QUCL - Research on Sexual and Gender diversity at UCL


Statements and Letters

qUCL statement: on inviting anti-trans anti-queer views onto campus  

As the co-directors of qUCL, a UCL research network dedicated to gender, feminism, queer studies, and LGBTQ+ studies, we are deeply concerned that inviting speakers and organizations who are well-known to promote anti-trans and anti-queer views onto our campus invalidates the hard work UCL has undertaken over the last several years to address issues of EDI, including the legacy of eugenics and debates about anti-Semitism. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right; however, this right does not extend to limiting or undermining the human rights of others. UCL’s 2021 formal public apology for its history and legacy of eugenics states: ‘We operate in a climate of academic freedom, but we recognize that the right to freedom of expression is not unfettered.’ The same responsible stance on informed academic freedom applies to issues of gender and sexuality because the study and history of LGBTQ+, queer and gender studies is inextricably tied to issues of eugenics, race, anti-Semitism, and colonialism. It impacts UCL’s credibility as a world-class research institution if the institution’s understanding of academic freedom and freedom of expression are unfettered by considerations of rigour, evidence, method, ethics, law, and staff and student wellbeing. Debate and dissent are foundational to scholarly inquiry. However, false equivalence is damaging: To entertain uninformed positions that hurt, or worse question the validity of, marginalised peoples places UCL in the position of once again enabling the likes of the eugenics conferences that ran on campus through 2017. 

UCL's disaffiliation from Stonewall

qUCL did not organise events for LGBT History Month 2022. We see UCL’s decision to disaffiliate from Stonewall as a continuation of the adversities of LGBT history and, in particular, the struggle for trans liberation. We believe that responsible research and teaching of gender, LGBTQ+ studies, queer theory, and especially trans theory, requires an environment that is safe for the LGBTQ+ community. We will continue to run research events on LGBT history and more later this year— but not this February so close to the decision which will negatively impact members of our community. We hope UCL will show real commitments to supporting its LGBT students and staff. Read qUCL's letter to UCL Council on Stonewall decision.