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Why we, as academics, created a letter in support of LGBT+ rights

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On 16 June, a letter from 34 academics to The Sunday Times argued that university policies to include trans and gender diverse people, in particular the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme, were in tension with “academic freedom of thought”. For us – as ordinary academics working in higher education – this felt like just the latest in a slew of media coverage on trans people which has ranged from the critical to the sensationalist. Setting out to write a response, we found that what we really wanted to do was something much greater: a manifesto, an affirmation of our LGBTQIA colleagues at all levels of higher education.

At the time of writing, our manifesto – our contribution to the debate – has attracted the signatures of more than 6,000 university staff from across the world. We have also received a vast number of personal responses expressing relief and gratitude that someone has taken a vocal stand in support of trans, gender-diverse and other queer students and colleagues, representing the views of what feels like the silent majority against the few critical voices in the media.

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