Adult Human Female: How Edinburgh University found itself at the centre of 'transphobic' film row
Protests have prevented the showing of Adult Human Female for a second time.
The decision to cancel the screening of the film, which has been branded transphobic by critics, led to fresh concerns being raised about freedom of speech.
We have taken a closer look at what the furore is all about.
What is Adult Human Female?It is a controversial film which claims to be the first documentary to look at "the clash between women's rights and trans ideology".The 92-minute feature was directed by independent film-makers Deirdre O'Neill and Mike Wayne.It contains criticism of the "trans movement", which is accused of "capturing" major institutions such as universities and political parties, while manufacturing confusion around sex and gender.Opponents say it is a “one-sided and inflammatory depiction of trans people”.Why is Edinburgh University embroiled in the row?Screenings of the film have become flashpoints in the bitter culture war between different sides in the debate about gender identity.In December, a planned showing of Adult Human Female in Edinburgh had to be cancelled due to safety concerns after protesters formed a blockade.
The showing was rearranged for Wednesday this week, but had to be cancelled again after a similar protest.
The university said: “In line with our commitment to fostering an inclusive, supportive and safe environment for our whole community, we worked with the organisers and put measures in place to mitigate risks associated with the event.
"However, with protesters restricting access to the venue, safety concerns were raised should the event proceed. It was therefore decided that the screening should not continue.”
What do staff and students think?
Opinions are clearly divided on the issue. The event was organised by Edinburgh Academics for Academic Freedom, which claimed the previous screening was cancelled due to the “censorious behaviour of a handful of individuals”.
Former university rector Ann Henderson said on Twitter that a “handful of masked protesters” on Wednesday had been able to “decide what can, or can't, be discussed”.
However, the protest’s organisers, including the university’s Staff Pride Network, had vowed to “stand up against transphobia in our society and academic institutions”.The University and College Union Edinburgh posted from the event that the protest was “big and we’ve only just started”.
It added: “No to hate on campus.”
What did Humza Yousaf say?
Mr Yousaf was asked about the screening during first minister’s questions at Holyrood.
He said he agreed that freedom of speech was important and that universities were safe spaces for “robust” discussion.
The SNP leader believed his views had “no conflict” with his “unequivocal” support for trans rights.
However, he said decisions around the screening were for Edinburgh University.
What happens next?Conservative MSPs Jeremy Balfour and Tess White have written to the university to "make sure the event will go ahead".Mr Balfour said: "Freedom of speech needs to be defended".
The film’s directors have also said it is “really important the screening goes ahead”.
The university is still to confirm whether it will facilitate a further attempt to show the film, however.
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