Kathleen Stock: taboo around gender identity has chilling effect on academics

Culture of silencing any challenge to prevailing ideology is damaging academic freedom, says professor

The press release that accompanies Prof Kathleen Stock’s new book says she wants to see a future in which trans rights activists and gender-critical feminists collaborate to achieve some of their political aims. But she concedes that this currently seems fanciful. As far as she is concerned, the book, Material Girls, sets out her stall – and she knows a lot of people will find it distasteful.

Stock, a professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex, says the key question she addresses – itself offensive to many – is this: do trans women count as women?