Oxford SU issues statement ahead of O’Neill protest

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The Oxford SU LGBTQ+ campaign has issued an official statement in anticipation of Brendan O’Neill’s visit to the Queen’s College tonight.

It follows the organisation of a protest, scheduled for tonight at 6:30, against the decision to invite O’Neill to address an Addison Society dinner at the college.

The statement, which has been signed by representatives of several Oxford SU liberation campaigns and the LGBTQ+ Societies of both Oxford and Brookes universities, notes that the Oxford SU LGBTQ+ campaign “unequivocally oppose” the decision to invite O’Neill to speak.

“O’Neill has expressed his violently transphobic views in articles published online in Spiked and Medium”

The statement argues that “O’Neill has expressed his violently transphobic views in articles published online in Spiked and Medium” and that he also “espouses harmful views against many other structurally oppressed groups.” These include comments which allegedly trivialise homophobia and sexual harassment. Particular attention is drawn to an article written by O’Neill for the Huffington Post in October 2012 suggesting that victims of abuse by broadcaster Jimmy Savile should “keep it to themselves.”

The statement refutes the Addison Society president’s belief that inviting O’Neill is an example of giving “representation to varied political views”, instead declaring that O’Neill’s comments “do not constitute the articulation of political views, but rather hate speech.” The signatories also indicate their belief that the setting of a dinner not will allow O’Neill’s beliefs to be properly scrutinised.

Oxford SU is urging students not to attend the dinner and to attend tonight’s protest instead.