Queer Question Time is a joint event which is now held with the Union Debating Society but as an event dates to at least 2007, well before Saints LGBT+ was a subcommittee. Although it was unfortunate that only two of our speakers were able to attend, I will maintain that all in all the event was a success. We were able to hear from two influential members of the LGBT+ community who provided interesting commentary on current affairs and debates within the movement. However, whilst we did reach out to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, the date was set in May and some individuals were unable to attend.
As the article mentions, during the event a group of individuals made some unsettling comments. These individuals were not members of the University nor residents of St Andrews. Upon further investigation on social media, we believe their intent was to target our speakers with inflammatory and discriminatory comments.
We believe that dialogue surrounding certain issues is very important in the democratic process, particularly at a University. However, there should never be a debate on the validity of anyone’s identity nor should there be acceptance of behaviours that seek to intimidate or bully someone on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. The Saints LGBT+ is dedicated to being an open and inclusive group for everyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. As a subcommittee we have a duty to be inclusive to every student of the University, and as such we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Transgender and Non-Binary identities are not open to debate and transphobia has no place at our events.
The main point I would like to make and something the article points out, is that the comments regarding the Gender Recognition Act Consultation made by those individuals were simply false. The UK government has opened consultation on the Gender Recognition Act, following the consultation done earlier this year by the Scottish government. Although it’s interesting to talk about the event itself, it takes away from the bigger issue of equality. The Gender Recognition Act governs how trans and non-binary people are recognised, and the consultation allows for the opportunity of a reform so that non-binary identities can be legally recognized.
This means that there is no medical diagnosis or presentation of evidence for trans people to get their identity legally recognized and allows for all trans and non-binary people, including those aged 16 and 17, the right to self-determination. I would like to urge everyone to fill out the Gender Recognition Act consultation before it closes on October 19th. Stonewall has a fantastic guide and more information on the consultation which you can find on the Stonewall UK website by searching for Stonewall GRA. You can also stop by the Main Bar on Wednesday from 1:30-4:00 where Saints LGBT+ will be helping people fill out the consultation. You can find out more information on the Saints LGBT+ Facebook Page.