University and College Union

The Universities and Colleges Union has set out its stance in a report on the ongoing row about whether men should be able to self-identify as women and be treated as female regardless of their anatomy.
Anyone should be allowed to 'identify' as black regardless of the colour of their skin or background, according to Left-wing university leaders.

The Universities and Colleges Union has set out its stance in a report on the ongoing row about whether men should be able to self-identify as women and be treated as female regardless of their anatomy.

The UCU's 'position statement' did not just stand by its support for self-identification of gender, but also insisted people can choose their own race, saying: 'Our rules commit us to ending all forms of discrimination, bigotry and stereotyping. UCU has a long history of enabling members to self-identify whether that is being black, disabled, LGBT+ or women.'

Recognising 'self-defined' women as fully female is deeply controversial among many feminists and others. Theresa May's Government considered changing the law to allow people to choose their own gender, but Ministers have put those plans on hold after a backlash from female voters.

Many female academics say they have faced harassment from students and activists for questioning trans-inclusive policies, and several high-profile female speakers including Germaine Greer and Dame Jenni Murray have been 'no platformed' from university debates for their refusal to accept that anyone who says they are a woman must be accepted as female.

But the union's position on race was last night mocked as the latest 'nonsensical' demonstration of 'woke' thinking imported from US campuses. The self-identification of race has proved highly controversial in the US: in 2015, Rachel Dolezal resigned as an official with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after her white parents disputed her claim to be black.

The British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen also came under fire in the US over his character Ali G, a white man from Staines who asks critics: 'Is it because I is black?'

In Britain, the actor Anthony Lennon - born in London to Irish parents - faced criticism last year when it emerged he had won funding from an Arts Council scheme to help ethnic minority actors develop their stage careers, because he 'identifies' as a 'born-again African'.

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy professor at Sussex University and UCU member, last night questioned the union's position on race, saying it was 'nonsensical, anti-intellectual propaganda'.

The UCU is led by Jo Grady, a lecturer at Sheffield University Management School. A union spokesman confirmed that the UCU considers it is up to individuals to choose if they wish to be recognised as black.