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King’s students have written an open letter against ‘transphobic’ speaker Dr. Joanna Williams

The ‘Women vs. Feminism’ writer is scheduled to speak at an event on Tuesday held by the War Studies department

Over a hundred King's students, societies and staff members have signed an open letter created by KCL Intersectional Feminist Society against the appearance of Dr. Joanna Williams at a War Studies department event this Tuesday.

The disappointment felt by students and staff towards this event, being held at the iconic Great Hall, stems from Dr Joanna Williams' opposition to 'women, trans- and non-binary people and their well-being and survival, including opposition to the #MeToo movement and feminism,' according to the open letter.

Opposing Hate speech in King’s College London – *TW – Transphobia*PLEASE SIGN THE STATEMENT BELOW…

Posted by KCL Intersectional Feminist Society Open Page on Saturday, November 10, 2018

Dr Joanna Williams, the letter argues, has positioned herself against LGBT+ people, feminists and women in general by:

"Arguing that provisions for trans- people indoctrinates children into questioning their gender and sexuality. […] Not supporting LGBT+ young people is violence; according to Stonewall, 83% of trans- young people have experienced verbal abuse, and 27% have attempted suicide. Despite this, she claims society is ‘heterophobic’. Supporting LGBT+ young people is not, as she says, ‘a waste of time and money’, but a matter of basic survival."

"Opposing the #MeToo movement, which brought some level of justice and exposure to the harassment and assault that millions of women have and continue to face. Williams states that '#MeToo is an unedifying clamour to be included in celebrity suffering', demonstrating an unacceptable disregard for the horrifying and very real experiences of women around the world."

"Williams further questions feminism more broadly, arguing that it is a witch-hunt against men by hysterical and indoctrinated women. This interpretation is a mischaracterisation of feminism built on a misogynistic understanding of gender norms."

With this letter, these students hope that the university will redact her invitation to the university, cancel the event and publicly apologise to students and staff.

When discussing the university and its events directly, the students claimed that 'the University has often accepted it has an issue with not giving platforms to certain groups, including working class women, women of colour and trans- and non-binary people. A better use of platforms such as 'Endangered Speeches' would be to give the opportunity for truly marginalised groups to speak and offer new perspectives, instead of a hateful classical liberal like Williams, whose stances get more than enough airtime in society already.'

KCLSU president Ahad Mahmood has also released a statement showing his solidarity with 'our transgender and women students who will be affected' by the event due to the invitation of Dr. Williams.

KCLSU would like to express solidarity with our transgender and women students who will be affected by the Endangered…

Posted by Ahad Mahmood on Monday, November 12, 2018

In his statement, he speaks of the invitation of Williams as demonstrating 'a lack of sufficient care for students who might be harmed by her speaking in a King's College London space.'

The letter can be signed here, as well as more information about the event, 'Endangered Speeches', can be found here.