A student from the United Kingdom has been called “transphobic” and fired from his editor position at a student publication after supporting on social media the notion that “women don’t have penises,” Metro reported.
Angelos Sofocleous was assistant editor of Durham University’s philosophy journal, Critique, for just three days when he lost his job for sharing a Spectator piece titled, “Is it a crime to say women don’t have penises?” on his personal Twitter account. His tweet has been deleted, the outlet said.
This is an alarming story. Universities & student newspapers are places where it has always been free and fabulous to express a range of views https://t.co/8mRM0GKZSQ
— Sian Griffiths (@SianGriffiths6) September 21, 2018
He also was “forced” to resign as president-elect of Humanist Students, Metro said, and was let go from his post as general editor the school’s online magazine, The Bubble.
The former chair of LGBT Humanists, Christopher Ward, took issue with Sofocleous’ post, the outlet said, arguing it was “factually incorrect” and not “worthy of a debate.”
“The opposition I experienced from a number of longstanding Humanists members to trans people and trans issues was a stain on an otherwise great organization,” Ward wrote, according to Metro. “And here’s the new president of Humanist Students RTing horrific transphobic s**t.”
Not backing down
But Sofocleous blasted his detractors, saying in his Humanist Students resignation statement that they “cannot tolerate any criticism, either of their movement or their ideas, and are unable to engage in a civilized conversation on issues they disagree on.”
“These are individuals who think they hold the absolute right to determine which ideas can be discussed and what language can be used in a public forum,” he added.
More from Sofocleous’ statement:
I was surprised by the lack of willingness to engage in a discussion upon the issue by current and former members of the organization — members that otherwise promote freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and an environment in which ideas and opinions can be debated and challenged. Living in a free society and being present and active in a public forum means that one often witnesses comments that she may judge as offensive, divisive, or derogatory. Living in a democracy means that one will often offend and get offended. That’s the price one pays for being a member of a democracy and not existing into her own bubble.
Since the uproar over his tweet, Sofocleous’ Twitter page is full of strident arguments on freedom of speech, thought, and expression:
We affirm the value of all human beings without qualification, and we defend the right of all persons to question and criticise as they see fit.https://t.co/gYeYYhWgjJ
— Conatus News (@ConatusNews) September 20, 2018
It is incredibly concerning when the only 'argument' people use when attacking your view is that your statement "denies someone's existence", without defining what this means, if it means anything at all, or if it corresponds to any truth in the world. 1/5https://t.co/DLhHObFwPp
— Angelos Sofocleous (@Sofocleous_A) September 21, 2018