The wrong kind of union

The Mancunion reports on the censorious Student Union, quoting from a public Facebook post that is no longer available on Facebook:

In a blog post on her official Facebook page, Women’s Officer Jess Lishak said: “The proposed society event requested to invite two highly controversial and offensive speakers; radical feminist and famous transphobe Julie Bindel, and journalist and ‘men’s rights activist’ Milo Yiannopoulos.”

What a foul way to talk – “famous transphobe.”

“We unanimously decided to not allow Julie Bindel to be invited to speak at an official SU event. We also approved the request for Milo Yiannopoulos on the provisos that, should the event go ahead, there will be extra security put in place for everyone’s safety.

“Julie Bindel is a journalist and activist who’s been on a crusade against the trans community, and trans women in particular, for many years. She abhorrently argues that trans women should be excluded from women-only spaces, whether that be through feminist organising or women’s sexual and domestic violence services.”

She says she “refuse[s] to allow our campus to be poisoned by this woman’s tireless campaign to deny trans people their basic human rights and… to subject our students to a campus that puts Bindel’s wish to spread and incite hatred above the safety and inclusion of our trans members.

“This is not about shutting down conversations or denying free speech; this is about keeping our students safe,” she says. “If this were about silencing people we happen to disagree with or avoiding uncomfortable conversations, we would be denying the application for Milo Yiannopoulos to speak.

“The difference in these two cases is inciting harm to a group of our students. Yiannopoulos is very careful to criticise feminist thoughts, theories and methods of research or statistics rather than calling for active discrimination against women like Bindel does to trans women.”

You have got to be kidding. Yiannopoulos incites actual harassment of actual women on Twitter every day. Julie Bindel doesn’t do anything resembling that.

In 2013, Bindel dropped out of an event organised by the Manchester Debating Union on pornography after receiving a number of death threats.

She came under continual fire after writing an article in 2004 expressing doubt about the experiences of trans individuals titled ‘Gender benders, beware‘.

She is included on the NUS’s no platform list, alongside George Galloway, Julian Assange, and any member of the BNP.

So the national Student Union has an official list? And Bindel is on it?

That’s appalling.

A trans woman commented on the Manchester SU post in support of Bindel.

I’m going to go out on a limb as a transwoman. I’ve met Julie at an event and engaged with her at length and I’m totally comfortable and happy doing so. I actually don’t find her views transphobic at all – women centred, and gender critical of course, but not transphobic. I’ve learnt a lot from Julie and women like her, and this no-platforming, i.e. censorship is totally Orwellian.

So is that comment also “abhorrent”?

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