Opposing Hate in King’s College London

We the undersigned express our disappointment towards the War Studies Department for inviting Dr Joanna Williams to speak on this coming Tuesday 13th November at an 'Endangered Speeches' event. She is someone who opposes women, trans and non-binary people and their well-being and survival, including opposition to the #MeToo movement and feminism. We ask you to redact her invitation, cancel the event and publish a public apology.

We publicly state our support for women, trans- and non-binary people. This letter is a step in a much needed fightback against King’s College London’s complicity in and apathy towards transphobia and misogyny.

Dr Joanna Williams' positions include:

  • Arguing that provisions for trans- people indoctrinates children into questioning their gender and sexuality. By stating this as being immoral, she reinforces the rigidity of gender and sexuality, which in turn upholds the violent patriarchal world we live in. Not supporting LGBT+ young people is violence; according to Stonewall, 83% of trans- young people have experienced verbal abuse, and 27% have attempted suicide. Despite this, she claims society is ‘heterophobic’. Supporting LGBTQ+ young people is not, as she says, ‘a waste of time and money’, but a matter of basic survival.
  • Opposing the #MeToo movement, which brought some level of justice and exposure to the harassment and assault that millions of women have and continue to face. Williams states that '#MeToo is an unedifying clamour to be included in celebrity suffering', demonstrating an unacceptable disregard for the horrifying and very real experiences of women around the world. It is patronising, incorrect and legitimising of the continuation of this abuse, absolving any and all of those accused of their responsibility.
  • Williams further questions feminism more broadly, arguing that it is a witch-hunt against men by hysterical and indoctrinated women. This interpretation is a mischaracterisation of feminism built on a misogynistic understanding of gender norms. By framing feminism this way, Williams facilitates continued oppression, especially against those most in need of feminism; working class women, women of colour, LGBT+ women, trans- and non-binary people, disabled women and so on.

Not supporting women, trans- and non-binary people kills, and Williams knowingly endorses this. By giving her a platform, the War Studies Department legitimises and spreads these viewpoints, and will directly and/or indirectly harm people, including staff and students.

King's College London has a duty of care to its students and staff, and by facilitating viewpoints that harm us, it fails in that duty. Furthermore, the University has often accepted it has an issue with not giving platforms to certain groups, including working class women, women of colour and trans- and non-binary people. A better use of platforms such as 'Endangered Speeches' would be to give the opportunity for truly marginalised groups to speak and offer new perspectives, instead of a hateful classical liberal like Williams, whose stances get more than enough airtime in society already.

We anticipate the redaction of her invitation, canceling of the event and public apology.

Signed,

The following KCL societies, staff, students and academics:

  1. Intersectional Feminist Society Committee
  2. LGBT+ Society Committee
  3. KCLSU Disabled Students’ Network
  4. Tom Bolitho, Department of Political Economy
  5. Heather Abdule, Department of History
  6. Saffa Abdi, Department of Political Economy
  7. Layla Nafee, Department of Political Economy
  8. Zara Ishaq, Department of Biomedical Science
  9. Georgie Spearing, LGBT+ President, LGBT+ KCLSU Head, NUS DSC LGBT+ Officer
  10. Ruby Dark, Department of Liberal Arts
  11. Sophia Mousicos, Department of Philosophy
  12. Aida Abbashar, Department of History and War Studies
  13. Mariam Razzaq, Department of English
  14. Tope Mayomi
  15. Zobia Shahi
  16. d, Department of Theology & Religious Studies
  17. Rebecca Larney, Department of Political Economy
  18. Jui-Enna Tasaddiq, Dickson Poon School of Law
  19. Shani Minogue, Department of History and War Studies
  20. Kenza Cheikh, Department of Nutritional Sciences
  21. Niki Manoledaki, Department of War Studies
  22. Amika Moser, Department of War Studies
  23. Zahra Hassan, Department of Theology & Religious Studies
  24. Jack McKenna, Department of Mathematics
  25. Shrish Parmeshwar, Department of Mathematics
  26. Ruby Boulter
  27. Srishti Arya, Biochemistry BSc, FoLSM
  28. Ashi Agrawal
  29. Aasha Farah, Department of History
  30. Paulina Rabiega, Department of War Studies
  31. Sevval Ozdemir
  32. Sukirti Lohani, Department of Political Economy
  33. Julie Schwarz, Dickson Poon School of Law
  34. Lydia Woodall, Department of Philosophy
  35. Jameela Kalawa
  36. Simona Alexandra, DMES
  37. Rachel Denne
  38. Ciera Turton, Department of War Studies and Philosophy
  39. Shania Nurein
  40. Anu Fasanya, MBBS, FoLSM
  41. Gizdem Akdur, Department of Digital Humanities
  42. Grace Whitten
  43. Seneba Jama, University of Warwick - School of Law
  44. Gabrielle Levy -  SPLAS
  45. Galina Dimitrova
  46. Sainab Nuh, Department of Pharmacy
  47. Diva Ulucay
  48. Isabelle Lee, Department of Life Sciences and Medicine
  49. Emma Turner, Department of English and Film
  50. Chetna Khera
  51. Charlotte Fischer, Department of War Studies,
  52. Abigail Conner, Department of Life Sciences and Medicine
  53. Suwi Narasingamoorthy, Department of Political Economy and Philosophy
  54. Phoebe Elliott, Department of Liberal Arts
  55. Sky Lewis, Department of English
  56. Shanique Blake, Family Network Officer
  57. Laura Wormington
  58. Shahira Islam, Department of English
  59. Chloé Huybens, Department of Film Studies
  60. Helene Grøttum-Verlo, Department of European and International Studies
  61. Malak Mayet - BME officer, University of Nottingham Student’s Union
  62. Connie McDonnell
  63. KCL Minorities and Philosophy
  64. Kate Naylor, Department of War Studies
  65. Alice Wright, Department of Philosophy
  66. Willa Saadat, Department of Philosophy
  67. Victoria Dorneval
  68. Hania Yasin
  69. Isabel Fernandez-Moreno, Department of French/ Spanish Portuguese and Latin American Studies
  70. Elizaveta Mikhaleva, Department of Comparative Literature
  71. Aleksandra Tollkühn, Dickson Poon School of Law
  72. Matt Lulu, Department of Liberal Arts
  73. Sofya Panchenko,  Department of Life Sciences and Medicine
  74. Annusheh Qureshi, Department of COmparative Literature
  75. Rhian Milton-Cole
  76. Olivia Palmer, Department of European and International Studies
  77. Aksah Khan, King’s Business School
  78. Sarah Birch, Department of Political Economy
  79. Skylar Larson
  80. Rosie Allen, Dickson Poon School of Law
  81. Farah Bostan,Department of Theology & Religious Studies
  82. Luka Powell, Department of War Studies
  83. Iona Cable, Department of War Studies
  84. Caterina Venafro
  85. Miriam Tamara Grødeland Aarag
  86. Niya Namfua
  87. Eleonora Colli
  88. Gul-E-Zahra Syed, Department of Theology & Religious studies
  89. Dei Lopez
  90. Elena Veris Reynolds, Department of Music
  91. Keith Smith, Department of Political Economy
  92. Habiba Siddiqa Sultana
  93. Alaya Seoudy
  94. KCL Justice for Cleaners
  95. Maisie Allen, Department of Liberal Arts
  96. Isa Abdulle, Department of English Language and Linguistics
  97. Yasmine Kherouf
  98. Toral Pattni, Department of War Studies
  99. Hannah Elsisi, Department of History
  100. Sofia Ferreira Santos, Department of Comparative Literature
  101. Hebe Tang, Department of History
  102. Tadiwa Ndlovu
  103. Molly Robson, Department of English
  104. Arthur Taylor, Departments of Physics and Philosophy
  105. Rawan Aly
  106. Soni Ticun
  107. Toby Green, Departments of History and SPLAS
  108. Siofra Peeren
  109. Claudia Campanella
  110. KCL STAR Student Action For Refugees)
  111.       Emma Yapp
  112. Rosanna McNamara, Culture team
  113. Aeysha Fida, Department of Psychology
  114. Nicolas Szende, Department of Geography
  115. Alex Nightingale, Modern Language Centre/Unison
  116. Mollie Foley, Department of Geography KCL
  117. Jordan Wheeler, Department of Geography KCL
  118. Amardeep Chawla, Department of Physics
  119. KCL Women in Physics
  120. Ajay Chandrasekaram, Department of Geography
  121. Astrid Oredsson, Department of Philosophy KCL
  122. Ewan Nicolson
  123. Ari Pitman-Wallace
  124. Harvey Stanhope, Department of Geography
  125. Rebecca Posner, Department of Women and Children’s Health
  126. Emily Baggs, Library Services
  127. Maddison Murphy
  128. Ruchika Sharma
  129. Aggie Hirst, Department of War Studies
  130. Gina Prat Lilly, Liberal Arts
  131. Mia Sternoff, Geography
  132. Lily Juniper, Geography
  133. Momin Saqib, Department of Informatics
  134. Emma Olivieri Humphrey, Geography
  135. Demilitarise Kings
  136. Cécile Duiquet, Department of History
  137. Suroor Ansari, Geography
  138. Zahra Butt
  139. Ayishatu Futa, Department of Classics
  140. Nicholas Wong, Department of Geography
  141. Maria Jaramillo, Department of Geography
  142. Isaac Seleim, Department of French, LGBT+ Society Open Rep
  143. Karen Taoube, English Language Center
  144. Laura Esther