Abertay student Lisa Keogh talks to spiked about her absurd run-in with the campus censors.
In a crowded field, the ‘women have vaginas’ scandal at Abertay University might just be the most insane campus-censorship story yet. Lisa Keogh, a law student at Abertay, is currently being investigated by the university authorities for comments she made in seminars. She says her fellow students complained after she said that women are born with female genitalia, and that trans women should not compete in women’s mixed martial arts. For uttering such heresies she could even face expulsion — the university is reportedly deciding her fate later today. We spoke to Lisa ahead of the ruling to find out more.
spiked: What did you say that got you into trouble?
Lisa Keogh: I was in an online class about gender and feminism in the law. We were discussing equal rights for men and women. I said that I agree with equal rights, but that you can’t expect an equal outcome. For example, I can’t lift things as heavy as a man can. When I worked in a garage, men would help me because I wasn’t physically as able as them. I was a small female and they were burly mechanics. I have equal rights to them and to men in general, but I cannot be a man, so to speak.
After I said that, somebody else in the class said it was misogynistic. I said it wasn’t, and they brought up the issue of trans. I said that a trans woman would be stronger than me, because I’m a biological woman. So they asked how I would define a woman, and I said that my classification of a woman is somebody who is born with a vagina and the ability to menstruate.
There was uproar. It was like putting a target on my back. I had branded myself as a non-member of the echo chamber. I could have said the sky was blue and they would have attacked me. As I understand it, more than one person from the class reported me to the university.
It’s fine for my fellow students to have an opinion and to push for their rights. But you have to be able to challenge people. But when you challenge these people, they say they have been attacked. What’s the point of having a law class if you aren’t challenging people?
spiked: How did the university respond?
Keogh: I got an email saying that I’d been accused of offending and discriminating against somebody. The email was very vague – it didn’t say what I had actually done. I went to the interview and the interviewer asked if I accepted the allegations. I said I couldn’t really accept them unless they told me what I had done. The interviewer said that would be teased out throughout the interview.