Anti trans-discrimantion groups recorded a victory this week as Massey Universityhave been pressured into canning Feminism 2020.
As reported two weeks ago here in Craccum, Massey were planning to host the controversial panel event promoted by Speak Up for Women, an organization with a history of speaking out against gender self-identification. The event promised attendees the opportunity to meet “the feminist [speakers] [society] don’t want you to hear uncensored.”
Heavy backlash was reported surrounding the event, among which included Kiwi organization Rainbow Tick and university queer rights advocates UniQ, who urged Massey to reconsider their lenient stance on the event, which they felt posed risks to the safety of Massey’s transgender constituents.
In a statement last week, the university recognized the event posed a “risk of potential harm that may impact upon a particularly vulnerable community,” and after seeking external legal advice, made the decision to inform event organizers to hire a venue elsewhere.
‘[This is] the only way to eliminate the risk to health and safety and to ensure that the University would not be in breach of its health and safety obligations.”
This is an emphatic turnaround from Massey, whom last month defended the event as free speech, and thereby its existence on campus. They had pledged that proceeds from venue hire would have gone towards a “sexual or gender-diverse group”, and that the campus would have been decorated “pro-rainbow” leading up to the event.
Part of the action instigating this change was a 6000 word petition delivered earlier this month to the university’s Vice Chancellor, spearheaded by Massey’s student association. “Our trans students are being put in direct danger,” says the petition page, “and we only see this getting worse if this event is not cancelled.”
A representative from Massey Students Against Transphobia described himself as over the moon with the news of the cancellation. “For the students it wasn’t a case of free speech, it was a case of feeling unsafe on campus.”
Meanwhile, event organizers Speak Up for Women are disappointed with the university’s decision, and even more so at the fact they feel they’ve been antagonized by the media. “We aren’t the boogie man monsters that [we’ve] been portrayed [as being].”