Mind Your Business, Not Our Bodies: Stop Transphobic Events at UoM!

TW// Transphobia, Mental Illness

The University of Melbourne Student Union would like to express its disappointment in the University of Melbourne for its part in hosting another transphobic event on campus this semester.

UMSU has made the decision not to repeat the name of this event as to not platform it and its explicit transphobia. This event, however, is another of a series of anti-trans events hosted at the University of Melbourne that delegitimise trans identities and make our campus unsafe for all trans and gender diverse students on the University of Melbourne.

This year, the University of Melbourne introduced a freedom of speech policy that outlined freedom for those to espouse different views to create diverse discourse on campus. However, in the words of the Vice Chancellor to The Age:

“The university does not support the exercise of freedom of speech when the exercise undermines the capacity of individuals to participate fully in the university, or jeopardises the physical safety of individuals, or unreasonably disrupts activities or operations of the university.”

in UMSU’s view, this event jeopardises the capacity of people to participate in university and the safety of students.

Gender identity is not a choice. Gender identity is not a mental illness or something that can be cured. Transphobic rhetoric on campus is harmful and should be actively confronted. Student safety and inclusion, especially of our trans comrades, is the responsibility of all at in the university community.

It is even more concerning that this event is being hosted in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies. This is not the first time this year SHAPS and its staff platform transphobia. Earlier in the year, a SHAPS lecturer coordinated a panel fearmongering about the threats of trans people to women and feminism as the “end of sex-based rights”. It now appears that SHAPS has taken a role itself in platforming hatred and pathology.

UMSU calls on the university to publically condemn this event and publically reassure the university community that our campus is inclusive of all trans and gender diverse students

UMSU calls on SHAPS to publically reaffirm its commitment to fighting transphobia in the academy and its own events

UMSU encourages all students to attend an action organised by our Queer Department against this event. It will be held 4-5pm, Professors Walk in front of Arts West.

The University of Melbourne should be a place of rigorous discourse and world leading academic thought. This should not be at the expense of the safety and inclusion of an entire group of students.

Molly Willmott

UMSU President

Andie Moore

UMSU Queer Officer