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23 Nov, 2017 09:01

Fear of offending trans people ruining healthy debate, says radical feminist

Fear of offending trans people ruining healthy debate, says radical feminist

A radical feminist has accused public institutions of “reprehensible cowardliness” after being no-platformed by university students at King’s College London. Heather Brunskell-Evans was due to deliver a speech on pornography and female sexuality.

The research fellow at King’s College London (KCL), who is also a spokeswoman for the Women’s Equality Party, had her speech cancelled amid concerns it would breach the institution’s “safe space” policy. It was called off after she was quizzed on the Moral Maze show, a Radio 4 series, on the definition of gender, along with two transgender activists and a psychotherapist.

Questioning school and youth groups’ policy of encouraging children to define themselves as trans if they feel such, Brunskell-Evans told The Times that KCL students cancelled her speech amid concerns her views on “transgender health ... would violate the student union’s ‘Safe Space’ policy.”

The Women’s Equality Party confirmed that it is investigating Brunskell-Evans, who is their spokesperson on violence against women and girls. “The party has not silenced or sanctioned the subject of the complaint in any way. We are reviewing a complaint, in line with our constitution,” it said.

Brunskell-Evans said: “There’s something very dark going on. People who were male are now in the Women’s Equality Party, dictating what the party spokeswoman should say on issues affecting women and girls. You could not write this.

“The cowardliness of institutional response is more than reprehensible. No one will speak out. Good people are standing back, doing nothing, as others get pilloried.

"Organizations and individuals are petrified to be seen as taking any other view than unequivocally endorsing transgender doctrine. It’s truly shocking.

“How has the trans lobby become so powerful that people, including those medical practitioners about to be qualified in the specific field of sexual and reproductive health, are unwilling to tolerate a talk from me on another topic?”

She added: “Truly, this language of violation and safe space is worthy of Orwell’s doublethink.”

Alexandra Tate, president of the Reproductive and Sexual Health Society, said the event had been cancelled as the concerns had been raised with short notice.

“We will endeavour to continue to host speakers whose opinions differ from convention, but in the future we will make sure measures are in place to allow them to be explored safely. We apologize to Dr Brunskell-Evans that we didn’t get these sorted in time for this event.”