A feminist event, which many are calling transphobic, will still go ahead in Auckland, despite being banned by Massey University.
Auckland Council has moved controversial feminist group Speak Up for Women’s Feminism 2020 event next month from Studio One Toi Tū to Western Springs Garden Community Hall.
Feminism 2020 will host Canadian blogger Megan Murphy. Murphy was recently banned from Twitter for calling a trans woman ‘him’ and has been labelled a ‘TERF’ (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) for her views.
Speak Up for Women had been at the forefront of successfully fighting a proposed law in NZ which would have allowed people to ‘self ID’ as their preferred gender without the need for medical consent. They have also prominently campaigned to exclude transgender athletes from women’s sport. While their website claims the group have more broad feminist principles, these two anti-trans campaigns are the only movements listed on their Projects & Campaigns page.
A spokesperson from Auckland Council confirmed to express that the shift was requested by the council after they were “made aware that there may be protests at the event, and we wanted a safer and more appropriate place, should this happen” a spokesperson told express.
While the Council said they were aware of the controversial views of the group, they would not be banning the use of their venues to host events, however, they do “want to put on record that we do not support or endorse the views of the speakers at the event.”
“We do, however, recognise that Aucklanders hold a wide range of views on issues and that the right to free speech is protected by the Bill of Rights,” a spokesperson says.
The news comes after Massey University backtracked on allowing the same group to host an event on their Wellington campus in November.
Massey says the ban is on safety concerns, saying it has received “external advice on its health, safety and wellbeing obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and its duty of care to the university community, and has made the decision on these grounds.”
“The legal advice we have received is that cancellation of the event, as concluded by the report, is the only way to eliminate the risk to health and safety and to ensure that the University would not be in breach of its health and safety obligations,” the university said.