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“A slap in the face to trans students”: Peter Tatchell pulls out of Union pride debate in protest

Peter Tatchell, well-known political activist and LGBTQ+ rights campaigner, has pulled out of tonight’s Oxford Union debate in protest against the Union’s decision to host Kathleen Stock without a trans speaker present. 

Tatchell, who as well as founding the Peter Tatchell Foundation and direct action group ‘OutRage!’ has twice attempted a citizen’s arrest of Robert Mugabe, was meant to be speaking for the proposition in the debate “This House believes that the commercialisation of Pride has done more harm than good”. 

However, Tatchell told Cherwell that he has “somewhat reluctantly” decided to withdraw as he feels it is “inappropriate” for him to speak at the Union “this week”, as he “choose[s] to stand in solidarity with the trans community”.

Tatchell told Cherwell: “I strongly disagree with the Oxford Union giving Kathleen Stock a solo platform, without having a trans speaker to counter her viewpoint. While I am all in favour of free speech, it is not free speech when trans people are denied a voice in favour of those who want to restrict their inclusion and human rights.  

“Given that trans equality is an important and topical issue, hosting a one-sided event without a pro-trans speaker is biased and unfair. It is a slap in the face to trans students and staff.”

The Union has been contacted for comment and this article will be updated to reflect their response.

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