A few days ago, Dr. Waiton, lecturer at Abertay University, published a vile transphobic opinion piece in The Herald Scotland. Abertay’s support was an important part of my early transition, and this goes against the university’s stance of acceptance of LGBT+ students and staff. Here’s the comments I’ve sent as a complaint to the university. If you are in any way touched by this issue, please send your comments as well to the Abertay SA, and take the time to sign the LGBT+ society’s petition asking the university to put in place a zero-tolerance policy on discriminatory speech.
To Abertay leadership: while you may think a lecturer’s personal “opinion” (hate speech) does not reflect your stance on inclusivity, this will reflect on the university, and this will impact transgender and gender non-conforming students and staff. Please do not let it pass.
warning: this contains references to transphobic comments that might upset you. Please only click through if you feel up to dealing with such language
I am a transgender woman working on my PhD at Abertay. I started transitioning when I was finishing my undergraduate degree, and felt comfortable doing so because of Abertay and UADSA’s openly supportive LGBTQ+ policies, as well as the support and help that my lecturers and now supervisors offered (as part of then-AMG, now SDI). I found Dr. Waiton’s article transphobic and distressing, and at odds with the open, supporting environment that Abertay seems to be sporting.
I am worried about possibly having to interact with Dr. Waiton in the future as part of my academic career at Abertay. Views and articles like these proclaiming that dysphoria is a fad and that transition is the result of wanting to feel part of some online communities are exactly why it took me so long to accept that I was transgender, and why I still struggle with feelings that I am not a woman “enough” today. The current anti-transphobic police Scotland campaign is derided in the article as an attack on “beliefs”, but those beliefs state that I should not be allowed to express myself as a woman.
Had I had lecturers be openly against transgender rights while I was studying for my BSc, I would have felt considerably worse than I was already feeling because of dysphoria. I would not have felt it was safe for me to come out to my lecturers and transition.