Transphobia? On My Campus (It’s More Likely Than You Think)
By: Meera E Ulysses
National news sources have been fawning and squawking with uncontained excitement over the now-infamous “controversy” that plagued the University of Toronto’s downtown campus in late 2016. It is a struggle for the ages, a struggle where passions run high and journalists make bank. The sides establish themselves with vicious intensity – in one corner of the ring, a diverse group of passionate students, a professor, and some drunken old white men who may or may not be Nazis. In the other, the “terroristic” organizations of anti-fascists, rabid transgenders, and Black Liberation advocates. The contested terrain? Freedom of expression.
What’s frequently cited as the beginning of this battle are the remarks of a certain U of T professor of psychology on his God-and-state-given-right to use whatever pronoun he so desires to refer to other people. Not people in general, though, just transgender people. According to this professor, the insistence of other persons to be referred to in a way that validates their identity is an unrepentant assault on his ideological freedom. He refuses to give in to Marx, Lenin, the cronies of post-modernism, and the Political-Correctness crowd that has been turning his colleagues and acquaintances into uncritical sheep right before his eyes. He won’t give in, he will take a stand when no one else will, when no one else feels it’s a problem, while most other people are thinking that basic respect for others is a necessary part of being human. Those mindless drones, they know not what they do.
“It’s a good thing our current “Advocates for the Uncritical Freedom of Expression” aren’t associated with the likes of those folks, right? Except rumours (and verified articles) report that the current group does, in fact, have ties to Verified Nazi Paul Fromm. Awkward.”
If we aren’t feeling the pull towards ahistorical-ness, though, we could probably trace this battle all the way back to the 60’s, when an eerily-similar “free speech” group articulated itself on this very same campus in order to play devil’s advocate for some Nazis. Whatever happened to those guys? Allegedly, they split due to internal disagreements on whether they wanted to be Nazi-sympathizers or actual Nazis. Paul Fromm, the group’s founder, is now Canada’s premier verified Nazi. It’s a good thing our current “Advocates for the Uncritical Freedom of Expression” aren’t associated with the likes of those folks, right? Except rumours (and verified articles) report that the current group does, in fact, have ties to Verified Nazi Paul Fromm. Awkward.
Anyway, this psychology professor, who may or may not have had a cognitive breakdown in December of 2014 after eliminating all gluten from his diet (according to his daughter Mikhaila, JP suffered from depression until adopting a celiac’s diet in the end of 2015, and she claims that his personality changed greatly), took a stand against the fascistic army of young transgenders and some people weren’t too happy about it. Notably trans students of the university, for some reason. Emotions ran high, pamphlets were made, speeches were given. Out of all this, a crew of vigilantes decided no – enough. It’s time those trans people stopped oppressing the rest of us. And another rally was held, as an antithesis to the outrageous “Maybe let’s respect trans people” event, the brashness of which cannot be overstated.
“I mean, the state does seem to think that we should probably use people’s correct pronouns. And that does seem to fall under the jurisdiction of “common courtesy” and what the laypeople call “not being a dick” “
There is a certain genre of music that is characterized by harsh, powerful electronics, screeching frequencies, and hypnotic, droning rhythm, usually referred to as “harsh noise” in hip circles. Unsurprisingly, it is an acquired taste, and most laypeople are extremely averse to such tunes. Also unsurprising is, if one develops an inclination to blast, at a high volume, this type of music at a crowd full of bores in the middle of the day, they probably won’t be happy about it. Some people just won’t move out of their comfort zone, no matter how insistently you press them to. Not everything has to be smooth jazz and Top 40 Hits, but some people just don’t understand that. Anyway.
So we take a large crowd, and some really loud and annoying music, and a bunch of conflicting viewpoints as to whether or not divergent people should be allowed to live, and maybe even throw in some dogs and some rants about “but how can be woman if have the penis?” What do we get? I’m no chemist, but I think the product of such a concoction is bound to be chaotic, and likely illegible. If we look at reports of that day, apparently the end product is some – to quote internet forums – “goth Jeff Goldblum-looking transsexual” lunging violently at an innocent unsuspecting Aryan-esque reporter. Rage bubbled, fisticuffs were thrown, tears were shed, and a charge of assault was held against the agitator. Well, they did try to tell us that “those transgenders” were dangerous.
What can we learn from this, how do we move forward? There is no answer. There is no truth. I mean, the state does seem to think that we should probably use people’s correct pronouns. And that does seem to fall under the jurisdiction of “common courtesy” and what the laypeople call “not being a dick”. But who knows, maybe that’s just the neo-Marxist conspiracies speaking. Maybe they’ve already infected us all. Maybe it’s too late.