Open letter to Advance HE stating there is no conflict between gender equality and trans inclusion

TIGERS are hosting a letter, written by some of our members and other colleagues in the higher education sector, to protest recent actions by Advance HE that indicate a backsliding away from support of full inclusion of trans colleagues in the Higher Education sector, including: (1) planning a conference session highly pertinent to trans rights without any trans representation on the relevant panel; (2) stepping away from inclusive best-practice in their approach to gathering diversity data; and (3) considering watering down the commitment of the Athena Swan Charter to trans inclusion.

Advance HE is a member-led, sector-owned charity and has maintained that “the sector has been consistent that Athena Swan should be a trans inclusive gender equality charter addressing the specific challenges faced by trans and non-binary people”.

Hence, the letter emphasises that most members of the sector and associated academic communities, do indeed believe in the inclusion of trans and non-binary people in our workplaces and in the Athena Swan Charter. Signatories are asked to commit to:

  • rejecting the premise that trans-inclusive EDI work is a threat to freedom of speech or our academic freedom.

  • further rejecting the suggestion that there is any tension between the rights of cis women and trans women, or between sex-based and gender-inclusive rights

  • resisting an erosion of the safety, dignity and support for transgender, non-binary and gender diverse staff and students in our institutions.

  • embedding trans-inclusive practices in the EDI work they carry out in their institutions, including work related to Athena Swan and the Race Equality Charter.

  • refusing to provide labour to any EDI work which is not inclusive of trans colleagues.

The authors would welcome signatures from those working in the UK higher education sector and other national contexts where Advance HE operates.

A full version of the letter and names of co-signatories can be viewed here:

Signatures are being collected via a google form available here: