STATEMENT REGARDING EXTERNAL SPEAKER NADHIM ZAHAWI [25-05-2022]
- [Statement was published on Warwick Pride's Social Media, including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, on 25-05-2022]
- 🏳️⚧️ STATEMENT REGARDING EXTERNAL SPEAKER NADHIM ZAHAWI 🏳️⚧️
- TW: Transphobia, SA, abuse, homelessness
- It has been brought to our attention over the past few weeks that the Warwick Conservative Association is running an external speaker event, inviting Nadhim Zahawi, the Conservative Secretary of State for Education, to campus on Friday the 27th of May.
- Towards the beginning of this academic year Nadhim Zahawi said the following regarding former Sussex University Professor Kathleen Stock, a notorious transphobe that is a signatory to the WDI (Women's Declaration International formerly known as the WHRC) "Declaration on Women's Sex-Based Rights", that published the transphobic book "Material Girls", that is a trustee of the LGB Alliance:
- “It was unacceptable that a scholar of her calibre should be hounded out of university. For me that was just a terrible stain on the history of that great university.”
- The WDI declaration argues for the legal elimination of transgender people. Quite frankly, Kathleen Stock's behaviour as well as the university's reaction is the only real "stain" on Sussex University concerning this incident.
- Zahawi plays a significant role in institutional transphobia as education secretary for the UK, working alongside the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) to produce guidelines for schools and teachers on how they should treat trans students.
- Concerning Zahawi's view on trans students, he said the following:
- "Parents have to be front and centre of this. And that is my message to the front line is to say: you have to involve parents in this. You have a duty to safeguard those children and parents are very much part of that."
- Zahawi trivialises the detrimental impact of outing LGBTQUIA+ youth to their parents; he is putting them at risk of abuse and homelessness.
- According to the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness Report (2021):
- -One in 6 (16%) who were happy to answer were forced to do sexual acts against their will by family members before becoming homeless
- -Almost two thirds (61%) who were happy to answer felt frightened or threatened by their family members before they became homeless
- -Half (50%) who were happy to answer said they feared expressing their LGBTQ+ identity to family members would lead to them being evicted
- Zahawi has also made very concerning comments regarding corporal punishment and has made other transphobic remarks such as using the common transphobic dog-whistle "adult human female".
- This external speaker event clearly violates SU by-laws on Equality and Diversity, however, we cannot fault the SU for its inaction regarding our complaint about this event. Nadhim Zahawi being a government minister clearly puts them in a complex position if they were to cancel the external speaker event. However the notion that Zahawi does not incite hatred is ludicrous at best.
- On Friday some Warwick Pride Exec plan to attend this external speaker event, attending with trans flags and the intention to ask Zahawi questions concerning the rights of trans people in the UK. Despite it being exam season, we would greatly appreciate it if you could join us. The tickets are free to all university students and can be easily accessed from the SU website.
- “There is strong evidence that minorities experience greater levels of stress when their rights are being debated” - Dr Adam Jowett, the chair of the British Psychological Society’s Sexualities Section.
- Given that transphobia is omnipresent in society, it is imperative for the mental well-being of trans students that the university make itself clear that it is indeed supportive of transgender individuals, and that reactionary harmful transphobic rhetoric will not go unopposed.
- Trans rights are simply not up for debate, they are non-negotiable.
- Warwick Pride, the LGBTQUIA+ Association
- Warwick Pride does not condone any violent behaviour, especially relating to this event, and any acts of violence at this event are discouraged and not to be affiliated with us.
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