Dr Quentin Van Meter praises UWA decision to allow him to speak

Visiting US doctor Quentin Van Meter has praised UWA’s decision to allow him to speak on campus despite considerable community opposition.

Speaking to WA Today Dr Van Meter said the University had made the right choice.

“I know what universities are like in the US and when a contrary opinion has the opportunity to be stated, the reaction has been excessive protesting and physical violence,” he said.

“I would pray that’s not the outcome here. I would be ecstatic if people with strong opinions could come and state their particular concerns and ask questions and have a dialogue.

“I have no intention of shouting across the fence, and calling names or displaying any sort of hateful behaviour.” Dr Van Meter said.

The endocrinologist said that rather than loudly protesting concerned students should listen to what he has to say.

Dr Van Meter is the President of the American College of Pediatricians, a small religious based lobby group who argue that conservative positions should be taken on sex education, same sex marriage, gay couples adopting and abortion.

Dr Van Meter argues that transgender people should be counselled to live in their lives as their birth gender saying they are delusional people with a mental illness. He argues that for most transgender teens gender dysphoria is just a phase they pass through and the best approach is to counsel them to accept their biological gender.

The presentation he is scheduled to give at the University of Western Australia it titled The Transgender Movement: Its origins and how social theory is trumping science.

The presentation is being organised by the Australian Family Association, who have hired out the room from the University. Critics argue that by being on the campus the presentation is given legitimacy by the University. A petition opposing UWA hosting the event has attracted over 7,500 signatures.

The University of Western Australia said it in no way endorses the views that Dr Van Meter promotes, but it would not stop him speaking on the university campus.

In an email to staff and students Vice Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater and Chancellor Robert French said the University was committed to allowing free speech.

“The University considers that cancellation of the Australian Family Association event would create an undesirable precedent for the exclusion of objectionable views from the campus. It would also give rise to arguments that the values we hold are supported by intolerant and repressive policies against those who do not share those values.” the University’s leaders said.

The Vice Chancellor and Chancellor said that while the speakers at the Australian Family Association’s event were out of line with the University’s values people only needed to look at the rainbow flag flying at the front of the institution to know that they were supportive of LGBTIQ+ people.

“The views which have been expressed by the speakers in the past, particularly with respect to transgender people, are at odds with the university’s values of respect for human dignity and diversity,” the email to staff and students said.

“That respect, in relation to LGBTIQA+ people generally, has been evidenced by the Rainbow Flag, which has flown for some months at the front of the UWA campus.”

Megan Lee, the UWA Student Guild President told radio station 6PR that the event should not have been supported by the university and it was damaging to the University’s repuation.

“First and foremost its deeply hurtful to our LGBTIQ community at UWA, and furthermore this doctor his opinions and arguments are definitely thinly veiled pseudo-science and he has rather dubious credentials which is honestly outright embarrassing for such a research intensive university to be hosting.” Lee said.

“We strongly believe that his opinions aren’t covered by free speech but rather they are hate speech because he is fundamentally seeking to undermine the existence of another group of people in our society.”

Lee said it was not as simple as allowing free speech saying it was wrong for the University to profiting from a transphobic event and students had been “shattered” by the Universities decision to host the event.

A number of protests are expected to be held on the University’s campus on Friday.

OIP Staff



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