A FEMINIST artist who was stopped from talking at Oxford Brookes University last night after accusations from students that she was 'transphobic' has said the complaints were an attack on free speech.

Rachel Ara announced on Twitter yesterday morning that her lecture had been cancelled by the university after an outcry from students, and speculated that her art was 'too challenging for today's youth'.

It came after the Oxford Brookes LGBTQ+ society sent a letter to the university's pro-vice chancellor condemning the invitation because it said Ms Ara was a 'trans exclusionary radical feminist'.

Read also: RAF pilot found not guilty of trying to kill his partner by strangling her

This was largely based on the fact that she had liked or shared posts on social media from groups or individuals which the LGBTQ+ society deemed to be transphobic.

Brookes has now confirmed it stopped the event happened because it said said it 'had not been booked through the usual process', but said it was 'postponing' the lecture rather than cancelling it.

The row comes after police announced in October they had launched an investigation into transphobic stickers being plastered in public places around the centre of Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

Speaking to the Oxford Mail yesterday, Ms Ara denied all allegations of being transphobic, and said: "The whole thing is upsetting and annoying.

"I am gay myself and have been an active member of the community of years.

"I have been going to marches for years."

She added that the accusations were 'very serious' and explained the outcry felt like 'your own group attacking you'.

Read also: Woman injured as police called to stand-off at house involving air rifle

In the letter to the university's pro-vice chancellor, professor Anne-Marie Kilday, the LGBTQ+ society said: "Rachel Ara is a trans exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) who frequently shares transphobic discourse on her social media.

"She has openly showed support for the "LGB Alliance" which is openly transphobic and seeks to isolate trans people within the LGBTQ+ movement.

"She has also openly shown support for Selina Todd, who is a strong advocate of "A Woman's Place", a transphobic organisation acting under the guise of academic freedom."

Oxford Mail:

Ms Todd, a professor of modern history at University of Oxford and tutor at St Hilda, was accused of being ‘transphobic’ by students at the college, after she shared posts by Twitter groups said to be transphobic groups.

The letter went on to say that in the past year hate crimes against trans people had gone up by 81 per cent and that 'the rhetoric of individuals such as Ms Ara has very real consequences for trans students at Oxford Brookes'.

It concluded: "While this speaker may be invited under the pretence of academic freedom, we firmly believe that inviting such speakers infringes upon academic freedom at Oxford Brookes."

Ms Ara, who won the Aesthetica Art Prize 2016 for her project This Much I’m Worth, was due to speak about her work at Oxford Brookes School of Arts.

She said: "My work is seen as controversial.

"The whole point about my work is that it is feminist.

"It has nothing to do with transgender stuff."

Oxford Mail:

The account TerfsOutOfArt was the first to accuse Ms Ara of transphobic behaviour and pointed out her previous engagement on social media with alleged transphobic accounts.

They posted on Monday encouraging Oxford Brookes students and staff to raise complaints with the university.

In a statement yesterday Oxford Brookes said: “The university has taken the decision to postpone a lecture as it had not been booked through the usual process for confirming external speakers.

Postponement will allow appropriate time to ensure this process takes place.”

Read also: Transphobic sticker war erupts in Oxford

Though the university has not set an official date for the talk, Ms Ara said she was assured by senior lecturer in fine art theory Alexandra Trott, who originally booked her for the event, that the event was not cancelled.

Commenting on the retweets, she said: "It is my own opinion – it is free speech.

"Universities are a place for discussions."

Ms Ara went on to express her disappointment that her talk had been stopped but said she 'would love to have a calm conversation with the society'.

In October Thames Valley Police launched an investigation into transphobic stickers being plastered on street furniture such as lampposts around the centre of Oxford.

It then emerged that pro-transgender activists had been going around and slapping pro-transgender stickers on top of the ones they found offensive.