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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" -- 1st amendment

11 May, 2021

Edinburgh University lecturers are handed list of 'microinsults' they can't say to trans people including 'all women hate their periods' and 'I wanted to be a boy when I was a child'

Scholars were handed the list of 'microinsults' as part of a nationwide drive to raise awareness for 'cisgender privilege' in universities.

It comes over fears these 'microaggressions' undermine the lived experiences and reality of transgender and non-binary people.

The advice goes on to explain these phrases 'negate or nullify the thoughts, feelings or lived reality of Trans and non-Binary people, by questioning their experience, gender identity and the process of transition.'

Edinburgh University staff have also been told not to 'focus on anatomical sex markers, most usually sexual organs', asked to put their preferred pronouns in emails, and encouraged to wear rainbow lanyards on site to show they are allies of the trans community.

Lecturers should avoid using labels such as 'man' or 'woman' or make any suggestion that someone can only be one or the other, according to the guidance, which was seen by the Telegraph.

Other 'microinsults' could be avoiding engaging with trans people, because of their gender, or telling them they are 'just trying to be special'.

Guidance on the University's website lists several further 'microinsults and aggression's which should be avoided, including deadnaming, misgendering, and intrusive questioning.

Students told the University they had experienced invasive questioning and touching once they revealed they were transgender.

One student, whose name was not given, said: 'People feel entitled to ask questions that are really intimate that they'd never ask a cis person.

'Because you've been honest about being trans, they then think that they've been invited into some sort of sexual or personal discussion.'

Similar guidance has appeared in several Russel Group universities, many of which have asked lecturers to undergo new training on 'cisgender privilege' - the advantages afforded someone who identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth.

Newcastle University has told its staff: 'Being cisgender comes with social privilege. That's even for people who are socially disadvantaged in other ways.'

Imperial College, LSE, Warwick, and Exeter have similarly provided advice on the topic, telling scholars to use their privilege to be allies of the transgender community.

Staff are being asked to step in and 'disarm the microaggression' if they witness one and to do more the encourage students to 'recognise their biases'.


France bans schools from teaching 'gender neutral' words with full stops in the middle because they are 'a threat to the language'

The country's education ministry issued the ruling last week after a push to include full stops in the middle of written words - dubbed 'midpoints' - which allow both male and female forms to be represented simultaneously.

But the Academie Francaise, which is responsible for guarding the French language, said the move is 'harmful to the practice and understanding of [French.]'

In French grammar, nouns take on the gender of the subject to which they refer, with male perferred over female in mixed settings.

Therefore, a group of friends with four women and one man is referred to using the masculine 'amis' - causing controversy among gender equality advocates

With midpoints included, the written world becomes 'ami.e.s', including the feminine 'e' ending - though it would still be pronounced the same when spoken.

Advocates say the midpoints make French 'more inclusive' but critics say it creates differences between written and spoke French which make the language harder to learn and threaten its entire existence.

Nathalie Elimas, the State Secretary for Priority Education, said the drive to make French 'gender neutral' will not increase it popularity, but will instead drive more people to learn English which does not gender its nouns.

'With the spread of inclusive writing, the English language - already quasi-hegemonic across the world - would certainly and perhaps forever defeat the French language,' she said as the ban was issued

Jean-Michel Blanquer, France's education minister, told Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche the use of dots in the middle of words also 'present a barrier' for people with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia.

In response, the left-wing SUD - one of France's largest teaching unions - issued its own statement calling on teachers to ignore the ruling.

Blanquer should 'stop trying to impose his backwardness on the education community,' the statement said.

Research has claimed that women sometimes feel put off from applying for roles when only male forms are used on the application.




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