It was great to hear our Education and Events Director, Dr Jan Macvarish, on Andrew Doyle’s Free Speech Nation show at the weekend, discussing the state of free speech in Northern Ireland, and why our Belfast Speakeasy this Friday (26th Jan) is so important.
As Jan says, we’ve already sold 150 tickets for this event, but there are still some left and we’d love to see you there — click here to book your tickets.
Our expert panel on the night includes: FSU General Secretary Toby Young, the author and psychotherapist Stella O’Malley, journalists David Quinn and Ella Whelan, and the former Ulster Unionist Party politician and gay rights campaigner Jeffrey Dudgeon MBE.
The panel certainly won’t be short of things to talk about.
Northern Ireland now boasts one of the most draconian proposed hate crime laws in the UK, which has serious potential implications for free speech.
Queen’s University Belfast recently ordered every single person who sets foot on campus to comply with using a person’s preferred pronouns or face punishment under its newly revised code of conduct.
The newly enacted Northern Ireland Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Act has also just clipped the wings of the free press, handing the judiciary power to decide what bits of modern history or recent news regarding reports of serious sexual misconduct it is in the public interest in the public interest for ordinary citizens to read about.
Then there are the two ongoing, Belfast-focused ‘gender critical’ legal crowdfunders that are standing up for free speech in the country.
First, there’s the group of 23 people who were refused service at a Belfast Pub on the basis of their gender critical beliefs. They are now raising funds to take that pub to court, and sed a message to all service providers in Northern Ireland that women’s rights and LGB rights can’t be trampled on in this way — you can find out more about their ‘TERFED OUT’ campaign, and pledge your support by clicking here.
Second there’s the equally shocking case of Sara Morrison, who was suspended by her employer, Belfast Film Festival, for the ‘crime’ of speaking at a Let Women Speak event in the city — you can show your support for Sara here.
FSU Education and Events Director, Dr Jan Macvarish also recently joined Andrew Doyle on his Free Speech Nation show to discuss both cases.