Anyone should be allowed to "self-identify" as black regardless of the colour of their skin, a lecturer's union has said.
The University and College Union (UCU) said people should be able to identify as different races or genders, in a report called “UCU Position on Trans Inclusion”.
“The UCU has a long history of enabling members to self-identify, whether that is being black, disabled, LGBT or women,” it said.
The UCU said that a “social, rather than a medical, model of gender recognition” should be accepted in modern society and that the move would “help challenge repressive gender stereotypes in the workplace.”
The union, which represents more than 100,000 university lecturers and staff, was criticised by GMB presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid and some of its own members.
Kathleen Stock, a professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex, tweeted that she believes the union took a “substantive position on what is clearly a matter of academic freedom.”
She wrote: "I'm still a member of UCU but... they make it hard when they publish this nonsensical, anti-intellectual propaganda."
Another member of the union, Dr. Iain Brassington from the University of Manchester, tweeted: “My union genuinely seems to think that I can identify my way into being a black disabled woman, and that's all groovy.”
Meanwhile, Piers Morgan also criticised the report as "insulting".
"If you’re white, you’re white, if you’re black, you’re black. That’s it.
"We don’t need 120,000 lunatic academics to tell us that white people are now black. It’s insulting and ridiculous. To everybody. It’s mad."
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Susanna Reid compared the scenario to Rachel Dolezal, a highly controversial scandal in the US in which a female official with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who was white but self-identified as black, was exposed during a TV interview after her parents disputed her claim that she was black.
A spokesman for the UCU defended the report, telling Yahoo News UK: “Self-identification is a standard practice in many organisations and, as the Office for National Statistics says, ‘There is no consensus on what constitutes an ethnic group and membership is something that is self-defined and subjectively meaningful to the person concerned’”.