Adult Human Female film screening blocked by Edinburgh university students doing the conga

Edinburgh University

Edinburgh University cancelled a screening of controversial, anti-trans film Adult Human Female, after protestors blocked the entrance with a “conga” line.

It’s the second time in less than sixth months that ‘gender critical’ activists have tried – and failed – to show the film at the university.

The Adult Human Female screening was initially slated to take place on December 14, but due to protests, it was rescheduled for Wednesday (26 April) at the Gordon Aitken Lecture Theatre.

The 2022 documentary claims “to look at the clash between women’s rights and trans ideology” but critics have called the film transphobic.

LGBTQ+ activists blocked the entrance to the theatre, confronted audience members and occupied seats in the lecture hall moments before the screening was due to start. Protestors outside the theatre held posters with the words “Transphobia isn’t feminism!”

A Twitter user shared a video of protesters dancing in a conga line on the Edinburgh University campus, saying: “How do you counter hatred. With a conga to ‘Born This Way’ of course.”

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The trade union organisation University of College Union (UCU) Edinburgh tweeted in support of the protest, writing: “It’s big and we’ve only just started. No to hate on campus”, followed by the hashtag “TransRightsAreHumanRights”.

A spokesperson from Edinburgh University told PinkNews it is “disappointed” the anti-trans film was blocked from being screened.

“At the university we are fully committed to upholding freedom of expression and academic freedom, and facilitating an environment where students and staff can discuss and debate challenging topics,” the spokesperson said.

“We are disappointed that again this event has not been able to go ahead.”

They added that the screening was scrapped due to “safety concerns”.

“In line with our commitment to fostering an inclusive, supportive and safe environment for our whole community, we worked with the organisers and put measures in place to mitigate risks associated with the event.”

“However, with protesters restricting access to the venue, safety concerns were raised should the event proceed. It was therefore decided that the screening should not continue.”

Reality Matters, the production company behind Adult Human Female tweeted their response to the second cancellation of the film screening at the University of Edinburgh and expressed they were “appalled” at the protest.

“They’ve done it again. Our film screening is cancelled. They have occupied the venue. Freedom of assembly for women is dead at Edinburgh University. Anyone who is appalled by this please come down to protest,” they wrote.

Opponents of the film have accused the film of being transphobic, as the filmmakers, Deirdre O’Neill and Mike Wayne, pose the question in the description of the film: “Is it really harmless when men identify into the female sex?”

The directors of the film also released statement saying: “Women defending their rights have been slandered as bigots and dinosaurs.”

The statement continues: “The slogan of their opponents, the trans rights activists and their allies is: There Is No Debate. Think about that for a moment as a starting position. But quick as a flash before your doubts can germinate they say: We Exist! 

“It’s a cunning and careful conflation between their right to exist and enjoy the full rights of any human being, and their right to claim rights that materially damage the interests of women.”

A poster of the controversial film Adult Human Female. (Credit: Reality Matters)

Following the second cancellation, the Staff-Student Solidarity Network (SSSN) in University of Edinburgh retweeted their initial response after the successful protest in December.

Their 2022 statement referred to the films content as “dangerous” as it makes the “assertion that ‘trans women are men’” and that “non-binary people don’t exist at all”.

“The assertion that ‘trans women are men’ is a transphobic statement. The belief that gender should be rigidly tied to assigned gender at birth based on genitals is not a neutral, objective statement.

“This is directly harmful to trans people, and is used to deny us appropriate care and respect by delegitimising our experiences.”