The name of St Hugh’s first bop of Hilary term has been changed after a number of student complaints.
The event, originally named ‘QueerBop’, is now called ‘Express Yourself’, following a vote held on Facebook in which students approved changing the event’s name but not the whole theme. The number of complaints received against the original name has not been disclosed.
Concerns about the bop’s name centred on the belief that it referred to stereotypes and would be interpreted negatively. St Hugh’s fresher Lauren Martin criticised the original naming on Twitter by saying: “‘Queerbop’ is the worst theme ever, stereotypes LGBTQ people and is frankly disrespectful.”
Second year Law student Jake Dark voiced similar disagreement, tweeting: “It’s asking for trouble … does this mean we have to have a straight/trans/etc bop too?” Dark later suggested that the name produced “a +ive [positive] discrimination issue”, adding that he was “dressing normally cos [sic] queer people are no different”.
Many St Hugh’s undergraduates defended ‘Queerbop’, however, with Biomedicine student Jack Cooper tweeting: “Please keep Queerbop/Express yourself alive I need this.”
St Hugh’s Art student Callum Cooke expressed similar support, tweeting: “I’m sick of straight people shouting over LGBTQ+ voices.”
The event resembles Wadham’s ‘Queerfest’, an annual bop held every Michaelmas term, popular with students across the University.
St Hugh’s LGBTQ Officer Matthew Shaw also defended ‘Queerbop’, stating: “I am deeply disappointed that the queer aspect of the bop has been silenced in order to convenience people and this shows a need for more education and discussion in this area.
“Whilst I completely understand that not everyone understands the term queer or queer culture, hushing it away does not improve the situation but merely silences an important voice and damns any further notion of understanding and progress that can be made.”
Carys Williams, the college’s other LGBTQ officer, voiced similar support: “I had not personally been approached about any issues with the name and was under the impression that the St Hugh’s LGBTQ community was in favour of the original theme ‘Queerbop’.
“It was intended as a celebration of queer culture and self-expression but it has come to light that some members of the JCR felt ‘queer’ had negative connotations and was referring to stereotypes. I was disappointed that the name was changed, as I understand other colleges have held bops with the same name and/or theme without issue and I feel strongly that queer voices should not be silenced; however I would never wish for a bop or theme to make anyone feel uncomfortable so find the change of acceptable on those grounds.”
The St Hugh’s Entz Reps were unavailable for comment.