Freedom of Speech case regarding my research
In recent years there has been a change in the profile of people presenting at gender clinics, a rise in the numbers of young people, especially young women, and a reported rise in the number of people reversing their gender re-assignment. I set out to research this phenomenon by enrolling on an MA at Bath Spa University, the core of which was to undertake a substantial piece of research. I intended to present this at the European Professional Association of Transgender Health conference in Belgrade in 2017. This was not to be as the university vetoed my research.
As a counsellor who has for ten years specialised in working with transgendered people I began this important research project at Bath Spa University, to find out more about people who reverse gender reassignment surgery, and also who reverse gender transition. This was because I was aware that there are a growing number of such people, but little or no research into their experiences. I believe that we need to understand what these people have gone through and that that is in the interest of both transgendered people and those who work with them. The university, having initially given me the go-ahead then said I could not continue, as the research may attract criticism on social media, which would imply criticism of the university.
My lawyers think that this contravenes the Human Rights Act by preventing free speech, and the Equality Act, which confers people who have undergone gender transition with a protected status, and is thus unlawful. I need your help to fight the case. The university has vast resources and I am standing up to them alone.
Any money I can raise will mean that I can keep going at this stage of the case, and ultimately take it to judicial review, where a court would decide about the university’s decision if that is what we need to do.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
I think that there are two issues here that affect most people one way or the other. One is the right to free speech, a fundamental tenet of a democratic society. The other is the need to understand what people who go into having gender reassignment, and then regretting it, are going through and why. I believe that they should be heard.
There has been substantial media coverage of this case – see www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41384473
I am seeking donations to my crowdfunding campaign to pay for the legal fees and costs, please help by pledging or sharing, see- https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/uphold-freedom-of-speech-in-our-universities/
I am a fully qualified psychotherapist registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. I am also trained in hypnotherapy. Working as an auxiliary nurse in psychiatry in the 1970s led me to a lifelong study of the human psyche – mind, emotions and spirit – and to an early interest in depth psychology. I worked for many years with people recovering from addictions to drugs and alcohol, and observed the tremendous capacity human beings have for growth and for life, whatever circumstances they have come from, especially when the truth of their history and feelings is honoured and explored in a safe way. There are undoubtedly many ways to do this, but I found that psychotherapy provides a place where this can happen, and that healing is possible. As well as studying and practising psychology and psychotherapy I developed yoga and meditation practises which helped me to understand more deeply the connections between the mind and the body, and my diploma research was into the contemporary uses of shamanism in psychotherapeutic practise.
In addition I specialise in counselling people with issues around gender identity, and am a Trustee of the Beaumont Trust, a charity which educates and informs on all aspects of gender expression. I also deliver trainings for organisations, therapists and counsellors.