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By Amber Randall
A gay group at Oxford University unsuccessfully tried to ban a British commentator from their campus, because she once questioned whether a man who transitions to a woman is a “real” woman.
The school’s LGBTQ Society tried to prevent Jenni Murray, the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, from delivering a Sunday talk at the Oxford Literary Festival, reports The Daily Mail. The society circulated a petition that called for Murray to be condemned or removed from the event because of her comments on transgender women they deemed offensive.
Murray suggested that transgender women are not the same as women in a piece she was criticized for in March. Her article, “Be trans, be proud — but don’t call yourself a ‘real woman’,” questioned whether men who transitioned to women could really understand what it means to be a woman.
“India held firmly to her belief that she was a ‘real woman,’ ignoring the fact that she had spent all of her life before her transition enjoying the privileged position in our society generally accorded to a man,” Murray wrote.
She ended up giving the talk in spite of the group’s protest.
“To give Murray a speaking position at a large and prestigious event like the Oxford Literary Festival, which involves paying her an author fee of £150, is to both endorse and reward her transphobic views,” the group said. “Transmisogyny will be propagated, validated and above all normalized.”
The university released a statement on the situation, saying they stood by both free speech and their transgender students. “Oxford is committed to supporting transgender students and staff and to providing an inclusive environment that promotes equality and diversity,” the school said. “We are also committed to freedom of expression.”