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Speaker pulls out of Oxford Union debate in protest

Peter Tatchell is a long time campaigner for LGBT+ human rights

Veteran LGBT+ human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has pulled out of a planned Oxford Union Pride debate this evening.

Mr Tatchell said on his Twitter page that he is no longer taking part in protest at the Union's decision to host Kathleen Stock earlier this week on Tuesday, without another guest to counter her views. 

In a statement on his website he said he was somewhat reluctant to withdraw but he strongly disagrees with the Union's decision to have Ms Stock on solo without a trans voice alongside her. 

Mr Tatchell had been due to speak in this evening's debate on the topic "This House believes the commercialisation of Pride has done more harm than good." 

In his statement he said: 

“While I am all in favour of free speech, it is not free speech when trans people are denied a voice in favour of those who want to restrict their inclusion and human rights.

“Given that trans equality is an important and topical issue, hosting a one-sided event without a pro-trans speaker is biased and unfair. It is a slap in the face to trans students and staff.

“In these circumstances, my speaking at the Oxford Union this week is inappropriate. I choose to stand in solidarity with the trans community.”

Earlier this week after Kathleen Stock's Q&A, the Union responded by saying:

Freedom of speech is about having critical discussions on key issues, irrespective of whether you agree with those views. Thanks to Dr Kathleen Stock and our members for engaging in that debate." 

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