Activists from U of T and  the wider Toronto community held a teach-in and rally outside Sidney Smith Hall on Wednesday in response to psychology professor Jordan Peterson’s comments on non-binary gender identities.

“Peterson is a high-profile academic and he has this huge platform on which he is spreading misinformation to people who are probably just misinformed about trans things,” said Cassandra Williams, a trans woman and Vice President University Affairs of the University of Toronto Students’ Union, who was also one of the event’s organizers.

“That was part of the reason why folks wanted to organize to spread information, and why we were giving out some basic 101 information about trans folks and non-binary folks,” she explained.

Peterson released a video lecture on YouTube last week challenging the language used in Bill C-16 and the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s protections against discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender identity. In the video, Peterson also criticized the use of non-binary pronouns. On Monday, Peterson released a second video lecture on YouTube criticizing what he calls “compulsory political education” at U of T.

The teach-in and rally, which was attended by over 100 people, was held to educate students and the community at large about trans and non-binary issues, with students and activists alike speaking on subjects ranging from human rights to their personal experiences to Peterson’s remarks.

Peterson’s second video lecture referred to the university’s consultation with the Black Liberation Collective (BLC) on holding mandatory anti-racial bias training. The BLC was present at the event Wednesday, and the contributions of trans and non-binary people of colour were prioritized.

More to come.

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