The University of Western Australia has cancelled a sold-out talk by a controversial US paediatric professor who says transgender people have “a delusional disorder”.
Pediatric endocrinologist Quentin Van Meter, who planned to end his national tour organised by The Australian Family Association in Perth, was due to appear at UWA on Friday.
The institution refused to bow to pressure to cancel the event earlier this week, saying that while UWA did not endorse the opinions of its speakers, cancelling the event would “create an undesirable precedent for the exclusion of objectionable views” from the university.
A student petition protesting the event collected more than 6000 signatures.
But hours before Dr Van Meter was due to deliver his speech entitled “The Transgender Movement: Its Origins and How Social Theory is Trumping Science”, the university pulled the pin.
UWA said it had been advised the safety risk surrounding the appearance “has been elevated to a higher level, which mandates a more robust event management plan”.
The Australian Family Association didn’t meet a deadline to provide a risk assessment and detailed event management plan that addressed safety concerns and met the venue hire conditions, the university said.
“The university holds firm on the principles of freedom of expression and maintains its position that it does not wish to set a precedent for the exclusion of objectionable views from the campus,” it said.
“However, in this case, the event hirers could not meet their obligations of the venue hire contract, providing no confidence that UWA could ensure safety on campus.”
Dr Van Meter has previously said that using puberty blockers for children with gender dysphoria was akin to child abuse.
“Transgender is actually a delusional disorder,” he said.
“It’s a state of mind with no biologic basis for it that can be found.”