The Women’s Equality Party have sacked a feminist academic over this transgender debate

Dr Heather Brunskell-Evans had been attacked as transphobic, after criticising the idea that people can be 'born in the wrong body'.

The Women’s Equality Party have dismissed a feminist academic at the centre of a transgender row, after she challenged whether children should be labelled trans.

Dr Heather Brunskell-Evans – a research fellow at King’s College London – was until this morning a spokeswoman for the Women’s Equality Party. Now she has resigned her membership after being sacked from that role.

It follows her appearance on Radio 4’s Moral Maze in November last year, where she argued that while adults could define themselves ‘in whichever way they want’, society and parents should avoid encouraging children to see themselves as being ‘in the wrong body’ – particularly if it led to surgery or treatment which would could have long-term implications.

In a debate with two transgender activists, she said:

“If a child decides that it’s an astronaut, one can play along with this. One doesn’t have to moralise about it but quite clearly the child is not an astronaut. In fact it’s incumbent upon adults who are responsible for the welfare, psychological and social and medical, of children not to go along with this story.”

She added that some trans advocates were ‘abusive’ and ‘reactionary’.

The Times reported that her comments prompted three complaints from transgender members of the WEP, who accused her of ‘promoting prejudice against the transgender community’.

King’s College London students then cancelled her speech to members of its Reproductive and Sexual Health Society at Guy’s Campus, while the Women’s Equality Party launched an immediate investigation after outrage on social media.

At the time, Dr Brunskell-Evans responded to the claims by denying any prejudice:

“I refute that I have promoted prejudice against the trans community either on the programme or through my writing and social media.

“I have called for transparent public debate, without fear of reprisal, of the social, psychological and physical consequences of the narrative that children can be born in ‘the wrong body’.”

However, the WEP have now completed their investigation into Dr Brunskell-Evans – and have sacked her as a spokesperson after determining the academic ‘breached articles of the constitution and our volunteer agreement’.

Brunskell-Evans immediately resigned from the party, announcing on Twitter that she will not appeal the decision:

In its statement, the Women’s Equality Party said:

“The Executive Committee of the Women’s Equality Party has completed its investigation…The Committee recommended that the official should not continue as party spokesperson after concluding her actions breached articles of the constitution and our volunteer agreement…

“Heather Brunskell-Evans [is] a tireless campaigner on ending violence against women, and we are sorry to learn that she has decided to resign her party membership.

“This has been a difficult experience for all involved. However, it is essential that when complaints are made to the party they are taken seriously and dealt with fairly and thoroughly, as the constitution approved by our members sets out.

“Doing politics differently is not easy. We are determined that issues that have the potential to divide the movement for women’s equality – including the interactions between rights linked to sex and gender – should be addressed in a constructive, respectful and inclusive manner through the democratic channels provided in our constitution. We look forward to evolving those discussions with our members.”

Several members of the party have resigned in response to the WEP’s decision.

A spokesperson for the Women’s Equality Party told Left Foot Forward the party would not be publishing the full investigation.

Stonewall and AllAboutTrans were contacted for comment but did not immediately respond.

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6 Responses to “The Women’s Equality Party have sacked a feminist academic over this transgender debate”

  1. Emma Robertson

    What a joke – Heather Brunskell-Evans is absolutely correct. Of course nobody is “born in the wrong body” and it’s cowardly and irresponsible to allow this baseless narrative to be pushed on children.

  2. Una-Jane Winfield

    Dr Heather Brunskell-Evans is a thoughtful academic. The Women’s Equality Party are plainly not defending biological women. Eventually WEP may decide that they should be promoting the interests of biological women, think carefully about the difference between sex and gender, and decide not to accept for membership as a “woman” an individual who is a biological man. The latter is still and will always remain a biological man. Pace “gender” believers!

  3. Ida

    This is outrageous, trans activists are actively targeting females to have females removed from positions that represent females- this is disgusting and fascist. WEP I’m sure can find another “Lily Madigan” to take over A well qualified female position by an ignorant and fascist trans activist.
    Females are now increasing forced to gather and organize for female rights ourside of any government institution- we will persist regardless of the ongoing idiotic enabling of men’s rights activists posing as trans activists.

  4. Melinda magpie

    Absolutely appalling. You let objections by males force a woman out of a women’s party without even allowing debate. With demise like this, who needs a men’s rights movement! What shameful disgusting men-pleasing cowards you are!

  5. Donna

    I look forward to seeing how the WEP manage to facilitate a debate when they have already decided reasonable attempt at a debate is transphobic. I stand with Heather and with the recognition that biological sex cannot be changed even with hormones and surgery. People should be respectful towards those who have body dysmorohia but children in particular need protecting from social contagion and drugs that may leave them infertile

  6. Jay ginn

    Isnt it time to treat ‘gender’ as a spectrum – and a fluid one- in terms of self-perceived identity?
    Linked to this, lets stop classifying individuals as M or F for social/ adminstrative purposes. Why should we ever be required to give a title such as Ms, Mrs, Mr etc? Why not just our chosen name?

    What does matter greatly to a persons lifecourse, employment opportunities, income and personal wellbeing is their socially-allocated caring roles. Supportive measures for carers are required in fairness and in view of the social value of their roles.
    It is society’s construction of women, not men, as carers that underlies a great deal of women’s socioeconomic disadvantage, perpetuating negative stereotypes of women as employees and in a wide range of other roles.

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