The academic taking on the trans activist bullies at Bristol university

12 February 2022

7:00 PM

12 February 2022

7:00 PM

Raquel Rosario-Sanchez’s case may prove to be a landmark one in the current war on women. She is a PhD student who is taking a civil action against her university, Bristol, on the grounds of sex discrimination and negligence.

She is arguing that the university failed to tackle transgender activists who subjected her to a two-year hate campaign. The case, held in the Bristol Civil Justice Centre, is being taken as a last resort: Rosario-Sanchez previously attempted to resolve matters with the university through the usual channels.

It all began in 2018, when Rosario-Sanchez was invited to chair a meeting of the socialist feminist organisation, a Women’s Place UK (WPUK). She was asked for good reason. Her feminist credentials are impressive. By the time she came to the UK from the Dominican Republic aged 28, Rosario-Sanchez had two degrees in women’s studies, had worked in the women’s sector, and was involved in the campaign to end male violence towards women and girls.

Her interest in issues related to the male demand for prostitution led her to apply to eight British universities to do her PhD on the topic. Having received unconditional offers from all of the universities, she chose Bristol, having become aware of the centre within the university devoted to producing research and evidence relating to ending male violence towards women and girls. It was through this centre and her campaigning work that she became involved with WPUK.

None of this saved her from accusations of transphobia from the Trans Taliban. They waged a campaign of harassment against her over a period of two years. She made many complaints to the university about the bullying and harassment, all of which were dismissed. Instead of helping her, the university doubled down in support of the trans activists. Rosario-Sánchez says that when she stated that only biological woman can give birth, she was reported to the university for being ‘transphobic’ and ordered to apologise.

Eventually, the online abuse became intolerable. Rosario-Sanchez was bullied on campus and the stress became so extreme that she was forced to halt her studies.

Shortly after her troubles began, in early 2018, Rosario-Sanchez invited me to speak at an event at the university on prostitution. I was impressed by her energy and enthusiasm, as well as her forensic grasp of the complex issues relating to the sex trade.

I saw just how vicious the Bristol trans activists could be when I encountered a number of them at a meeting in April 2018 set up to discuss proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Act, which I was covering for a newspaper.

I was blocked at the door by masked men in balaclavas, many of them identifying as non-binary or transwomen. Rosario-Sanchez was not at the meeting but, having seen video footage of the protest, she confirmed to me that some of the students that had waged war against her were present.

The protesters blocked the stairwell and refused to let me, or anyone else, into the building. One tried to knock my phone out of my hand whilst the others circled me like a pack of hyenas. What struck me was the sheer arrogance and lack of any self-awareness whatsoever. They simply expected people to merely capitulate. The police certainly did, they just let them get on with it, and eventually we found our way into the building through a side entrance. Capitulating to bullies is not the answer; they can smell blood. This is why Rosario-Sanchez’s case against Bristol university is so important; the bullies cannot be allowed to win.

This isn’t a war about transgender people, or even transgender ideology. It is a war against so called progressive men, who have discovered a new and canny way of sticking it to us whilst still appearing to be on the right side of history. Framing this as nasty women not allowing trans people to live their best lives hides what it really is; a misogynist backlash against feminism. Until recently, this subterfuge has even worked with most liberals, although the tide is turning.

But there is another reason why we should back this case to the hilt and stand alongside Rosario-Sanchez. It is about her as a person, a human being. She’s strong and resilient, but she’s also vulnerable and hurt. Rosario-Sanchez left her home and travelled thousands of miles to fulfil her dreams. She left a loving family, her beloved dog, friendship network, and language. ‘I even left the beautiful weather to come here,’ she told me.

If she loses, the bullies win. It means that universities will be able to continue to be cowed by trans activists, and that feminists will effectively be silenced. It would embolden universities like Sussex, whose inadequate responses allowed the bullying of feminist Professor Kathleen Stock to continue unabated.

What has happened to Rosario-Sanchez is a disgrace. If you are still silent on the ways that extreme trans rights activism is affecting her and women like her, you should hang your head in shame. Now is not the time for silence. Now is the time to sit up, and take action.

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