GLF statement of support for the Essex LGBTQ+ Forum following the Reindorf Report

To: Professor Anthony Forster, Vice Chancellor of the University of Essex
(OR: TO the Essex LGBNTQ+ Forum?)
RE: Reindorf Report

The Gay Liberation Front are writing to you to express our deep concern about the recently
published Reindorf Report, which reviewed events involving external speakers in 2019 and
2020, and about the potential impact of this report, not least on the University’s policy on
Trans/nonbinary staff and students.

The GLF was founded in October 1970, and consciousness raising and finding and supporting
authentic ways to be and to live have been at the root of all GLF’s activities since the beginning.
Among its founders were Britain’s senior feminist Mary McIntosh, Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in
the Department of Sociology 1975-1996 and its first female Head of Department 1986-1989,
member of the University’s Senate 1977-1980 and 1994, and a member of the Policy Advisory
Committee to the Criminal Law Revision Committee, 1976-1994, on matters relating to sexual
offences. Her political acumen in the committees’ discussions on the Age of Consent for gay
men in the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994 forced the then Conservative government
to reduce, for the first time, the age of consent from 21 to 18 years-of-age, when they had
originally been minded not to make any change at all.

The GLF champions the right to free speech and freedom of academic research but these
freedoms, hard won and constantly challenged, must not be allowed to question, debate or
discuss the existence of Trans/nonbinary communities and identities: being Trans/nonbinary is
not a matter for debate, it is not a “concept or a “perspective” – it is a reality, a deep personal
feeling, a conviction that drives individuals to become the human being they really are.
We are, therefore, extremely concerned that the Reindorf Report could give an opposite
impression and lead to action taken on the basis of its recommendations that would, in effect,
end up in making the Trans/nonbinary communities at the University feel increasingly
threatened and unwelcome.

The University of Essex has a proud history of radical thinking and asking critical questions. It is
world leading in the field of human rights. It has taken important steps towards equality,
diversity and inclusion and cherishing all its staff and students no matter what their identity.
The GLF appeals to the University of Essex not to draw conclusions from the Reindorf Report
that could turn the development back instead of continuing to move forward towards freedom
and respect for everyone – at a time when civil liberties and equal rights are coming under
increasing pressure and attack from all sides here in the UK too.

The GLF appeals to the University of Essex to be a beacon in upholding and safeguarding equal
rights rather than contributing to restricting them.

The GLF wants to ensure the ESSEX LGBTQ+ Forum and in particular the Trans/nonbinary
communities of its support and full solidarity: we will support your struggle for equal rights;
your struggle is our struggle!

Equal rights for trans/nonbinary people are non-negotiable: they are a human right.

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