Fran Cowling refused to speak at the same event as Mr Tatchell.
Peter Tatchell has been accused of racism and transphobia by NUS LGBT representative Fran Cowling – who refuses to share a stage with him.
The two were both due to appear at a talk on the subject of “re-radicalising queers” at Canterbury Christ Church University. However, according to The Guardian, Cowling stated in emails that she did not want to share the stage with Tatchell because of his “racist and transphobic” views – and would not attend the event as long as he was going to be there.
Cowling – somewhat ironically – cited Tatchell’s signing of an Observer open letter against no-platforming (the practice by some universities of banning people because of their views) speakers as her reason for not having him included in the debate. The Guardian notes that Cowling views Tatchell’s signing of the letter as supporting “the incitement of violence against transgender people.”
Tatchell responded by saying that Cowling’s actions represented “a witch-hunting, accusatory atmosphere” which is causing a decline in “open debate on some university campuses”. He also responded to her accusations on Twitter, telling a follower: “Fran Cowling of NUS was asked to provide evidence of my racism & transphobia. She refused – because there is none.”
@gatetheatre Thanks. Fran Cowling of NUS was asked to provide evidence of my racism & transphobia. She refused – because there is none.
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) February 14, 2016
Neither the NUS nor Fran Cowling have responded to the story.