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Edinburgh University axes conference on transgender school pupils amid ‘transphobic’ fears

Edinburgh University axes conference on helping transgender school pupils amid fears speakers and guests could be at risk from activists who branded the event ‘transphobic’

  • A research seminar on schools and gender diversity has been postponed
  • Event was to discuss supporting gender-nonconforming and transgender pupils
  • But it was branded ‘transphobic’ by Edinburgh University’s Staff Pride Network  

A university seminar on schools and gender diversity has been cancelled amid fears the ‘safety of speakers was at risk’.

The event at the University of Edinburgh was set to discuss ‘gender diversity and supporting gender-nonconforming and transgender-identifying pupils in schools’.

But the university’s Staff Pride Network branded the forum ‘transphobic’ while one of its members urged people to buy tickets but not ‘actually show up’. 

The network claimed speakers had ‘a history of transphobia’ and said the seminar would have a ‘harmful impact’ on the ‘trans and non-binary community at the University.’ 

The event at the University of Edinburgh was set to discuss ‘gender diversity and supporting gender-nonconforming and transgender-identifying pupils in schools’

But the university's Staff Pride Network branded the forum 'transphobic' while one of its members urged people to buy tickets but not 'actually show up'

But the university’s Staff Pride Network branded the forum ‘transphobic’ while one of its members urged people to buy tickets but not ‘actually show up’

A source told The Scotsman: ‘The organisers were told that there was going to be too hostile an environment to hold the event and while there would be nine security guards they couldn’t guarantee the safety of speakers or attendees – most of whom would likely be women – which is pretty terrifying.’ 

Academics, teachers and student teachers had been invited to attend the seminar to discuss  ‘complex, sensitive and often controversial issues’. 

They were set to talk about how to ensure children can ‘interrogate gender norms whilst ensuring that gender-nonconforming and transgender-identifying pupils are safe, supported and included in schools’.

Speakers included Professor Michele Moore, head of the Centre for Social Justice and Global Responsibility at London South Bank University, Stephanie Davies-Arai: Founder of Transgender Trend and Dr Shereen Benjamin, a senior Lecturer in Primary Education at Edinburgh University.

But in a blog post, the university’s Staff Pride Network raised concerns and wrote to organisers in a bid to stop the event. 

The network said: ‘The Committee are upset and disappointed that another event featuring speakers with a history of transphobia will take place on our campus.

‘Despite being advertised as a research seminar it is not clear what research is being presented by Dr Benjamin or Prof Moore.

‘We feel that the three speakers at this event will provide a biased viewpoint on supporting schoolchildren.’ 

Speakers included Professor Michele Moore, head of the Centre for Social Justice and Global Responsibility at London South Bank University

Last month Oxford Brookes cancelled an appearance by the feminist artist Rachel Ara after students accused her of holding transphobic views

Left, Speakers included Professor Michele Moore, head of the Centre for Social Justice and Global Responsibility at London South Bank University. Right, Last month Oxford Brookes cancelled an appearance by the feminist artist Rachel Ara after students accused her of holding transphobic views

In June, all 12 members of Edinburgh University’s staff pride network committee temporarily resigned after accusing the university of “failing to take a stand against transphobic hate on campus”.

They quit over opposition to a feminist meeting which included speakers who have previously been critical of proposed reforms to transgender rights.

After the meeting, speaker Julie Bindel was verbally abused and attacked by a transgender activist.

Last month, Oxford Brookes cancelled an appearance by the feminist artist Rachel Ara after students accused her of holding transphobic views.

A statement from Edinburgh University said: ‘The decision to postpone the research seminar entitled ‘Schools and Gender Diversity’ was taken by the organiser. We understand the organiser intends to reschedule early next year.

‘The University will continue to support colleagues in expressing views even when the subject might be considered challenging by others in our community. We are clear that the University should both be a safe place for discussion and that freedom of expression is essential.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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