NUS conference condemns drag and tells gay men to ‘stop acting like black women’

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An NUS conference has passed a motion condemning drag and cross dressing, while another motion attacks gay men who speak like black women.

The motions were submitted to the National Union of Students Women’s Campaign conference – which came under fire online last week after warning that clapping could be distressing for some students.

Motion 406, submitted by students from Birkbeck Students’ Union, calls for a “zero tolerance” approach to drag and cross-dressing at all student union events.

It claims in part: “Transphobic fancy dress should be met with the same disdain with which we meet other prejudiced or appropriative costumes.

“Conference resolves to issue a statement condemning the use of ‘cross-dressing’ as a mode of fancy dress.

“Conference resolves amend the NUS Zero Tolerance Statement policy to cover all NUS events and conferences; and to encourage Unions to ban clubs and societies from holding events which permit or encourage (cisgender) members to use ‘cross-dressing’ as a mode of fancy dress.”

A footnote to the motion clarifies that drag “as an expression or exploration of queer identity is to be encouraged”, and claims this can be “easily distinguished” from other forms – but does not detail how exactly this is compatible with a “zero tolerance” ban.

Meanwhile, Motion 512 – which was submitted by the NUS LGBT Committee – urges the NUS to “eradicate the appropriation of black women by white gay men.”

It states in part: “The appropriation of Black women by white gay men is prevalent within the LGBT scene and community.

“This may be manifested in the emulation of the mannerisms, language (particularly AAVE- African American Vernacular English) and phrases that can be attributed to Black women.

“White gay men may often assert that they are ‘strong black women” or have an “inner black woman’.

“White gay men are the dominant demographic within the LGBT community, and they benefit from both white privilege and male privilege

“This type of appropriation is unacceptable and must be addressed.”

The Women’s Campaign is open to students who identify as female.

The gay vernacular naturally picked up elements of AAVE during the ball scene in the 1980s, as chronicled in film ‘Paris is Burning’. The link has persevered to this day.