Monday 14 June 2021 - Canadian university faculty union charges feminist academic with creating a discriminatory work environment for ‘questioning the validity [of] transgender identity’
Kathleen Lowrey is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. In March 2020 Lowrey was removed by the University from an associate chair position because of student complaints about her gender critical views. Her faculty union (the Association of Academic Staff at the University of Alberta) has since been pursuing a grievance on her behalf regarding this abrogation of her academic freedom.
However, that same faculty union has now, in June 2021, itself charged her with creating a discriminatory work environment at the University because of statements she made on an internal discussion forum for university faculty:
‘The complaint received by Executive identified two areas of discrimination. The first was the sentence “But that women should give up very hard won rights and spaces to accommodate the feelings of some men seems to me the very essence of misogyny.” The characterization of trans women as men was seen as a denial of their gender identity, and as such discriminatory.
The second was that multiple entries in the thread (especially, but not exclusively, those revolving around the quote from the DSM) characterized the gender identity of transgender people as a matter for academic debate. Again, questioning the validity of trans gender identity, and as such, discriminatory.
The preamble to the AASUA bylaws specifically commits us to working to overcome historical and ongoing inequities based on gender identity. Guiding Principle 5 in the Communications Policy is read and interpreted in that context: "The Association is committed to an equitable and non-discriminatory environment. As such, neither discrimination nor harassment will be tolerated in any communication.’
When universities forbid academics to ‘question the validity [of] transgender identity’ and the faculty unions that are the final line of defense of academic freedom do so as well, the danger to feminist inquiry could hardly be more serious. That is the situation in Canada today, a situation which is replicated throughout much of the world as academics who do not believe in gender ideology are smeared by students and fellow academics, face the loss of their livelihoods and have their personal safety threatened by violent activists. The GC Academia Network (https://www.gcacademianetwork.org/) contains dozens of stories of academics, mostly women, harmed by a university-fostered culture of ‘no debate.’
The Women’s Human Rights Campaign, a global grassroots organization campaigning for the protection of women and girl’s sex-based rights, calls on the AAUSA to rescind these Orwellian charges against Professor Lowrey and to defend her right to academic freedom. Universities and academic unions everywhere must end their culture of ‘no debate’, protect academics’ right to freedom of thought, and follow the example of the University of Essex, UK, which recently issued a comprehensive apology (https://www.essex.ac.uk/blog/posts/2021/05/17/review-of-two-events-with-external-speakers) to Dr Jo Phoenix and Professor Rosa Freedman, two feminist academics wrongly no-platformed.
Jo Brew, WHRC director, said, ‘WHRC offers its unconditional support to Professor Lowrey, who is facing trumped-up charges from the very union that should be defending her academic freedom. Universities must allow women and men who challenge gender ideology, which is so harmful to women’s sex-based rights, to express their opinions without these threats.’
Sunday 13 June 2021 - #ABWomenSpeak Event
With the success of the May 2, 2021 #ABWomenSpeak rally, a coalition project between Alberta Women's Advocacy Association, WHRC Alberta, Alberta Radical Feminists, and Canadian Women's Sex-based Rights (caWsbar), we couldn't wait to put on another one, this time in Calgary, but this one even bigger.
Click here for more details.
Friday 4 June, 2021 - Feminist Current hacked, editor doxxed and Canadian media ignores
Feminist Current, Canada's leading feminist news site, was hacked this week, the first week of June 2021. The personal information of the editor, Meghan Murphy, was released on the site.
This is not the first time the site and the editor have faced such attacks. Although no one has claimed responsibility, it is likely that as were past attacks this latest attack was carried out by men who wish to suppress feminist objections to the invasion of women's sports, spaces, prisons and shelters by men presenting as women.
Since 2012, Feminist Current has published thousands of reports and articles authored by hundreds of contributors. It is a vital source of news and analysis and turns down many pitches for every one it accepts because it stands almost alone on the Canadian media landscape in its feminist stance.
In Canada, there is a virtual media blackout on reporting about the issues Feminist Current covers. If a dissident feminist news site in Russia, Nigeria, or Bolivia were hacked and its editor personally threatened, Canadian journalists would react with alarm and concern. To date no Canadian news outlet has reported on this serious attack on a Canadian journalist and publisher.
Ms. Murphy can be reached for comment at: [email protected]
On May 2, representatives of WHRC-Canada along with Alberta Radfems, the Alberta Women's Advocacy Association, and caWsbar (Canadian Women's Sex-Based Rights) held a rally in support of women's sex-based rights on the grounds of the Alberta Legislature. You can watch the speeches here:
A follow up event will be held in Calgary in June; contact
if you would like to attend.
Briefs Regarding Bill C-6
Four WHRC-Canada chapters submitted briefs to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights regarding Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy). You can find these here.
In addition, here you can see briefs submitted by other feminist organizations and individuals critical of Bill C-6, including Alberta Radical Feminists, Alberta Women's Advocacy Association, Canadian Gender Report, Canadian Women's Sex-Based Rights, Detrans Canada, LGB-Alliance Canada, Pour les droits des femmes du Québec, We the Females, Linda Blade, Meghan Murphy, Pamela Buffone, and Jane Dobson, among others, and you can also watch the recorded testimony during the related meetings.
There is still time to turn the tide on Bill C-6. It is likely to come to a final vote in February or March. You can write your own and other Members of Parliament explaining feminist objections to this bill.
Canadian Chapter Launch
The Canadian Chapter of the Women’s Human Rights Campaign launched on October 24, 2020. Meghan Murphy of Feminist Current gave an inaugural talk at our first national webinar, the text of which you can find here .
Happily, having gone in with four, we came out of the launch with ten provincial coordinators! They are holding monthly zoom meetings for interested women in their provinces.
We are still seeking coordinators for Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. In the meantime, if you are a woman from one of these provinces or territories please contact one of the two national coordinators to be invited to the monthly national zoom meetings.
Archived news here.
Gender ID Laws
In June 2017 Canada passed Bill C-16, which amended the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to add the words "gender identity or expression". In the Human Rights Act "gender identity or expression" was added to the list of identifiable groups that are protected from discrimination. In the Criminal Code "gender identity and expression" was added in two places - to the section dealing with hate speech, where it joins the other protected characteristics - and to the section dealing with hate crimes, allowing it to be taken into account during sentencing.
Click here to read a summary of C-16 from Feminist Current published in 2017.