All copies of the St Johns Gender Equality Festival zine have been doctored to ensure that a controversial article cannot be read.
Following criticism from trans campaigners and others in the LGBTQ community, the festival committee have glued together the pages on which the article was printed, and is alleged to have tried to limit the distribution of the publication.
Written by former Magdalen JCR LGBTQ rep Elsa Field, the article in question, entitled ‘What is a woman?’, has come under fire for alleged transphobia. The Festival committee has since apologised “unreservedly” for its inclusion in the zine.
In addition to reports that pages have been glued together in the zines, students at St John’s report that the zines were “forbidden from leaving the College”.
Flora Sheldon, chair of the St John’s Gender Equality Festival committee, denied this was the case, stating: “We had 300 copies of the zine and they were all distributed at all of our events, and they were absolutely not ‘banned’ from leaving St John’s.”
Sheldon also explained the reasoning behind the gluing of the pages: “The pages of the zine were glued together as we do not agree with platforming views in our zine that contribute to a culture of oppression and fear, even in a situation where the publication was trying to remain neutral.
“We did not think it fair to penalise other contributors of our zine as their work was fantastic, and we were very grateful for their hard work and contributions.”
This move by the committee, however, has not been met favourably in all quarters.
One student at Wadham, who asked to remain anonymous, questioned the integrity of the committee’s actions, telling the OxStu: “It’s a bit rich of the committee to try and pretend that the article was never written – they should take responsibility for the fact it was published in the first place, rather than rather ham-fistedly trying to make people forget about it.”