The anti-trans group ‘Speak up for Women’ is holding an event at Massey University, which promotes and advocates for the removal of human rights and legal protections from trans people. Trans people are a severely stigmatised, disadvantaged, and discriminated against population, that experiences some of the highest rates of violence including sexual violence in Aotearoa NZ. This is unacceptable.
In their LGBTQI+ policy, Massey University says:
Massey University is Rainbow Tick certified. This achievement confirms our commitment to the Rainbow community, and to provide a safe and inclusive environment for its members.
All staff and students need to feel comfortable being their whole-self, and to work and study without fear of harassment or discrimination. We’re committed to equal opportunities for all, regardless of your:
- gender identity
- marital status
- religious belief
- ethnic or national origin
- political opinion
- employment or family status
- sexual orientation.
Hosting a known anti-trans extremist group is in direct opposition to this commitment.
The activism of Speak up for Women is entirely based on removal of human rights for trans people, who suffer from extremely high rates of stigma, sexual violence, and discrimination across housing, healthcare, education, employment, access to goods and services, and all other areas of public life. This stigma, discrimination, and harassment results in minority stress and suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and deaths, at greatly elevated levels compared with the general population [Counting Ourselves, 2019].
Massey University must take action to prevent harm toward trans students, staff members, and members of society.
This week the High Court backed the Auckland Council’s decision to cancel a booking for far-right speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff saying that the right to free speech did not include the right to a platform, and that “These individuals who want to incite hatred against others are, in my view, not welcome here.”
Rainbow Tick Acting President Martin King said Massey University’s Rainbow Tick status would likely be reviewed if it allowed the anti-trans conference to go ahead.
Massey Wellington Students Association is calling for the event to be cancelled. It has penned a petition, saying ”By providing a platform for a hate group to speak on our campus, Massey University is putting ‘freedom of speech’ over the safety of its staff and students. This petition has gained over 1,300 signatures in just 5 hours. You can sign the petition here.