Freedom of speech does not only protect one's right to be offensive, it also protects individual and communities' right to express their diversity. By staging the debate, focusing on anti-trans and anti-black freedom of speech, the University of Toronto is inflaming the toxic environment its trans and racialized students are facing.
Since Black Lives Matter Toronto's sit-in during Pride 2016, many of you have shown woeful levels of misunderstanding of where our community as a whole sits with the police. I've heard several of you say that the police don't pose a threat to LGBT people, because we've made "progress." "The bathhouse raids were 35 years ago. Everything is fine now between LGBT people and the police!" is how the argument goes, as if conflict between police and LGBT people is a thing of the past. What you mean to say is that your battle for your rights (which did not include an agenda for LGBT people of colour) was already hard fought decades ago.
The IOC has informally encouraged sex-testing since the 1936 Olympics, and formally since the 1968 Games. From "visual exams" inspecting the genitals of female athletes to the testosterone-seeking sex tests of today, the IOC has a horrific history of misunderstanding and misusing science to simultaneously hurt women. Women who do not fit their policy can either undergo medical intervention to force their biology into that shoebox, or quit. Several young healthy women underwent a series of invasive procedures, including clitoral amputation, to remain in competitive sport. We need to let that sink in for a minute.
"Most, if not all, mainstream feminism only represents a certain kind of person. Of course, we're talking about white, middle class, able-bodied, cisgender women." Too often, says Kai, marginalized communities such as trans folks aren't given a platform to talk about the issues, like sexual violence, that impact them.
You might know that the number one word associated with being transgender is "dysphoria," a vague medicalized word used ascribed to transgender people to describe how mirrors and people you thought were your friends now make you cry. But another common word I've heard transgender people use to describe themselves is "monster." I knew to expect all that pain before I told a single person. But what nobody had prepared me for was the joy.
When the Government of Alberta released their set of guidelines to support school boards in developing LGBTQ-inclusive policies, I was hopeful, then immediately disgusted by the public response. This is something I'd been waiting for, something that I had desperately needed growing up, and it is undoubtedly of critical importance to anyone who loves a trans person.