Andrea Geier in conversation with Britta Bürger

Is the future really non-binary? The argument over whether there are more than two genres is growing more and more relentless. Icon image. (imago / NurPhoto / Wiktor Szymanowicz)

Kathleen Stock suffered a panic attack on the University of Sussex campus and resigned as professor of philosophy. She felt threatened because of her scientific opinions. But the matter is not that simple.

By October 28, Kathleen Stock had had enough. That day, the walk to his office at the University of Sussex was the greatest challenge for the 49-year-old philosophy professor. The walls were covered with posters saying, “Kathleen Stock is transphobic! Shoot Kathleen Stock! We’re not paying £ 9,000 for Kathleen Stock’s transphobia!

It was the last thing she saw on campus, where she had worked for 18 years. She turned around, ran to the station, and took the first train home. On the same day, the professor announced her departure from the University of Sussex on Twitter. The last few years, she wrote in explanation, have been absolutely horrible for her and her family. There had been stickers against her in front of posters, protests by masked students and an anonymous social media campaign.

What the genre

The gender debate intensified with the Kathleen Stock case. Here, two camps are fighting, each with a hard bandage. The conflict revolves around the question of whether gender is biologically determined or whether it can be chosen by each person. But also the question of knowing if rights can derive from this free choice, some believing themselves to be on the side of nature and others of that of culture.

But it is precisely this intensification of this contrast that the genre and literary researcher Andrea Geier deplores: “These are different ideas of what nature is. of nature? ”The relationship between culture and nature is also under discussion, says Geier.

The scientist calls for deepening the debate. There were many actors with different options for action in the game. “The way the processes are presented always has a certain stance if not a certain bias. Particularly in the case of Kathleen Stock, I don’t feel like it is. ‘really have a lot of information on the question of university behavior,’ says Vautour.

It’s a matter of mutual recognition

From this escalation to two parts – on the one hand Stock and on the other hand the trans and queer community – we must move away a little further, asks Geier and inquire about the real aggravation. Ultimately, this is a failure of mutual recognition, which should have been moderated beforehand. On the one hand, a professor who feels threatened and, on the other hand, a community that feels threatened in its existence if the gender is defined only biologically:

“It is not enough to say, ‘I am not trans-hostile. This may not be enough, it actually needs a process of discussion that says in what contexts you can express such opinions and thus remain quiet, so to speak. But what does it mean for the whole academic field if the students do not know if the teacher is in their existence? This is an important question for cooperation and respectful cooperation in universities. You can’t just say, Well, one person has an opinion and the other has an opinion.