Ex-Principal of St Anne’s in “transgender vegetarians” row

Baroness Deech, former Principal of St Anne’s College, has faced public backlash after describing those who eat meat substitutes as “transgender vegetarians”.

She made the comments on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday morning when asked by her interviewer whether she would like to try vegetarian burgers made to taste like beef.

“If you do eat meat, you want to feel that you’re somehow getting that protein into you.

“If you’re going to be a vegetarian you should just go out and eat lettuce and spring onions and be done with it. I don’t like this crossover really.

“It’s sort of transgender vegetarianism.”

The question was sparked by a recent Sunday Telegraph story about Impossible Foods, a California-based company that specialises in making plant-based products that it claims taste just like meat.

Her comments caused outrage on Twitter; playwright Shelley Silas wrote “#ruthdeech what the hell is ‘transgender vegetarianism’?”, and many others accused her of transphobia.

Baroness Deech, who is a Crossbench Peer, also spoke about “snowflake” students, bemoaning the use of no platforming to shut down debates on transgender issues and the subject of Israel.

“Universities are places where you should be able to say everything that’s within the law,” she said.

“You have to adopt a certain attitude to be in the in crowd and there are things you cannot say.

“I’m dismayed at what has been going on in some quarters in the student world, really.”

She expressed her desire for students to learn from the bravery of Malala Yousafzai, who recently returned to her home in the Swat Valley for the first time since she was shot there for promoting female education.

Deech studied Law at St Anne’s, graduating in 1965, and was a tutorial fellow at the college from 1970 to 1991. She was a Senior Proctor of Oxford University from 1985 to 1986.