PresCom has released a letter stating its condemnation of “the University and History Faculty for supporting transphobia” and that they “are extremely disappointed that the University continues to fail its transgender students.”

The letter focused on Oxford’s £20,000 payment to Woman’s Place UK and the 2018 Trans Report which “found that 98% of trans students had experienced mental health problems at Oxford”. The letter goes on to explore the connection between these two stating “there is a clear link between discrimination and mental health issues, and a very alarming crisis in mental health for trans students at Oxford.”

The payment of the £20,000 itself was for consultancy work to support research into a project titled “The Political Erasure of Sex” which “protests the use of gender identity, rather than sexual identity”. To read more about the project itself, please see this article.

Included in their letter, PresCom cited the history of WPUK’s various campaigns for projects “that actively discriminate against transgender individuals, for example, they advocate for a ban on transgender individuals using the bathrooms that correctly align with their gender rather than their sex assigned at birth.”

PresCom further elaborated on the history of this group and Oxford: “The University has been criticised on numerous occasions for hosting WPUK and providing a platform for the organisation to lobby their transphobic views.”

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This letter comes after one released by the SU LGBTQ+ Campaign (more information on this letter can be found here). Pierce Jones, on behalf of PresCom, said to Cherwell: “It isn’t just the job of trans and LGBTQ+ students to speak out about the discrimination they face. As elected student representatives, we have a duty to represent the trans members of our Common Rooms like we do any other student.”

Towards the end of the letter itself they stated that ‘it is extremely concerning that the University is willing to fund projects that contribute towards the discrimination of transgender individuals and promote a culture which erases their identity but fails to fund resources to tackle the crisis in mental health taking place amongst the trans community of Oxford.’

Cherwell has reached out to the University for comment.

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