There is a palpable heaviness that can be felt across UVic in the wake of the announcement for the planned anti-trans, anti-queer marches that are taking place all across the nation today.
The prevalence of trans-antagonistic far-right scapegoating has markedly increased the past few years. For hundreds of years in our postcolonial country, queer folks have been used as a vessel to deflect anger about systemic and societal failures.
The rhetoric of “protecting children” from queer and trans identity has plagued discussions on the place of queerness in society. Time and time again we see anti-2SLGBTQ+ legislation and violence justified in this way. This discourse is used to oppose inclusive sex education and queer representation in schools, or to institute trans-antagonistic policies in education. Both of these outcomes are associated with a marked increase in suicide rates for trans and queer youth. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand the real goal of the protest not as protecting children, but rather instituting anti-queer policies.
Queer adults were once queer children. Increased sex and gender education results in better outcomes for children. Protests against “gender ideology” in our schools show an ongoing opposition to trans and queer existence. In light of these protests, we stand united in wanting better for the queer kids who are going to school now, and into the future.
- Protecting children is implementing inclusive Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) curricula in the education system.
- Protecting children is defending the most vulnerable children, and educating them and their peers about the identities they are coming into.
- Protecting children is not marching against their right to be who they are.
In the face of hate and intolerance we want to thank those who support queer and trans youth. Educators across this country receive our deepest gratitude for supporting queer kids through their time in school.
We call upon allies to show up and fiercely protect the queer and trans community today and every day. To remember that queer existence continues to be contested and that we must rally together in defense of it. To stand by us when it is hard and when it is scary, because it matters far more than when it is convenient. It takes a backbone to be queer. It takes a backbone to support queer people all the time – not just a one off during June. We must not back down on the ground we have gained!!
We once again call upon the UVic administration to take swift action on campus to implement mandatory Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion curricula in all faculties as a preventative measure to stop far-right radicalization and trans-antagonism on campus.
To the trans and queer students on campus right now who are scared and hurt, take care of yourselves and take care of each other.
In solidarity and in rage,
UVSS Executive Team
Pride Collective @uvicpridecollective (room B010 in the SUB)
The Gender Empowerment Centre (room B107 in the SUB)
The Anti-Violence Project (room B027 in the SUB)
UVSS Enhanced Student Health and Dental Plan with new Gender Affirming Care Coverage (room A102 in the SUB)
UVSS Enhanced Student Health and Dental Plan with new Conversation Uncapped Mental Health Coverage