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A planned film screening at the University of Edinburgh has been cancelled after students packed the lecture hall where it was being held.
Feminist and LGBTQ+ groups protested outside the building, according to local media.
The documentary, Adult Human Female, has previously drawn criticism among trans advocates for its allegedly “transphobic” stance.
Two days ahead of the planned screening on 14 December, the University and College Union’s Edinburgh branch issued a statement saying it was “appalled” that the institution was showing the film.
UCU claimed the film “contained content that was a clear attack on trans people’s identities and not in line with Dignity and Respect policy”. The union said it previously contacted the university principal, Peter Mathieson, asking that he cancel the screening.
The incident is just the most recent instance of no-platforming in what has become an increasingly heated argument over trans rights and women’s rights at universities.
This October, a planned debate at an Australian university fell apart when its panellists pulled out over criticism of the event featuring “anti-trans” speakers.
In the UK, transgender disputes have threatened to split university unions, with gender critical theory and harassment moving up the UCU’s agenda even as it seeks to unite members around pay and pensions.
The 14 December screening was ultimately cancelled due to “safety concerns”, according to the University of Edinburgh.
“As part of our commitment to freedom of expression and academic freedom it is our duty to make sure staff and students feel able to discuss controversial topics and that each event allows for debate,” a spokesperson for the university said, local media reported.
“Given the size of our community, it is inevitable that the ideas of different members will conflict,” the person said. “We support the right of people to protest but expect that right to be exercised lawfully and peacefully.”
Reality Matters, the production company behind the documentary, has denied that its film is transphobic.
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