Women who challenge the transsexual agenda could be banned from speaking at the University of Bristol, after a Students’ Union vote.
So-called Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists (‘Terfs’) could be banned from speaking on campus with their views being labelled “hate speech”.
The motion was put forward by students after an event hosted by A Woman’s Place UK sought to discuss proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act.
Individual speakers have previously been banned for maintaining that feelings do not change biology, but Bristol appears to be the first Students’ Union seeking a blanket ban.
The proposed ban would render students unable to hold events with groups that critique trans activism or engage in open discussion and debate about the potential consequences of changing the law.
The SU vote was not quorate, so a further vote will be needed before the ban can become Students’ Union policy.
However, Izzy Posen, a physics and philosophy student at the University, said that the debate over whether there should be a ban had already limited free speech.
He said: “One member who tried to get up and clarify the distinction between questioning transgender orthodoxies and being transphobic had their mic switched off and was ordered off the podium.”
Posen said that truly liberal students are saddened by the “authoritarian attempts at restricting freedom and discussion”, but said they were not intimidated, and that they would fight to ensure freedom of speech at Bristol.
A University of Bristol statement said the controversy “presents an opportune time to affirm our commitment to freedom of speech and to the rights of all our students and staff to discuss difficult and sensitive topics”.
In 2015 students at Cardiff attempted to stop well-known feminist Germaine Greer from speaking – branding her views ‘transphobic’.