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Exeter University students told cross-dressing 'as offensive as 'blacking-up'''

By This is Devon  |  Posted: February 22, 2012

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Students at Exeter University have been asked not to 'cross dress' or 'black up' in an attempt to avoid possibly insulting other minority groups.

Exeter University Students' Guild has issued a statement on its website which appeals for students not to offend other undergraduates during its diversity week, which runs from February 19 - 25.

The student body's website reads: "The Guild is aware that there are several trans-identified students at Exeter, and more who express their identity as gender-queer."

It goes on: "To parody this appearance is crass and offensive on the same level as ethnicity; it implies a judgment of a gender or gender appearance as inferior and can be intensely psychologically damaging to anyone of student age."

Student leaders at Exeter University warned that cross-dressing could be deemed as offensive as ‘blacking up’.

It says Exeter has more than 4,000 international students from 130 countries.

"While “blacking up” in various guises (whether taking on the appearance of African people or Asian or Middle-Eastern people) is not unlawful, the attitudes expressed by a person while pretending an ethnic appearance they themselves do not have (i.e. a white person masquerading as an Arab) can be culturally and racially insensitive – by parodying an appearance you are taking on the public performance of a group of persons in a stereotypical or (sometimes) mocking way.

"The Guild is not demanding that all such performances stop. We are merely asking for your consideration in making sure that your own individual behaviour is not harming, insulting or mocking another student – please think before you act and be considerate of others around you."

To read the full statement on their website click here

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