Edinburgh University’s entire LGBT committee resigns in ‘censorship’ row

Edinburgh University’s entire LGBT Network Committee has resigned after a row over a talk by anti-trans feminist Julie Bindel.

Despite the committee’s repeated protests, the event, “Women’s Sex-Based Rights,” was held on campus on Wednesday (June 7).

The committee is accusing the university of censorship after they were allegedly threatened with losing their mailing list privileges if they spoke out about the event — preventing them from contacting their 500 members.

“In short, we were told that the Network Committee must support the University or be quiet,” the committee wrote in a resignation letter to its members which has been seen by PinkNews.

“We must be able to advocate for our membership, especially when one Group appears to be targeted.”

— Committee resignation letter

“We were also told that, in future, should the Committee wish to take a stance on anything for our Members, that we must first ask permission of the University. Finally, we were told that our mailing list privileges were just that and could be removed if we were not willing to comply.

“We cannot, and will not do that. We must be able to advocate for our membership, especially when one Group appears to be targeted. The University have failed to engage with us.”

In response to the planned event, the University’s LGBT staff network and students launched a petition calling for it to be cancelled on the grounds that it would put transgender and non-binary people “at risk of physical and psychological harm” and “contravene the University’s own policies on equality and diversity.”

Bindel has been no-platformed by universities before

Bindel’s views have long been criticised and she and has been no-platformed by several student unions, including the University of Manchester in 2015.

Writing in the Guardian, Bindel has called transgender people “gender benders,” said that “sex-change surgery is the modern equivalent of aversion therapy for homosexuals,” and described gender confirmation surgery as an “unnecessary mutilation.”

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