Updated: Saturday, 8th August 2020 @ 9:26am

'Transphobic' feminist activist pulls out of porn industry debate after RAPE THREATS from Manchester students

'Transphobic' feminist activist pulls out of porn industry debate after RAPE THREATS from Manchester students

Exclusive by Edward Roberts

A feminist activist was forced to pull out of a debate on the porn industry at a Manchester university after allegedly receiving RAPE THREATS from students.

Julie Bindel, co-founder of Justice for Women, was due to join the Fresher’s Week debate next week – but her prescence met fierce backlash from students who accuse her of being ‘transphobic’.

Transphobia is a negative attitude towards transsexualism or transgender people.

Students from across Manchester and members of the trans community took to social networks to protest against her role at the event.

Some bombarded the feminist activist, 51, with death threats and hate mail.

“I felt I did not want to receive any more rape and death threats,” said Ms Bindel.

 “One threat from a trans protester at Manchester is so creepy and frightening I have been forced to report it to the police”.

A journalist for The Guardian, Bindel’s views have created a stir in the LGBT community for over a decade.

Controversial comments made throughout her career have included questioning whether a sex-change operation constitutes gender change, and promoting transgender as social rather than biological.

Students from around Manchester publically retaliated to Ms Bindel’s invitation to the event by demanding the debate committee remove her. Most argued that her presence would contradict the university’s stance on creating a safe and comfortable environment.

The Debate Union have strongly defended their decision to invite Ms Bindel. They argued her views on transgender were irrelevant as the debate is on the porn industry.

Jack Mellish, 19, is the Externals Officer for the Debate Union. He said: “Are we providing a platform for hate speech? I say no. Ms Bindel is not coming to speak about trans issues, she is coming because she is an important voice in the opposition of pornography from a feminist perspective.

“We are here to help serve the student body, and we would never act in a way that we feel would make students feel unsafe on campus.”

International student Marijn Ceelen has peacefully opposed Bindel’s invite to the event over recent weeks.

“The problem Bindel poses is that she was given a platform to speak about these issues and that she could potentially express her bigoted views on trans people, potentially harming the mental health of our trans students and of their allies,” she said.

Like many students Miss Ceelen took to social media to criticise the debate organisers for including Ms Bindel. She described how she wanted to maintain that most students were not aggressive in their tactics.

“I do not approve of death threats in any way. Just because I do not want her to speak on our campus, does not mean I want to silence her or censor her, I just believe that her opinions have no positive outcome on campus,” she said.

Henry Phipps, Chairman of the Debate Union, disclosed Ms Bindel’s pulling out.

He said: The Manchester Debating Union would like to state that we respect and support the right of people to engage in peaceful protest.

"We would also like to thank those who expressed their legitimate concerns about this event in a constructive manner. However we completely condemn those who seek to shut down debate, through threats and intimidation. This behaviour is utterly unjustified, and diminishes the cause that these activists seek to enhance."

Ms Bindel co-founded the charity Justice for Women in 1990. The organisation supports women who have attacked or killed their male partners due to domestic violence.

She makes various public appearances throughout the year without facing such opposition. A Debate Union representative confirmed that this was the first time in several years that a guest debater had received such hostility.

The debate will continue as planned on September 19.

Lucy-Anne Holmes, the founder of the No More Page 3 campaign, will still be present. The event is open to students from across Manchester.

MM will be talking to Ms Bindel about the why she pulled out of the debate later today - check back for our in-depth follow-up.

Image courtesy of Sky News via YouTube, with thanks.

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