Students launch Oxford Trans+ Pride to protest union speech by gender-critical Kathleen Stock

Kathleen Stock during a video call.

Students at Oxford university will stage a protest on the same day as “gender-critical” Kathleen Stock’s address to the Oxford Union this month.

Various student groups announced the Oxford Trans+ Pride event on Sunday (7 May) in an effort to counteract the contentious pundit’s planned speech on 30 May.

Controversy arose last month after the union announced that former University of Sussex philosophy lecturer Stock, who has argued that self-ID “threatens a secure understanding of the concept ‘lesbian’,” had agreed to speak.

The Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society condemned the union’s decision to give Stock a platform in April, saying that she “has been campaigning against trans rights, labelling them as dangerous to women”.

The society’s president, Amiad Haran Diman, told PinkNews that the collective effort by society organisers is not just about protesting against Stock’s views, but also about celebrating the trans people of Oxford.

“Our motivation is not to attack the union or attack Kathleen Stock, because we think they love the attention. The reason we are doing this is for the trans community of Oxford – it’s for our trans siblings so that they know someone is standing up for them.”

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The event is set to begin at 2pm in the Lincoln College building, with panels of trans, non-binary, gender-nonconforming and intersex speakers.

It will then move to Bonn Square, where protestors will hold a rally promoting transgender rights.

“The previous protest for queer rights in Oxford got around 200 attendees, we’re hoping to get double or triple that,” Diman said. “We need that because there will be counter-protestors and hateful transphobes. To counteract that, we need a loud voice.”

He added that the society received a wave of abuse following its April statement calling on the union to “rescind its misguided invite” and that the decision to hold a Pride protest was an effort to prove that trans joy triumphs over adversity.

“A huge pile-on started”, said Diman. “We received thousands of very hateful, abusive and frightening comments. That was something we weren’t prepared for as a small society.

“The thing I noticed was what annoyed the TERFs the most was trans joy. They were really baffled and threatened by trans joy, so I thought that emphasising trans joy is the best way to counter that.”

Pride is still a protest, Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society president says

Diman continued: “We know that there are some very hateful groups like Students Against Tyranny that are planning to arrive, and this is something that has happened in Oxford before.”

“We think there will be some threats in that way, but we are working with the police… we’ll have dozens of people there to keep it a safe situation, we’ll have first aid and field support to offer any kind of support.

“It will be a celebration, but also come prepared – if you’re worried about being outed, you should probably cover your face, and if you’re worried about heated interactions, you should probably stay away from the edges of the protest.”

With several pro-LGBTQ+ community organisations already supporting the Oxford Trans+ Pride protest, the goal for organisers is to turn it into an annual event.

“We are in coordination with some very large queer organisations here,” Diman said. “This is something that couldn’t really have happened otherwise because the trans community here is not that large, but it is very active.

“I believe it can become an annual event, but currently we are just trying to get this first event underway and assess the success afterwards.”

Stock responded to the announcement of Oxford Trans+ Pride in a tweet on Sunday (7 May), branding the protestors “absolute babies“.

Stock has previously equated trans people with those who claim to be “trans-racial” or think of themselves as another race.

She has made headlines in recent months, both for her co-founding of The Lesbian Project, a group created exclusively for cisgender lesbians, and for her involvement in upcoming Channel 4 documentary Gender Wars.

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