The president of the University of Oxford’s LGBTQ+ society has received horrifying death threats amidst escalating protests surrounding the invitation of “gender critic” Kathleen Stock to speak at the Oxford Union. Since the announcement of her appearance in April, LGBTQ+ students who oppose Stock’s views have faced relentless harassment from anti-trans individuals.
Amiad Haran Diman, known as Addi, the president of the Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society, expressed deep concern over the threats they had received. While they were expecting such a reaction, the actual receipt of the threat was chilling and alarming for Diman, a DPhil student in politics.
The threatening letter, which Diman shared on Twitter, contained vile messages warning the president to “watch [their] back” and predicting a “backlash against Transgender” in countries accepting LGB individuals. Thames Valley Police have been notified, and an investigation into the death threat is currently underway.
Diman commented on the death threat, highlighting the hostile environment trans activists currently face in the UK. The level of violence and abuse experienced by LGBTQ+ members in the city is unprecedented, leaving the local community and student society deeply shocked.
The backlash against LGBTQ+ individuals has been exacerbated by what Diman described as the “cynical exploitation by the media to stoke the cultural war.” The president emphasized the chilling effect it has on the community and the indication that the UK remains a hostile environment for LGBTQ+ people.
In response to the threatening letter, Kathleen Stock, through her official Twitter account, condemned the act and called for a reconsideration of the decision to defame her. She urged for respectful and responsible discussion based on accurate representation of her beliefs.
The Oxford Union, the esteemed debating society of the University of Oxford, faced criticism for inviting Stock as part of its Trinity Term card. LGBTQ+ students swiftly condemned the decision, citing Stock’s trans-exclusionary views. The OULGBTQ+ Society expressed dismay and appalled by the Union’s choice, accusing it of disregarding the welfare of its LGBTQ+ members under the pretext of free speech.
In an attempt to address concerns, the Oxford Union announced that it would provide welfare resources and support during the talk for students impacted by Stock’s views. However, several colleges, including St St Edmund Hall, Mansfield, Christ Church, St Anne’s, and St Hilda’s, passed motions condemning Stock’s appearance on campus.
With Stock’s speech scheduled for the end of May, students at the university are preparing to protest the event. This protest will also serve as a platform to launch Oxford Trans+ Pride, an event aiming to celebrate trans individuals in Oxford while taking a firm stand against Stock’s views.
The controversy surrounding Kathleen Stock’s invitation to the Oxford Union and the subsequent death threats received by the president of the Oxford LGBTQ+ Society have once again sparked intense debates about free speech, the well-being of marginalized communities, and the need for respectful dialogue in academic settings.