ANGER has greeted the appointment of an "anti-trans" campaigner to a top position at a prestigious Scottish university.

Writer Simon Fanshawe OBE, a founder and former member of Stonewall, was appointed the rector of Edinburgh University on Monday.

Fanshawe has become a critic of the institution that he helped create over its support for trans rights and spoke at the founding event of the controversial gender-critical campaign group LGB Alliance.

He penned an article for UnHerd in 2023 in which he argued for an end to the "enforced marriage" of the LGBT label, accusing trans activists of having "diametrically opposed objectives" to LGB activists.

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Dr Gina Gwenffrewi, a lecturer at Edinburgh University, told The National: "There's an astonishing ham-fistedness of [Fanshawe's confirmation], in a period where even the prime minister has been admonished for making a joke about trans identity.

"There's this awareness that maybe things have gone too far.

"And what do they do? In the incredibly sensitive position of rector, they appoint somebody who is infamously part of the gender-critical, anti-trans movement."

The role of rector at the University of Edinburgh is an elected position, intended to represent staff and students to university management.

However a ballot was not opened to staff and students due to Fanshawe's nomination being the only valid one.

Dr Gwenffrewi spoke of the several attempts to screen the controversial gender-critical film Adult Human Female at the university last year.

Protests from concerned staff and students halted attempts to screen the film on two occasions, before a third screening in November last year saw it successfully shown.

Fanshawe was an early supporter of gender-critical campaign group LGB Alliance, and spoke at the group's founding event in 2019.

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In June 2023, Fanshawe wrote an essay for the platform UnHerd where he called for a "divorce" between the LGB movement and the campaign for trans rights.

He claimed that trans activists were trying to "copy the successes of the lesbian and gay movement" and that they "misunderstand their own history", and called for an end to the "enforced marriage of LGB and T".

On the argument that both should be the same movement, he wrote: "It is based on nothing more than the rather flimsy notion that 'alphabet' people are united under a banner of similar oppression. And other letters, increasingly opaque in their relevance, are added daily to the Ts & Qs."

A spokesperson for the Staff Pride Network at the University of Edinburgh told The National: "That Simon Fanshawe’s candidacy was not ruled out of order is yet another reminder of how University of Edinburgh senior management repeatedly fails to uphold the University’s own policies on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion."

Further, they claimed that Fanshawe's past statements on trans identity and his association with the LGB Alliance "send a dangerous signal to staff, students, and the wider community that Edinburgh University is not safe for trans people".

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Rhona Hotchkiss, a trustee for LGB Alliance, said: "We urge students at Edinburgh University to engage with Simon, challenge his views, and be open to what he has to say."

On being selected for the role, Fanshawe said: "Being named rector of the University of Edinburgh is a great honour.

"It is a university with a great legacy and current practice of stellar research and wonderful teaching.

"The role of rector offers great opportunity to convene discussions on the most effective ways of advancing the university, its staff and students and to promote mutual understanding in the exchange of ideas."

Leigh Chalmers, vice-principal of the University of Edinburgh, said: “We look forward to working with Simon as the next rector of the University of Edinburgh and we thank former rector Debora Kayembe for her service.”

A University of Edinburgh spokesperson said: “The rector is nominated and elected by students and staff and is not an appointment of the executive or governing body of the university.

"All staff and matriculated students are eligible to nominate a candidate. Only one valid nomination was received by the deadline of February 5.

"In accordance with the regulations governing the election process, Simon Fanshawe has been named as rector uncontested.”

Simon Fanshawe was contacted for comment.