LGBT dispute at New College

first_imgAfter much debate, New College JCR have passed a motion changing the constitutional specifications regarding the sexual identification of candidates who are eligible to run for the position of LGBTQ representative.The motion proposed removing the specification in the JCR’s standing orders that candidates for the role be ‘non-straight’. It was then amended to agree that only LGBTQ-identified candidates would initially be able to stand. If no candidates came forward, or if students voted to re-open nominations, then non-LGBTQ candidates would be permitted to run. While a majority opposed the original motion, the amendment was deemed ‘friendly’ and passed with one vote against.Second year chemist Isabelle Paterson-Taylor tabled the motion. She told Cherwell, “The changes that have taken place in the JCR are a good step towards further discussion and more integration.“Previously, it was implied that the main qualification for the role was simply being ‘non-straight’, rather than a deep interest and involvement in the issues involved.“I feel that if we are to account for the wide range of experience within the ‘community’, we must also accept that there are non-LGBTQ-identified people who have legitimate motivations to run for the position.”Henry Ashwell, New’s current LGBTQ rep, seconded Paterson-Taylor’s proposal before accepting the amendment. He said, “I fully understand the frustration and arguments in favour of greater inclusion over the LGBTQ rep position. However, it was pointed out that, in elections, the voice of the LGBTQ community gets very little say on who their rep is.‘Their unanimous voice was that they wanted someone who had experience of being LGBTQ to be in charge of LGBTQ welfare. This was a reasonable request and one which no LGBTQ rep should take lightly.”JCR President Oscar Lee said, “A primary reason for the motion was the contradiction that a candidate had to be ‘non-straight’ even if they were transgender. This has been rectified so that any transgender candidate of any sexual orientation can stand.’A first year at New, who identifies as LGBTQ, supported the outcome, saying, ‘People want to go to someone they can identify with and who’s had first-hand experience.”However, a non-LGBTQ second year, who had hoped to run last year, told Cherwell, “I fully support and strongly champion the LGBTQ cause, but I’m angry that people aren’t keen to widen representation.”OUSU LGBT rep Jess Pumphrey said, “I see no way of enforcing this rule without policing others’ identities. Who will determine whether a candidate is ‘LGBTQ enough’ to stand? Nobody has the authority to do that.“Candidates with experience of all aspects of LGBTQ life must be rare, yet we trust our LGBTQ representatives to represent us on issues they haven’t personally experienced. It seems to me risky to prevent good and willing candidates from standing for a position which can often be undersubscribed.”last_img

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