QMU president invites LGBT rights campaigner ‘no platformed’ by the NUS to speak at union

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Rhys Harper
Online Editor

The president of the Queen Margaret Union has extended an invitation to Peter Tatchell, in response to the National Union of Student’s alleged ‘no-platforming’ of the veteran LGBT rights campaigner. The NUS drew widespread criticism last week after Peter Tatchell was perceived to have been blacklisted by the NUS following their LGBT officer Fran Cowling’s refusal to share a platform with the campaigner. Her refusal was a response to his comments critiquing the rise of ‘no-platforming’ in NUS-affiliated student unions. Tatchell had publicly opposed the implementation of ‘no-platforming’ policies against feminist speakers deemed transphobic.

Sefton told The Glasgow Guardian: “Peter Tatchell has been a campaigner for human rights for almost half a century, risking arrests and violence in service of the fight for basic rights and equality.”

“By contrast, the NUS is an expensive and embarrassing organisation packed full of unaccountable officers dedicated to the service of their own political careers, whose lack of self-awareness serves to undermine the political voice of students across the United Kingdom. NUS officer Fran Cowling has every right to choose not to share a platform with Peter Tatchell. No one is forcing her to. But accusing one of Britain’s foremost campaigners for equality of being transphobic or racist is a bit ridiculous.”

“In light of this, as we approach the end of LGBTQ+ History Month, it seemed appropriate to me to extend an invitation to Peter to visit the University of Glasgow, a campus which remains proudly committed to minority rights and which has repeatedly voted against joining the NUS. Unfortunately on doctor’s orders Peter has been encouraged to cut down on his public engagements but he expressed his gratitude for our invite and message of support and we wish him all the best in his ongoing campaign against racism, transphobia, misogyny and homophobia/biphobia.”

Neither the Queen Margaret Union nor any student body at the University of Glasgow is currently a member of thus National Union of Students.