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Oxford change the meaning of "woman"

Jun 06 2001 19:14
Charlie Brown
Student Union constitution amended to avert "discrimination".
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Last week, the Oxford University Students Union (OUSU) decided to ammend its consitutional definition of a "woman". The old definition was "any person designated as such by their birth certificate". However, a motion proposed jointly by the Chairs of the OUSU Women's Committee and OUSU Queer Rights Committee suggested that this was discriminatory against male-to-female transgenderal students.

The changes mean that from next year, transgenderal students will be able to identify themselves as "female" to the OUSU Vice-President for Women (a sabbatical officer) by showing "sufficient evidence". This would normally be expected to be a documentation of name change. The changes will affect which students can stand and vote in certain elections and committees. Unlike ICU, some OUSU committees and posts are reserved for women.

Union hacks at Imperial have been taken aback by the news. ICU's Women's Officer (and now Men's Officer) post is open to all students, regardless of gender. It had been thought that gender restrictions on candidates and voting could not be imposed as they would breach equal opportunities law. Several women also expressed the view that having separate women's officers and committees is degrading of women.

One observer commentted "thank God, we don't have that sort of drivel in our Constitution - or else Hamish really would be a muppet!"

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Discussion about “Oxford change the meaning of "woman"”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
1. Stef   
Jun 07 2001 10:18

please read 'Union hacks' as 'members of guilds'. It hasn't surprised the rest of us one bit

Jun 07 2001 11:46

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! I REALLY hate NUS-types (and it'll be the NUS that's driven this, believe you me)

ICU already "self defines", which is how the old LGB society got shut down years ago (the rugby club "self-defined" themselves, got elected to the committee and shut it down - uite clever for the rugby club, really)

Perhaps IQ should all define themselves as rugby players? *grin*

Jun 07 2001 12:23

Stef, as an ICU Sabbatical Officer you are an ipso facto "member of Guilds" :-)

4. Stef   
Jun 07 2001 17:17

when i said guilds i meant guilds hacks as in those that write these stories.

I actually spent an amusing thursday several weeks ago winding up about 20 NUS institutions with the suggestion we maybe having a male Women's Officer and a male student came to ask me about the role

Who says that any many rugby players already members of IQ? It takes alsorts to make a sports club:)

5. grin   
Jun 14 2001 22:07

may be that's why the Rugby team are so lame.

I bet the medics r difrent

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