The UCU, the British union of university lecturers, said that white people should be able to identify as black, men as women, or straight people as gay.
In a document entitled “UCU’s position on trans inclusion” posted on their website, they let slip that not only were they in favour of any man being able to identify as a women if he so chose, but also for anyone to identify as black, gay, or even being disabled when they weren’t. “UCU has a long history of enabling members to self-identify whether that is being Black, disabled, LGBT+ or women,” it reads.
Various members of the UCU slammed the decision online, decrying it as “nonsensical,” “anti-intellectual,” and “a car-crash waiting to happen”.
I'm still member of @ucu but Christ they make it hard when publish this nonsensical, anti-intellectual propaganda. Why are they – the main union for University lecturers – taking a substantive position on what is clearly a matter of academic freedom? https://t.co/XOQ0JzHcWC
— Kathleen Stock (@Docstockk) November 12, 2019
My union genuinely seems to think that I can identify my way into being a black disabled woman, and that's all groovy. https://t.co/oBAr8MYAjq
— Iain Brassington 🇪🇺 (@IBrasso) November 12, 2019
I am a member of the UCU & I fundamentally disagree with the UCU's position. Self-identification is a car crash waiting to happen for females. I think you are right that the majority of the union members do not agree with the position of the UCU & that it was foisted on us.CopyAMP codeLoading...
— Ginger (@63_susan) November 12, 2019
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan said the decision was “insulting”:
This is the way the world’s going! And people think I’m the nutty one, I tell you I’m not. If you’re white, you’re white, if you’re black, you’re black. That’s it. We don’t need 120,000 lunatic academics to tell us that white people are now black. ‘It’s insulting and ridiculous. To everybody. It’s mad. How do they get to be academics, these people?
A spokesman for the UCU shot back in a statement, saying that “self-identification is a standard practice in many organisations and the Office for National Statistics says ‘there is no consensus on what constitutes an ethnic group and membership is something that is selfdefined’.”
The decision has brought back the story of Rachel Dolezal into the public consciousness. A black rights activist, Dolezal said she would identify as black rather than being white, despite having white parents. She later described herself as “trans-black”:
Well I really just encountered blackness kind of for the first time just as a response from within myself as black is beautiful, black is inspirational, from a very young child age. From there how I just learnt to repress that and suppress that because I was punished for that, and told that that was not normal. I know that my identity is still, for many, is somewhat unorthodox or perhaps unique… But you know I’m kind of becoming okay with, to a certain extent, a level of support and rejection that’s kind of been going on for the last couple of years since my biological heritage and how I was born, was brought to the surface.
Last year, Anthony Lennon, a white theatre director, came under fire for securing funding from the UK Arts Council that was designed to help ethnic minorities enable their theatrical careers. Lennon described himself as an “African born again,” and received the funding after a black theatre company accepted his claim of being “mixed heritage.”