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Uni societies targeted with online abuse

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Stirling University societies have been targeted in a recent wave of online abuse, which has resulted in Union officers intervening.

Last week, three societies and their memberships received abuse over some political arguments but more notably the ongoing debate surrounding the reform of the Gender Recognition Act.

The abusive and transphobic comments were directed towards the Stirling Uni SNP, Labour and LGBTQ+ societies and some individual members on Twitter over a period of two days on May 8 and 9.

All of the abuse was sent to societies on Twitter

This began with the Stirling University Scottish Nationalist Association (SUSNA) being contacted by Twitter accounts supporting independence blogger Wings Over Scotland/Stuart Campbell.

The tweets accused SUSNA of being responsible for an organised campaign to get all of the blogger’s twitter accounts suspended.

Many of the tweets mentioned the ongoing debate around reform of the Gender Recognition Act, trans rights and the accounts opposition to such reform.

These events have led to student Cameron Archibald receiving death threats, which have been reported to the police and are being investigated.

These attacks and theories against SUSNA have been ongoing for some time on Twitter.

SNP, Labour and LGBT societies were the targets of online abuse.

Following this the Stirling University Labour Society released a statement responding to Jenny Marra MSP being elected as Vice Chair of the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Party.

The society criticised Marra for her record on trans rights and accused her of “supporting transphobes” and “undermining trans people” then calling for her to apologise for this and address how she will “support the LGBT+ community going forward.”

This was retweeted by Aberdeen Uni Labour.

Soon after, their tweet was met with abusive responses and former Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont responded to their statement defending Marra.

Accounts continued to respond to the Labour statement with transphobic abuse, one twitter user calling them “misogynistic wee pr*cks” and individual members of the society being targeted.

The message posted by LGBTQ+ responding on the abusive messages. Credit: SULGBTQ+

The LGBTQ+ society, aware of the current situation on Twitter, posted an “LGB with the T” message in opposition to the transphobic tweets.

LGBT were then subjected to abusive and transphobic replies on their twitter account which resulted in a response from the Students’ Union.

Union President Chloe Whyte and VP Communities Josh Muirhead posted messages of support on Twitter, condemned the abuse and changed their twitter headers to the image posted by LGBT.

Muirhead commented: “I’m beyond disappointed that several of our Clubs & Societies as well as individual students have been targeted by high levels of disgusting transphobic abuse and harassment.

“It is disheartening that during these stressful times people still feel the need to target an already discriminated against group.

“Now more than ever we need to come together as a community to support one another. Let’s be the difference and spread both positivity and kindness instead of hate.

“Discrimination in any form will never have a place at Stirling Students’ Union. Myself and the rest of rest of the Sabbatical team stand in support of our LGBTQ+ students.”

Union President Chloe Whyte added:

“Though I cannot speak on behalf of individual students and what actions they may make in a personal capacity, it is incredibly disappointing that some of our societies were targeted by transphobic harassment this week.

“During lockdown, it is more important than ever that we demonstrate kindness and respect to one another, especially on social media – which most young people are relying on right now.

“The Students Union’ continues to be a loud and proud supporter of the trans community, and encourages anyone affected by harassment or transphobia to reach out for support.”

Whyte signposted to helpful resources by Galop for LGBTQ+ hate crime victims.

Featured Image: Human Rights Watch

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