EUSA Liberation Officer Robyn Woof resigns after Edinburgh rector’s trans rights comments

‘I am resigning in protest and will instead begin a campaign of direct action’

EUSA Trans and Non-Binary Liberation Officer, Robyn Woof, has resigned following the election of Simon Fanshawe as the university’s new rector amid a trans rights controversy.

During an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) meeting, from which she too resigned, Robyn presented a resignation statement expressing her frustration at the university’s handling of transphobia issues.

The EUSA officer attributed her resignation to Simon Fanshawe’s election as the university’s rector who has in the past expressed critical views on self-identification and the LGBTQ+ community’s cohesion.

In the detailed statement, Robyn said: “It is quite clear to me that it’s impossible for me to achieve anything campaigning against transphobia through the university’s official processes so I am resigning in protest and will instead begin a campaign of direct action.”

In a 2019 interview with Holyrood Magazine, Simon Fanshawe argued against conflating legal and biological identities with social identity, suggesting that such actions lead to flawed legislation.

Fanshawe further criticised Stonewall’s approach of integrating lesbian and gay rights with trans rights, stating the LGBTQ+ community is “being bombed into an alphabet soup”.

Robyn’s resignation statement continues by accusing the university of systematically preventing her from fulfilling her duties through various means, highlighting the EDI committee’s refusal and ineffectiveness in advancing trans rights.

“The university has intentionally blocked me from carrying out my role using the student disciplinary process, security, senior management.

“This [EDI] committee, particularly our chair, has repeatedly refused to discuss the issues with transphobia properly in this committee, insisting they are more appropriate for the non existent LGBT subcommittee.”

This comes following a statement from Simon Fanshawe affirming that he has never “campaigned against the legitimacy of trans people”, whilst a petition gathering over 290 signatures is calling for his withdrawl as the university’s new rector.

A University of Edinburgh spokesperson said: “We place great importance on equality and diversity across all that we do, seeking to eliminate discrimination and create an inclusive culture.  We regret that Robyn Woof has decided to step down. Her input into the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee has been valuable in providing a voice for the trans and non-binary members of our community and we would like to thank her for her contributions.”

Cover image via Facebook.

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