Following the open letter from Reading Pride, Club F.O.D. and SupportU to the University, our subsequent statement, and concerns raised with our officer teams from our students, we want to be very clear on why do not believe this talk should go ahead in its current format.
We must ask the question, why do some people think that conversion therapy, for any group of people, would be a good thing?
Identifying as part of the LGBTQIA+ community is a part of an individual’s identity – conversion therapy denies the existence of an individual’s identity¹.
Conversion therapy is wrong. Throughout history, events have occurred that have targeted specific groups of people for their identity and cost people their lives². We now look at these events with disgust; when will individuals stop targeting groups of people for their identity? The University seems to not be stopping this and is continuing to platform transphobic events to the extent by where it is becoming known as a transphobic institution. This goes against one of the very core values of which the University promotes, community. An environment in which individuals do not feel safe is not a strong, inclusive community.
This talk falls in the wake of the Government’s recent U-turn³ to drop banning conversion therapy for gender.
Again, we want to reassure you, our members, that we are here for you, whatever your views. We’d welcome discussion and want to create safe spaces for all our students to be able to have open conversation. We would encourage you to read around this topic, have conversations, and do your own learning so you can decide how to respond, if you would like to.
We welcome all opinions on this matter, and we would like to share any feedback with the Vice Chancellor and the University. Please do email email@example.com (by Thursday morning) with anything you would like added to this conversation. We’re particularly keen to hear about this has impacted you, your student experience and your sense of belonging at the University of Reading.
If you are intending to protest in response to the talk today, we would ask that you do so peacefully to minimise disruption to exams.
From your full-time officer team,
Ben, Grace, Amy & Beth