Mid-week saw a Twitter tumult following transphobic Tweets made by Cambridge’s own Green Party candidate, Rupert Read. His incendiary comment questioning the use of ‘cisgender’ as the opposite of transgender appeared to undermine the validity of trans people’s gender: “the attempt 2 force everyone 2 use the term ‘cis’ troubles me. Many feminists of course share this senseofbeingtroubled at this.” He has now issued an apology, “unreservedly for any offence caused”, but naturally many feel it is too little too late. What is most worrying is that he is not unique in his transphobic comments. It seems to be ignorance and lack of understanding that fuels the fire of transphobia, perhaps more needs to be done to educate and raise awareness.
The Cambridge Union Society’s invitation to Germaine Greer has ignited impassioned protest in light of her trans-ignorant opposition to Newnham College’s appointment of a trans-woman Fellow. Whilst Dr Rachael Padman, the target of Greer’s resistance told Varisty, “I hope the Union will give Germaine a fair hearing, but of course robustly interrogate her, as befits the academic community that is Cambridge”, aggravation rages on and there is set to be a boycott of the Union’s weekly LBGT+ drinks indefinitely.
Damon Jonah Kelly, the sinister ‘monk’ who, over the past year, has harassed the letter-boxes of Cambridge and surrounding areas with his fire-and-brimstone homophobic hate mail will now not face charges. Despite his vicious, bellicose, horrifying accusations that the ‘cult’ of homosexuality cultivates ‘neurosis’, Kelly will not so much as receive an ASBO. According to the Crown Prosecution Service, “while these leaflets were ill-informed and caused offence to members of the community targeted by this individual, they did not cross the high criminal threshold for prosecution under current legislation.” He has been warned, however, that should he be caught distributing any more leaflets further investigations will ensue.
Proposals to build the first LGBT+ School in Manchester confront challenge from the launch of a petition on change.org in the name of ‘equality for all’ in education. Plans to set up a school for young people identifying as LGBT+ have been criticised as counterintuitive for the aim of integration and equality. Elishna O’Donovan, a second year student at Newnham College, raises her concern: “for a community that fights so hard to be seen as equal by all, the idea of creating this school appalls me! Not only would it put clear targets on the heads of every one of those children, but it would also spread the message that segregation is the solution AND that we ought to make our sexuality our identity. The fight for LGBT+ recognition may not be over, but this is not the way to go about it.” At the end of the day, we need to decide whether we want integration or segregation.