An artist accused of ‘transphobia’ and banned from speaking to students at a university says she is considering legal action.
Rachel Ara was due to hold fine-art workshops for students and give a presentation at Oxford Brookes University last week, but the event was postponed just hours before it was meant to start.
The university said the proper procedures for booking a speaker had not been followed, but Ara believes a complaint had been made against her by a trans activist group.
She said ‘Terfs Out Of Art’, which targets those who believe self-identification of gender threatens women’s safety, had contacted the university’s LGBTQ+ society before the event.
The society then contacted Pro Vice-Chancellor Anne-Marie Kilday, criticising the invitation.
Ara said she is considering legal action. “I was going to be talking about feminism and art, and the difficulties that exist for women trying to break through.
“It was nothing to do with trans issues. I’m not transphobic. I have been openly gay for 35 years. I think this movement is misogynistic – they are only targeting other women”.
In an article for The Scotsman, columnist Susan Dalgety, who has spent six months working in Malawi, where millions of girls do not have easy access to education, said feminists must have free speech in the dispute over trans rights.
Dalgety said: “Women and girls are discriminated against, are oppressed, indeed are slaughtered, not because of their lived identity, but because of their immutable sex.
“And to deny otherwise, as some trans activists do, is to deny the majority of the Earth’s population their basic human rights.”