Teaching assistant in hot water for neutral stance on gender pronouns

Marriage-Alliance-Australia-Gender-Pronouns-Teacher.jpgDoes same-sex marriage only affect those who subscribe to it? Recent events in Canada would indicate differently, as assistant teacher Lindsay Shepherd became the subject of an official inquiry… for taking a neutral stance on gender pronouns. 

Earlier this month, Shepherd, who teaches a “language use and writing skills component” at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, made the apparently earth-shattering mistake of playing a short clip television debating the use of gender pronouns, featuring prominent academic Jordan Peterson.

Seemingly innocuous enough, Ms Shepherd was not prepared for the radical reaction from both students and the media. According to The Daily Wire:

According to Shepherd, she took a completely neutral stance, neither condemning nor applauding Peterson’s position. However, one or more of her approximately 48 students filed a complaint with the school. As a result, Shepherd was censured, and brought in for a meeting with course professor, Dr. Nathan Rambukkana, Dr. Herbert Pimlott, and Adria Joel, Acting Manager of Gendered Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Support at the Diversity and Equity Office.

During the meeting, which Ms Shepherd secretly recorded, she was charged with threatening students, specifically those who identified within the LGBT spectrum. The course professor specifically cites the Canadian Human Rights Code C-16, a mandate which was implemented in the name of equal rights:

So the thing about this is if you're presenting something like this, you have to think about the kind of teaching climate that you are creating, and this is actually – these arguments are counter to the Canadian Human Rights Code. Ever since, and I know that you've talked about C-16, ever since this passed, it is discriminatory to be targeting someone due to their gender identity or gender expression.

 The Acting Manager of Gendered Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Support at the Diversity and Equity Office proceeded to cite the school policy, also created some time go in an attempt to promote diversity on campus:

So, under that, gendered violence doesn't just include sexual violence, but it also includes targeting folks based on gender, so that includes transphobia, biphobia, homophobia. All those sorts of things are protected under the policy, and so those are things that Laurier has upheld as values as well as the Ontario Human Rights Code. And so those are things that we are responsible for, uh, not impacting our students in that way, and not spreading transphobia in that way.

But the most telling portion of the interview came when Shepherd stated:

I mean, I know in my heart and I know I expressed to the class that I'm not transphobic, and if any of them – I don't know, again, what they said, but...I don't think I gave away any political position of mine. I remained very neutral.

The response from the class professor was: “That’s kind of the problem.”

Shepherd’s uncritical playing of the clip for the students to consider was likened to being uncritical of Adolf Hitler.  There was no hint of irony in the voice of university officials who likened an academic refusing to be forced to use transgender pronouns to a person who oversaw a genocide.

Nor was their any hint of irony in their voices of, in the name of equality, the university officials sought to discipline an academic who tried to present two arguments equally.

So how is same-sex marriage not affecting the average citizen? If you can be punished for a neutral opinion, how much more so for an opposing one?

As one of the first countries to legalise same-sex marriage and open its arms to the LGBT agenda, Canada is also one of the first to experience the range of flow-on consequences. As is apparent, the elimination of fundamental freedoms is one of them.  

Since the postal vote has passed, this is a call to action for all of us in Australia. We need to prepare for such events in our future buy making laws to protect all rights, not just popular ones. 

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