate her views.

"A tolerant society is one which allows us to understand those we disagree with, and nowhere is that more important than within our great universities."

The Oxford Union has said "welfare resources" will be available to students.

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