Massey University finds themselves in an interesting position: having a senior lecturer who's a fucking dimwit
How wonderful is Charlie! Maybe he could have a weekly column on topical cutural issues rather than some dork with the maturity and insight of a 12 year old. Being threatened by people who are different from you and feeling a need to comment, judge and ridicule this to prove how wrong their difference is, is immature and sad. For your job to be lecturing students on journalism and yet demonstrating no respect for the process of research or consideration for the value in open mindedness and continuous learning is fucking appalling.
I consider myself very lucky to teach at a high school that has a relatively large community of openly trans students, and as of this year, a trans staff member. In addition to an established culture of acceptance of a identities, I think this is in large part due to our excellent counselling and student support services. As you observe in this blog, trans students are overwhelmingly more likely to suffer from psychological distress, so having these networks available around the clock is key.
We're also a school that doesn't have a uniform which removes another obstacle that trans students face in more traditional schools.
I've been incredibly impressed at how accepting gen z are of the trans community; in fact the only person I've known who refused to acknowledge a trans student's identity is an ex staff member. This didn't cause the sort of indignant outage from the student that TERFs would have you believe occurs. But I did see the quiet hurt it produced in the student from a teacher who continued to refer to them by their deadname.
Interestingly, a conversation came up the other day with students around the argument that schools are "force feeding a trans agenda" to young people. My students had been critically reading through the New Conservatives website (independently, be I should add; I certainly didn't ask them to go anywhere near that mess!) and found this contention very confusing. I asked the (cis male) students if they felt they had been forced some 'trans narrative' by schools. Not only did they disagree, they felt it hadn't gone far enough.
Thanks so much! Absolutely felt like that I go a whole year of subscription value in this one article. I'm trying to work out what I think about this issue, but I deeply appreciated your journalism on this and I wish there were more ways for regular people like me to support this kind of stuff. I'm deeply thankful David
I recently read ‘What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech, Truth and Equality on Campus’ by Ulrich Baer. It’s a short but dense book which deals with some of the issues raised here Charlie, and some other past Webworm themes. Title pretty much sums it up.
TLDR is that you can’t have free speech without equality, and you can’t have equality if the things people (racists, sexists, homophobes, transphobes, etc etc) say forces (BIPOC, women, gay, trans) other people to defend their humanity. And further more, these weasely little fuckwits (my words, not Baer’s), actively seek out university settings because of the perceived notion that it’s a special place where because of freedom of speech, academic freedom etc, they should be able to debate anything. Then they turn it into a publicity stunt when they get denied by Good Humans like Charlie and the University chickens out because they’re wimpy little corporate piss burgers worried about a tick, than the mental health and well-being of their students.
Perhaps if he gets fired, and can’t get a job, and we all constantly gaslight him and mock him and make him believe his world view is faulty and that he’s fundamentally broken he’ll consent to going to to a re-education camp where all us can torture him.
imagine being that set off by the existence of more than two gender options on a covid survey... i get the sense that massey prob feels they adequately dealt w the issue by telling him he can no longer name their institution when openly publishing bigotry. the jordan peterson parallel is apt; u of t were similarly spineless dealing with him (seriously, benzodiazepines and a carnivorous diet were more successful in getting him to shut up than a university's entire administrative board). massey's most recent comment reads like a form letter saying, "we will say things about the issue that make it sound like we care, but we sure as fuck aren't going to take action to actually defend our LGBTQ+ students (and please stop pointing out our hypocrisy)."
anyway, the interview w charlie is a lovely antidote to elers' v trite toxicity so thanks for including that bright note. :)
Charlie’s remark that trans folks are seen as the “other” that justifies negative treatment is so spot on. It reminds me a lot of the weird beliefs that Jewish people have hidden horns, eat Christian children, etc.
I’ve had a lot of trouble this year coming to grips with the fact that a significant portion of people are just really, really ignorant, with no intention of changing things.
You’d really think we would be past all this kind of shit by now, huh?
There is no room in education for homophobia or transphobia. It makes me mad all the way around.
What a coincidence that you wrote this article now! I spent majority of this week reading articles about Polish Children's Ombudsman giving an interview where he claimed that trans people are feeding hormones to kids they meet outside schools in Poland 🤦🏻♀️ it makes me angry that people all over the world talk such rubbish and nothing happens about it!!
"It literally changes nothing for anyone else."
This. The anger over birth cert is ridiculous.
Also same people angry about people having surgery or even hormones (Or any other 'drastic' -their word- changes are the same that are against the law change where you don't need surgery/hormones to get birth cert fix.
Same people that say trans people are upholding and stereotyping gender while belittling trans people if they aren't looking absolutely perfect stereotypical female/male.
Their 'concern' is bullshit.
I'm a bit worried about 'rainbow tick' places if they can get one without proof they can keep lgbtiq+ people safe.
Great journalism. Thanks so much for writing this! I'm so glad I subscribed.
Hi - thanks for this and for sharing your personal experience. I hope this kickstarts the university's journey to kicking him out for good.
I just want to point out something you added on twitter (also cos you say you want constructive criticism): "it’s caveman level thinking at this point and it’s dangerous, pathetic and something i’d expect from a 12 year old on a forum, not a senior member of staff"
I completely get what you are saying and what your intentions are, but when we separate a grown man from his actions by saying "I would expect this from a 12 year old", we are pretending that this behaviour is not something to be expected from adults. The problem here is that it is. That is a massive fucking problem. This guy is an accomplished, probably respected, well educated lecturer - he is the very definition of someone to look up to and listen to, yet here we are. Donald Trump has the behaviour I would expect from a spoiled child, yet he is the president of the USA.
My point is, that as long as we pretend that this obnoxious behaviour is limited to "cavemen acting like 12 year old" we are approaching the point, but not getting it. We have to understand and accept that distinguished humans can be utter utter trash - the challenge is that we need to call out this behavior, and I'm very grateful you're doing it, with the massive platform you have.
It's incredible that it takes one famous guy with a MacBook and a blog to get shit moving, compared to several students actually having to endure this, getting the courage to complain and theeeeeen nothing is happening. That isn't personal, I'm thrilled it's you, it's just disheartening.
I remember reading that article and thinking - 'Cool. I never, ever want to study at Massey University if their lecturers are so bigoted and small-minded'. Call it cancel culture if you will, but I don't think educators should actively be involved in the ostracisation and exclusion of marginalised groups. Happily be a snowflake about this. On a less constructive note. This dude is a tool.
I wonder what the Education Act they refer to actually says. Maybe they have little power to control him. I’m in no way defending this a’hole btw. I don’t think anybody like that should hold a position like his where he can be anything but supportive and encouraging of ALL his students.
On another note I would love to hear more trans views to understand the issues they face and how they would like to be treated. It’s an issue I feel I have little knowledge of (but I do support everyone’s right to live as their true self as long as they’re not hurting others eg. You don’t get the right to love as a paedophile because it comes naturally to you).
I'd like to add one more factor as to why people are freaking out about this: just old-fashioned conservatism, i.e. the resistance to evolving their understanding of the world. To some, their definitions of gender are akin to the basic fabric of reality: the sky is blue, whats goes up must come down, and there are two genders. When one of those is questioned, it's an attack on their entire reality, and they become vicious in their defense because their entire worldview is at stake.
I must be pretty bloody stupid. As a middle aged white man, I cannot for the life of me work out what business it is of mine how people view their own personal gender/identity/sexuality. It's got nothing to do with me. I identify as heterosexual male and consider myself very fortunate that I didn't ever have to give that a lot of thought. Easy. As someone strongly grounded in my "place" I see it as my responsibility to offer support and comfort to people who are having a more complex and difficult route to fully expressing who they are. Is this hard? No. Does it cost me anything? No. Does it help others? Maybe. Hope so. So, speaking to my fellow smug, privileged "know who we are because it's bloody normal" cohort - get over yourselves, open your minds and hearts and stop judging everyone who isn't you. There are enough things that we all have to contend with every day that challenge and exhaust us without having who we perceive ourselves to be as a pit you can never climb out of.