Transphobia comes to Essex campus – it is not welcome

Posted on October 23, 2014 by

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Today at Essex University the poisonous Julie Bindel was given a platform to talk. The reason that this is a controversial move is that Bindel has written a vast amount of damaging, ignorant and bigoted articles regarding transgenderism, bisexuality and Islam. She is opposed to people getting a sex change and refers to this surgery, a valid choice for any person choosing to undertake it, as ‘unnecessary mutilation’. It was felt that a person with views such as these should not be welcomed onto a campus where her presence may make students and staff alike feel uncomfortable. The university should not allow people whose views pose a risk to any member of faculty or the community as a whole to speak.

To further her awful rhetoric, she has said in print that transgender people should not have access to rape crisis services with backhanded language used in the pursuit of belittling those who decide to go through surgery. She also maintains that homosexuality is a choice and that bisexual people should choose to be lesbian. ‘If bisexual women had an ounce of sexual politics, they would stop sleeping with men’.

It is clear that her damaged and villainous views have no place at an institution such as this one and a group set out today to show our dissatisfaction with those in control and Bindel herself. This was not an easy task, as there were many obstacles that we were forced to overcome. Firstly the time had been changed from 3pm to 2pm and we were not able to properly demonstrate before the talk. Following this, we were told that there was not enough room in the lecture hall for our group to attend. The intangible ‘health and safety’ was called upon and we were refused entry. We know this to be false as we had photos from inside that revealed there was room. This is a flagrant disrespect of our right to peacefully protest the presence of this vile woman.

We hung our banner, reading ‘transphobia kills women’, from a balcony and waited for the talk to end so that we could leaflet appropriately. Upon the conclusion of the talk we held the banner up by the exit and handed out leaflets about Bindel and her views. It was at this point that she offered to speak with us as a group. We declined because we had been refused the right to take up our grievances with her in the forum where what we said could have made a difference; in front of the students who were attending a compulsory talk and may not have yet formed an opinion on Bindel.

We should view this as a success as we made an impact, made our views clear, and increased knowledge of the damage that views such as Bindel’s can do. In the future we expect to find that speakers are chosen more carefully and we intend to do our utmost to keep those who spout this bile off our campus. Say no to discrimination and take a stand against people such as this.

Max Bowden

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Posted in: Oppression