Statement of solidarity with Fran Cowling

[if you would like to add your name to this statement you can email solidarity.for.students@gmail.com or comment below]

We stand in solidarity with NUS LGBT+ Officer Fran Cowling and support their right to choose who they share a platform with according to their own values and beliefs. We believe fundamentally in the right to freedom of speech and association but that both of these carry with them the right to choose to neither speak nor associate with someone and Fran has every right to exercise those rights however they deem fit.

We are appalled at Peter Tatchell’s actions in dragging a dedicated, hard-working and passionate activist through an appalling media circus which has led to them receiving a torrent of vile abuse with no other apparent purpose than to salve his own ego.

We believe that whether Peter Tatchell feels he is racist or transphobic is ultimately irrelevant as none of us is best placed to be an objective judge of our own behaviour and Fran’s decision to listen to the voices of People of Colour and Trans people who have raised issues with his behaviour was the right decision for them to make and should be supported. Whilst also recognising that those opinions are not universal amongst People of Colour and Trans people, nor should there ever be expectation that they would be, because neither group is comprised of identical clones and where differing opinions exist the choice of who to side with remains with the individual.

Fran exercised their right to freedom of speech and association by declining an invitation, they in no way infringed on Peter Tatchell’s being invited to speak or attend the event on the 15th of February as is clearly evidenced by the fact that he both attended and spoke at the event. Equally, Peter Tatchell is not and has never been the subject of no-platform by any part of NUS.

We believe his claims that either of these things is the case to be deliberately misleading and gives the impression that the sole purpose of his actions has been to punish Fran for their, entirely justifiable, choice not to engage with him. In a person of his age and standing his actions seem childish in the extreme.

We offer Fran our support and solidarity and we stand in defence of their right to speak or associate (or not) with whoever they want without fear of bullying and victimisation.


Signed,

Charley Hasted – NUS LGBT+ Committee (FE Rep), Liberal Youth (Welfare and Access Co-Officer – Personal Capacity)
Sarah Noble – NUS LGBT+ Committee (Women’s Place), LGBT+ Liberal Democrats (Committee Member – Personal Capacity)
Marcus Connolly – NUS Wales LGBT+ Committee (Bi* Rep)
Aimee Challenor – Chair of LGBTIQ Greens
Tobias Wolf – Staffordshire University Students’ Union LGBT+ Network Chair
Noorulann Shahid – NUS LGBT+ Committee (Black Rep – Open place)
Rhiannon Llewellyn – NUS Disabled Students’ Campaign (FE Rep)
Anna Lee – NUS NEC, NUS Women’s Committee (Trans Rep)
Lauren Tapp
Poppy Hasted – Disability Rights Blogger
Elly Hadaway – Musician
Laura Lunn-Bates
Sasha Garwood
Lee-Anne Lawrance – LGBTIQ Greens Committee, South East Young Greens Co-Convenor, Chair and Environmental Officer at UCA Surrey Student Council
Molly Arthurs – Co-chair of Young Greens LGBTIQA and LGBTIQ Greens Campaigns Coordinator
Shelly Asquith – NUS VP for Welfare
Luke Allan – Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union LGBT+ Students Representative & NUS delegate
Nathan Windass – UBU (University of Bradford Students Union) LGBT+ Officer
Sarah Balgarnie – NUS Scotland LGBT+ Committee Member (FE Rep)
Tommy Snipe – NUS LGBT+ Committee (Open place)
Elizabeth ‘egg’ Goddard
Manishta Sunnia – E&D Coordinator for the Green Party
Mostafa Rajaai – NUS International Students’ Officer
Piers Talemacque – NUS VP for Society and Citizenship
Maddy Kirkman – NUS Disabled Students’ Officer
Alice Clark
Zach Brooks – Tennis player/ Level 2 LTA Tennis Coach
Sarah Brown
Rosie Ellingham- former LGBT rep at Bradford, LGBT youth worker
Andy Harmon – Campaigns Officer, MMU LGBT
Claire Brown
Lucy Morgan, Gender Equality Officer Newcastle
Arkady Rose – Artist
Carlus Hudson
Mahamid Ahmed – NUS Postgraduate Taught Representative
Ashley Reed – University of York Trans* Convener
Sorana Vieru – NUS VP for Higher Education
Shelly Harris – Diversity Officer, Marjon SU
Annie Cupit – LGBT Officer UoL SU
Liam D. – Trans and Bisexual Writer/Activist
Rachel O’Brien – Disabled Rep, UoB Women’s Association
C Beeson – Graduate, Royal Holloway University
Roz Kaveney
Robert Earp – Welfare Rep, UoR LGBT+
Susuana Amoah – NUS Women’s Officer
Elliott Reed – former LGBT Officer, UoN
Marc Long – LGBT+ committee, Heriot Watt Uni
Francis Myerscough – University of South Wales
Ruth Pearce
Lea Howard
Seonaid Deuchar – Honorary Life Member, University of Nottingham SU/ Ex-Comms Manager UoN Feminists
Lani Baird – SEC Member, NUS Scotland/ Queen Margaret University
Mark Newman
Sean Nicol
Jennifer Krase
Nathan Cox
Indigo Wilde – Oxford University
Connie Wilkinson – LGBT+ Officer, Bradford College SU
Elliot Folan – Chair of the UEA SU LGBT+ Caucus
Malia Bouattia – NUS Black Students Officer
Matt Broomfield – journalist, current City University student, former Oxford University student
Adam Ladley
Stuart Nayton
Amrit Singh – Freedom Without Fear Platform
Alison Phipps – Director of Gender Studies, Sussex University
James Motteram – Former Comms Manager UoN Feminists
Lily-Rose Lenton – Lay Student Counsellor, Northumbria Students Union
Lucas North – University of York Trans* Convenor, Goodricke College JCRC Officer
Jasper Williams – Bangor University transgender student representative
Catherine Kelly – OUSU LGBTQ Officer
Kevin O’Neill – Founder, Bears Against Bigotry (Personal Capacity)
Natalie James – Women’s Officer, UCLU
Krissie Pearse
J Smith – Equality Rep for Northumbria Students Union
Stef Newton
Fiona Wood – Disabled Student’s Chair, Staffordshire University
Morgan Hale – Trans Rep, NUS LGBT+ Committee
Kai Williams-Dowell, Equalities Officer for Sexuality, UoL LGBTQA+
Cameron North-Bates
Davide Bertelli – UPSU (Plymouth) VP International and Outreach
John Band – former LGBT officer, Merton (Oxford)
Chris Hubley – Artist/Activist
Afton Tock
ACT UP London
Felix O’Connor
Joanna Gower, Durham LGBT+ Association President
Tara Hewitt
Karen Aitchison
Heather Armstrong – NUS Scotland Disabled Students Officer
Dorian Stripe – Disabled Students Officer, University of Manchester Student’s Union
Jess Bradley – Action for Trans Health – Director
Loz Webb – Action for Trans Health – Director
Rohan Beck – Action for Trans Health Manchester
Seb Symons – Queer of the Unknown
Joanne Mason
João Florêncio
Helen Combie
Zelda Violet Star
Alice Bradnack
Lucy Curry – University of Exeter, Trans and LGBT+ NUS delegate, Liberation Officer, VP FemSoc
Wil Jarvis – Welfare and Diversities Officer of Exeter University Green Party Society
Rachael Melhuish – Cardiff University Student Union’s Women’s Officer & NUS Wales Women’s Committee
Jake John Ellis

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Statement of solidarity with Fran Cowling