The Oxford University LGBTQ Society, the Oxford SU LGBTQ Campaign and the Oxford SU Women’s Society have publicly condemned the Oxford University History Society’s decision to host Dame Jenni Murray on the topic of “Powerful British Women in History and Society” on Saturday 17th of November. Murray has since pulled out of the talk for “personal reasons”.
Murray has been accused of making transphobic comments. For example, telling trans women that “it takes more than a sex change and makeup” to be a “real woman”. Murray has stated that trans people “should be treated with respect” but the signatories of the statement argue that “she has silenced her critics by alleging that trans women are ‘misogynistic’ for pointing out transphobia in feminist discourse”.
Oxford SU LGBTQ+ campaign believe that “inviting publicly transphobic speakers to the university, without challenge, further marginalises and unnecessarily compromises the welfare of trans students and staff”.
The statement continues: “Her views, which clearly reflect a lack of engagement with the vast majority of actual trans people, and are in sum deeply harmful to trans women and trans feminine people, contributing to and exacerbating the harassment, marginalisation, discrimination, and violence that they already face.
“As Campaigns and Societies working with and for trans students at the University of Oxford, we are particularly disappointed in Oriel College’s complicity in hosting the event in their lecture theatre. Enabling such a transphobic speaker to come to Oxford and disseminate her views shows a considerable disregard for the welfare and existence of trans students”.
The statement concludes by urging “the University of Oxford to make a public statement condemning the decision to offer Murray such a prestigious platform” and calls for the event to be cancelled.
When approached for comment the President of the History Society referred The Oxford Student to the disclaimer on the talk’s Facebook event which states: “Jenni Murray was invited for her prominent role as presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, as well as for her historical writings. As a society we condemn any transphobia and do not necessarily endorse the views of our speakers”.