CW: trans & non-binary discrimination
Levi Pay, a member of the Students’ Association Board of Trustees, has resigned from his position, following public pressure after a series of his tweets were circulated.
The tweets in reference stated that he would “certainly see trans women as male”, whilst he also said it would be “lying” to consider a trans woman a woman.
He also described gender identity as a “cuckoo movement”, as well tweeting in support of JK Rowling who has been implicated in multiple scandals regarding transphobic tweets in the past.
He said: “And just look at the treatment of JK Rowling for having the guts to speak out, calmly and reasonably, against the harms this ideology creates for women.”
There have been multiple responses to Pay’s comments, including an open letter from the university’s PrideSoc and LGBTQ+ LawSoc.
In representation of Edinburgh’s queer community and allies, they expressed severe distaste, describing Pay’s tweets as the “spreading of misinformation and villainization of an entire community and its allies based on how they live.”
They also called for the removal of Pay from his position along with a re-evaluation of the Student Associations’ code of conduct to prevent similar situations in the future.
A September 20th statement released by the Students’ Association implied that “processes” with regards to Pay’s position had been invoked.
They also distanced themselves from Pay by stating “comments made by Trustees in an individual capacity reflect their personal views only”.
Although they have also previously emphasised the role of trustees in governing, saying they “play a vital leadership role at the Students’ Association, ensuring that we are governed effectively” and “ensuring we are true to our values”.
In response to Pay’s resignation, the Students’ Association shared that they “respect his decision to resign and want to recognise his service and contribution”.
However, they also included that they realise Pay’s “gender critical views have impacted negatively on members of our student community” and also shared thanks for “those who continue to hold the Students’ Association to account and to those who have shown your support for our trans, non-binary and non-gender conforming community”.
The trustee released a statement regarding his resignation claiming that he was “never informed” about how his “framing of trans rights” could be an issue.
He said that another complaint was sent to the Students’ Association regarding his ‘transphobic’ comments a few months ago but was yet to be formalised and had postponed his original resignation.
Jaime Prada, Students’ Association Trans & Non-Binary Officer, also released a statement after the announcement of Pay’s resignation, saying:
“Let me be very clear: trans people are not political objects; our lives are not up for debate; & defending our rights is not an ‘ideology’.”
They also spoke to The Student saying, “we cannot allow members at the highest levels of governance to spread misinformation regarding the trans experience”.
Whilst emphasising the efforts being put into action to rectify this scandal:
“I have talked to senior members at EUSA regarding how to do better in this matter moving forward, including specific training on how to adequately represent and defend the rights of trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming people.”
They also highlighted that the Students’ Association shares “the same values: trans people are welcome here and we must be celebrated.”
The Students’ Association noted that there are multiple avenues for support for anyone negatively affected by this situation including the Advice Place as well as their Safe Spaces policy.
The Student reached out to Levi Pay for further comment but received no response.
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