Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi MP protested at Warwick University over anti-trans rhetoric

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The MP is reported to have had to ‘flee’ the campus after being ‘branded’ a transphobe. This after Nadhim Zahawi using transphobic dogwhistles and targeting children with transphobic policy.

Nadhim Zahawi has been protested at Warwick University by a group of pro-trans activists. They held signs, allegedly banged on doors and chanted about things like Nadhim Zahawi’s use of phrases like “adult human female”. A known anti-trans dogwhistle.

However the group involved claim they stayed “well away” from the doors, which I’m told had security at them anyway. They say they played music and chanted, including chants like “tory scum”, “trans liberation now” and “trans existence is resistance”.

Nadhim Zahawi launched himself to the attention of trans communities after repeated media spots where he targeted our marginalised community. We wrote about him on Writes, covering the comments he gave regarding transgender children and outing them to their parents. A move which many in the community describe as opening those children up to abuse, as schools cannot know which parents will be supportive or not.

Multiple separate groups appear to have been in attendance to oppose Nadhim Zahawi being invited to speak on campus. Warwick Pride attempted to attend the event with “limited success”, with some being turned away on the door despite having tickets to get in. They have been bombarded with abuse and harassment to the point of having to lock their official Twitter account, but they didn’t even organise or take part in the protest outside.

In addition to the above group Trans Writes has also received reports that members from Warwick Anti-Sexism Society, Warwick Labour, and Warwick Marxists attended and opposed Nadhim Zahawi’s speaking event, with Trans Action Warwick having organised the protest.

Trans Action Warwick seem to only have a presence on Instagram where they released the following press statement;

Tory secretary of education Nadhim Zahawi is coming to warwick tomorrow for a talk held by the Conservative society.

Zahawi has supported the Womens Declaration International’s call for the legal elimination of transgender people, as well as the use of conversion therapy on trans youth. In his role as education secretary he has worked on guidance to force the outing of trans youth to their parents, which can have dire consequences. He has also sought the criminalization of Palestinian activism and protest.

As part of a national programme opposed to queer existence that seeks violence against the expression of genderqueerness, the actions of Zahawi, his party and the Warwick conservatives will incite and will continue to incite hatred against trans, queer and other minority students.

In an increasingly hostile climate against trans people, the importance of coming together to oppose those that weaponise transphobia is paramount. It is neither rights nor acceptance that delivers liberation but instead direct action and resistance as mutual aid.

Join us at 6:45 tomorrow.

Trans Action Warwick is not affiliated with any society at Warwick.

‘Free speech warriors’ across the internet, such as Toby Young, have chimed in bemoaning protest as somehow being antithetical to the concept of free speech. I am yet to see anyone address how this protest would not be an act of free speech itself, or how acting to control and prevent that wouldn’t be anti-free speech. This as campus ‘free speech’ legislation looms on the horizon.

Zahawi’s targeting of our community, alongside numerous other Conservative officials, marks a change in the government approach to transgender people. No longer do they simply pretend we don’t exist, they instead acknowledge our existence and the controversy surrounding it. Seeking to weaponise that for their own purposes.

The Conservative government in the UK are determined to push forwards on using transgender people as a wedge issue in order to distract from their incompetence. They are fanning the flames of the culture war so that you forget the thousands of our family members who died alone and in agony as they lapped up the luxuries in parties while paying their mates millions of your money to invariably do a terrible job of providing basics like PPE to hospitals.

Here at Trans Writes we support the actions taken by these groups. Transphobia should be protested, it shouldn’t be allowed to pass its self off as respectable or tolerable in a democratic society.

Gemma Stone
Gemma Stone is a transgender writer who has been covering the rise of transphobic hate campaigning in the UK. She has written hundreds of articles dissecting aspects of transphobia including debunking blatant disinformation. She is very tired and trying her best, and hopefully having a positive impact on such a beautiful community.

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