- Arts & Literature
- Science & Technology
By Abbas Panjwani
By Matt Stokes
A presidential candidate in this Sunday’s LGBTQsoc elections has pulled out after his comments on trans issues provoked a spate of online mud-slinging.
Alex Bramham, a second-year at Wadham, wrote in his manifesto: “Issues involving gender are different to issues involving sexuality. I support separating into an LGB society for sexuality based socials/ welfare and a Trans* society for gender based socials/welfare.”
“Trans*” is an umbrella term which covers all forms of gender dysphoria.
Allegations of transphobia intensified after he posted on Facebook: “I’ve had a lot of guys in me, but not a tranny” and Bramham was called an “idiot” and a “disgrace”.
The resulting controversy spawned hundreds of comments on Facebook and Twitter. Bramham said he counted “at least 1,000”.
One member wrote in support of Bramham: “None of this [Bram- ham’s use of the word ‘tranny’] ex- cuses calling Alex an ‘arsehole’, ‘a dick’ and a ‘crotchnugget’ does it?
Or do members of the OU LBGTQ society feel that some types of vulgar abuse is perfectly acceptable but other types are not?”
Bramham then posted on Face- book on Monday: “I have well and truly had enough of LGBTQ soci- ety student politics. I will not be standing for election this Sunday. [...] Can’t say I care for it anymore, it’s wearisome.
He added that the society was “full of tensions and vitriol” and “militant infighting”, and was now widely seen as “the great tranny freak show [which had] alienate[d] the mainstream LGB student population”.
He also justified his comments on trans people, saying: “The UK’s largest gay rights activist charity Stonewall are ‘working for equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals’.
“Trans issues are different and more complex, warranting separate representation within the University.”
He added: “We should be proud of who we are, that means less elections more erections. Good luck to whoever gets to clean up this mess, but there’s no honour in the position. How many letters should the acronym have? Easy – call it FreakSoc, you’ll attract the same bunch.”
Simone Webb, a first-year PPEist at Hertford, will now run unopposed for President unless an- other candidate puts forward a candidacy.
She said Bramham’s decision to withdraw was “the right one”, but that she “applaud[ed] the courage which it took for him to do so.” However she added that she would “rather not run uncontested.”
Webb admitted that “people on all sides have crossed lines” and that if elected she would draw up guidelines about “how debates should be carried out”.
Sam Weinberg, the current president, said: “I suspect some people are taking things too seriously.” Calling the society “a fairly infor- mal organisation”, he said he would be surprised if events had “any real impact” on the society.
The divisions in the society came to light only days after Saturday’s successful Oxford Pride Drag Race, which saw several people run in fancy dress from Cornmarket to the Westgate Centre.