“Our existence is not a debate,” chanted protesters outside the Oxford Union as transphobe Kathleen Stock was invited to speak on Tuesday evening.
Some 200 people, mostly students, joined a lively trans+ pride march and protest in Oxford and chanted, “Out of the closet, into the street.”
Inside the debate, two protesters waving trans pride flags were booed by the audience and kicked out by security. Another protester wearing a T-shirt reading, “No more dead trans kids,” glued themselves to the floor near Stock. It took four police officers 20 minutes to remove the protester as the audience cheered the cops.
Rishi Sunak had jumped to defend Stock ahead of her appearance in Oxford. It comes after the Tories blocked the Scottish government’s Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reforms in January—the latest in their war on trans and non-binary people.
The Oxford Student Union LGBTQ+ Campaign said in a statement, “We believe the right to free speech should not be used to actively harm marginalised groups. The right to free speech does not equate to the right to a platform.”
Stock previously left her job at University of Sussex in 2021 following student protests. She then accepted a job with the University of Austin—which was described by The New Republic magazine as an “anti-woke” institution.
Amiad Haran Diman, Oxford University’s LGBTQ+ society president, said, “We have received thousands of comments online. Some of them were very homophobic, very transphobic, hateful, threatening.
“We have seen activists coming here with cameras just to harass students. We have seen unprecedented abuse to our small community, just because Kathleen Stock is coming here.”
It is right to challenge transphobia, whether it’s in the street, parliament or education.
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