STUDENTS
14/11/2013 09:04 GMT

Sussex University LGBTQ Society Bans The Word 'Dyke', Complains About Lesbian Christmas Performance

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Sussex University LGBTQ Society Bans The Word 'Dyke', Complains About Lesbian Christmas Performance

A LGBTQ student society has stirred up controversy after campaigning local lesbian artists to remove the word "dyke" from their Christmas performance.

The Sussex University LGBTQ group censored the word after it appeared on its Facebook page, saying "dyke" violated the society's safe space policy.

Rose Collis and VG Lee, two local artists, posted an advert to their upcoming play Bah! Humbuggers (or Dyke the Halls) on the students' Facebook group to try and publicise the event.

The post was promptly removed, however, and the pair reprimanded by the chair of the group Emily Weaver, the Gscene reported:

“I am contacting you today as we are going to remove your post regarding Bah Humbuggers on our timeline. We have a safe space policy in place on our page and unfortunately the word ‘Dyke’ violates this policy. As a society we pride ourselves on promoting a safe space which means everyone should be able to participate in a safe environment.

"We find ourselves in a situation where members of the society felt uncomfortable with having an event posted which included the term, Dyke. As a society we are bound to providing a safe space by the student union guidelines and we never take deleting a post lightly however in certain circumstances for example, when we feel safe space is being violated this is a necessary step. We do not have a problem with your event just the word included in the name.

"We are happy for you to repost your event without the word Dyke if you wish to. I apologise if this causes an inconvenience.”

Collis called the censoring "staggeringly ignorant, beyond insulting and politically correct censorship gone mad".

"My first thought was ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’," she said. "I’ve been a self-defined out and proud dyke activist for 34 years, marching and campaigning for gay rights before it became a trendy social event.

"And now I’m being told that a word and definition, steeped in our history and reclaimed by lesbian women, is taboo and ‘violates safe space’. It’s staggeringly ignorant, beyond insulting and politically correct censorship gone mad."

The student society's safe space policy states: "All areas in which the Group operates will be subject to the Students' Union Safe Space Policy. The Union is committed to providing an inclusive and supportive environment without fear of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia or any other form of discrimination.

"We ask that every member pay attention to their conduct and behaviour and show respect to others when engaging in any activities hosted or supported by the Students’ Union.

"This includes listening to another’s point of view, using appropriate and respectful language at all times, and refraining from behaviour which can be perceived to be aggressive, intimidating, offensive or discriminatory."

Gay HuffPost blogger Eden Walker said she was "more than slightly annoyed at the actions of these young people and their collective hissy fit over one word that lesbians have been trying to own for years".

"I find it both triggering and offensive that the thousands upon thousands of women like me who identify as dykes would be branded insulting by these young people, who only have the equality and freedom of expression that they currently enjoy because of the people who went before us."