The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that anyone can “self-identify” as “black, disabled, LGBT+ or women”.

A statement from the union reads: “UCU has a long history (from predecessor unions) of enabling members to self-identify whether that is being black, disabled, LGBT+ or women [sic].” The statement “represents over 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organizations across the UK.”

It continues, “UCU supports the right of all women (including trans women) to safe spaces… UCU also supports a social, rather than a medical, model of gender recognition that will help challenge repressive gender stereotypes in the workplace and in society.”

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On the topic of gender identity more particularly, the UCU conceded that “There has been argument that debating gender identity is a matter of academic freedom”, and claimed that the UCU is itself a defender and promoter of academic freedom — but that “academic freedom is bound up with other civil liberties and human rights so therefore does not give the right to discriminate. ”

The UCU repeatedly stressed their self-proclaimed status as “champions of equality” and “commitment to intersectionality”.

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“UCU is committed to an intersectional approach within all its work,” the position paper declared.

“This is UCU’s positon [sic]. The strength of the Union is to bring members together and to build bridges rooted in equality. UCU believes that for true solidarity we need to be speaking to and working with each other and acknowledging and celebrating our intersectional differences.”

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