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David N. Lyon Speaker Series: “Conflicting compassion: diversity in gender and sexuality in the modern world”

Please note that this event is now FULLY BOOKED. To join in the livestream of the event please click here. If you have any questions please contact us on

This years’ David N. Lyon Speaker Series on “The Politics of Sex and Gender Equality in Diverse Societies” will be taking place from 5.45pm Monday, 5 June at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford on the topic of “Conflicting compassion: diversity in gender and sexuality in the modern world”.

One day ahead of the meeting of the College of Bishops to discuss same-sex marriage in the Church of England, we invite a panel including the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Lord Bishop of Oxford, to explore identity, politics and faith. Chaired by Oriel Fellow in Politics, Professor Teresa Bejan, our expert panel will comment on these ideas from their lived experience and expertise. Our panellists include:

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, The Lord Bishop of Oxford

The Bishop of Oxford is the diocesan or most senior bishop in Oxford, responsible for oversight of the whole diocese which covers the three counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Bucks. Steven is a member of the House of Lords where he is a member of the Select Committee on the Environment and Climate Change and leads for the Lords Spiritual on AI and online safety.

In 2022, Steven published “Together in Love and Faith“, in doing so he became the most senior figure in the Church of England to support same-sex marriage.

Abigail Thorn

Abigail Thorn is an actress and playwright who has appeared in Sky TV’s Django, BBC3’s Ladhood, and her debut play The Prince which won an Off West End Award and 3 Broadway World Awards including Best New Play and Best Lead Actor. She is also the creator of Philosophy Tube, an educational web show with an audience of 1.3 million, which she started while studying philosophy at the University of St Andrews. In 2021, Abigail came out as a trans woman and has spoken publicly on issues related to the trans community, especially access to healthcare.

Professor Helen King

Helen King is Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at The Open University. She is a historian of medicine and the body, and has held visiting posts at Gustavus Adolphus College, MN; the Peninsula Medical School; and the universities of Vienna, Texas, Notre Dame and British Columbia. She was a member of the History group for the Church of England ‘Living in Love and Faith’ process and is currently an elected member of the General Synod of the Church of England, where she is vice-chair of the Gender & Sexuality Group. 

Frank Hardee (2004, PPE)

Frank Hardee is an Orielensis and former JCR President of the College (PPE, Matriculated 2004). He is currently on the Senior Leadership Team at Holyport College, a state boarding school linked to Eton where he is the relationship manager in addition to teaching A Level Politics. As many of you may have seen from a previous Oriel record, Frank represented Team ‘LGBT’ at the Gay Games in Paris in 2018, winning a Gold and Silver Medal in the ‘scratch social’ Ten Pin Bowling Pairs and Team events. He feels passionate about being an open role model for young people, especially as he was unable to be open about his sexulaity when he worked abroad in Malaysia. Frank also runs the Holyport College LGBTQ+ society. 


Places at the event are free of charge, and there may also be an option to join online for those who are unable to join us in Oxford. Please book your place using the form below. If you have any questions, please contact us on

Please note that to attend this event, you will be required to show ID matching the name on your booking on the door. No bags larger than A4 size will be permitted: Height 297mm (11.7 inches), Width 210mm (8.27 inches), Depth 210mm (8.27 inches). We are unable to store any bags. Random bag searches may be undertaken on the night.

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