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Staff Pride Network

The Staff Pride Network is an inclusive network that serves as a resource for the rich diversity of LGBT+ employees across the institution, including PhD students who prefer to attend staff events. We strive to take an intersectional approach to providing a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for all people who self identify as part of LGBT+ communities, whether or not they are 'out' in the wider world, and to make LGBT+ issues more visible within the University environment. Different organisations use different acronyms to refer to specific groups, and terminology is always evolving. Our definition of LGBT+ includes, among others, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender fluid, intersex, non-binary, asexual, pansexual and polyamorous. It also includes all those individuals and communities whose sexuality or gender identity is a matter of shared personal, political and/or social experience, as well as those who are LGBT+ allies.

Decoding the Hidden Messages: A Look at Dog Whistles in the Gender Critical Movement

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Have you ever heard a phrase and felt like there was more to it than meets the eye? That’s the essence of a “dog whistle” – a term that’s been buzzing around a lot lately. But what exactly does it mean, and how does it relate to the gender critical movement? Let’s dive in!

What’s a Dog Whistle Anyway?

Imagine a whistle that only dogs can hear. Now, apply that concept to language. A dog whistle, in the realm of communication, is a coded message. It’s a phrase that seems ordinary but carries a hidden meaning for a specific group.

Dog Whistles and the Gender Critical Movement

The gender critical movement, which often questions the concept of gender identity separate from biological sex, has been known to use dog whistles. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Dog Whistle Phrase Surface Meaning Hidden Meaning
“Sex Matters” Only your birth sex should matter Used to deny the validity of transgender identities
“Homosexual Means Same Sex Attracted” Gay men are attracted to trans women Used to deny the validity of trans women’s identities
“Defend Women’s Sports” Advocating for fair competition in women’s sports Used to exclude trans women and girls from all sports at every level
“Keep Prisons Single Sex” Advocating for safety in prisons Used to argue for placing vulnerable trans women in men’s prisons
“Woman: Adult Human Female” A biological definition of a woman Used to assert that trans women are men and shouldn’t have protection from misogyny etc
“Defending Sex Based Rights” Advocating for rights based on one’s biological sex Used to argue against rights for transgender individuals
“Watchful Waiting” A cautious approach to medical transition Used to delay or block transition for as long as possible
“Protect Single Sex Spaces” Advocating for the safety and rights of women Used to exclude trans people from single sex spaces
“Exploratory therapy” A therapeutic approach to understanding gender identity Used as a euphemism for conversion therapy

Why Should We Care?

Dog whistles can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and contribute to a culture of exclusion. In the context of the gender critical movement, they can marginalize and stigmatize transgender individuals.

Wrapping Up

Dog whistles are like secret codes in our everyday language. They can subtly convey controversial ideas, making them a powerful tool in social and political discourse. Recognizing these hidden messages is the first step towards promoting inclusivity and combating discrimination. So, the next time you hear a phrase that seems loaded, take a moment to listen closely. You might just hear a dog whistle.

Want to Know More?

If you’re interested in diving deeper into this topic, we highly recommend watching the original video lecture that inspired this article. It provides a comprehensive overview of dog whistles used by the gender critical movement. You can watch the video here

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