Students across the university are reacting with disgust, outrage, anger and talk of a Change.org petition after TWO colleges agreed to host a pair of speakers who claim “gay rights are wrong”.
This afternoon, Wadham’s Okinaga Room hosted a workshop by an “activist duo” called DarkMatter. The title of the event, “DarkMatter: Gay Rights are Wrong”, has led to widespread condemnation – with students describing the title as “homophobic”.
DarkMatter will also perform an act at Queen’s this evening, with activists expected to picket the college’s auditorium.
Felicity Angryton-Rage, a fourth-year Gender Studies student, said: “The title is an act of violence that has been visited upon my bodily integrity.”
“The level of offence this has caused me is unprecedented, even by my low standards. Oxford is widely known for being one of the most homophobic places in the world, and as a result this title is at best insensitive, and at worst the work of a real fuckbadger.”
Angryton-Rage added that she would be expecting the Oxford University LGBTQ Society to condemn the event as soon as possible. “Thankfully, in Oxford we have people in groups like No Heterox Star Star who would never, ever be associated with events that might appear to be homophobic to people in the wider community,” she added.
In a dramatic and even more offensive twist, it later emerged that some of DarkMatter’s previous claims are just as problematic.Earlier this year, a tweet by the duo stated that they planned to use technology to drive people “further and further apart” – an ambition which today was slammed by students, and was described by some as “flying in the face of inclusivity”.
we wanna create an app called Ryft that drives us all further and further apart
— DarkMatter (@DarkMatterPoets) April 9, 2015
This is not the first time that Oxford colleges have got into trouble for hosting events perceived as homophobic. In 2012, Exeter hosted the organisation Christian Concern, which had previously advocated “corrective therapy” for queer people.
At the time, OUSU’s LGBT officer said: “When a college welcomes an organisation with a record of demonising LGBTQ people, they alienate those students who most need to know that they are accepted and supported.”
One student at Wadham, who wished to remain anonymous due to the climate of fear, violence and hostility that has emerged today, said: “I certainly feel demonised by the title of today’s event.”
“It reminds me of the time Christ Church tried to host a debate on abortion. I can completely see why students there thought they’d feel unsafe with such a provocative event taking place in their college. “
A spokesperson from radical left campaigning group People of Oxford Opposing Prejudice (POOP) rejected suggestions that the event’s title might mislead those who are unfamiliar with the language of the radical left community. “It doesn’t matter. Language is merely a tool of the master, and the master’s tools will not destroy the master’s house.”
“At POOP, we don’t give a shit what the effects of our campaigning are, as long as we get 100 likes each on our statuses,” the spokesperson added. “Stop tone policing me.”