Monday, June 24, 2024

Over 200 protesters gathered in Duncan to decry anti-trans panel discussion


A controversial and transphobic event took place in Duncan over the weekend, but 2SLGBTQIA+ community members, families and allies came out in droves to show them they exist, and despite the event, they will continue to care and advocate for one another. 

On Saturday, June 8th, around 200 community members gathered at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan in protest of the event organized by the anti-trans group, ‘Vancouver Island Speaks!’. 

The event was called Pushing Pride: When activism conflicts with women’s rights, gay rights, and the safeguarding of kids. 

At Pushing Pride, under the guise of “safeguarding women’s rights,” the panelists and organizers spread a harmful rhetoric that is extremely damaging to the trans community, according to community members who stood in protest of the event. 

Meghan Murphy, one of Pushing Pride’s organizers, is a vehement anti-trans advocate and is extremely vocal about her views on the gender non-conforming community. 

“Lesbians are being told they must accept men as potential partners; kids are being taught that boys can be girls and girls can be boys; we are seeing adult entertainment offered to kids in the form of Drag Queen Story Hours and more; and women’s safety, interests, and rights have been pushed entirely to the wayside,” wrote the event’s organizers.  

They added that adding the ‘T’ to the Pride rainbow has created a conflict of interest and potential harm for women and kids.

“Panels like this harm the very people they claim they’re trying to protect and make collateral damage of other marginalized communities,” said an anonymous community member who attended Saturday’s protest.  

“Intersectional feminists understand the nuanced interplay of all women’s challenges, especially those who do not have born privilege.”


‘We will not be intimidated’: Protest against Cowichan anti-trans event planned for this weekend

Initially, around a year ago, this event was cancelled due to its subject matter, however after Murphy and the organizers of Pushing Pride had a legal team get involved with the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD), the event was reinstated on the date it occurred. 

In addition to the protesters opposing the views of the panellists, they were also protesting the CVRD for allowing an event they considered to be dangerous to be happening. 

“As a parent of transgender youth it feels vitally important to me that we support having safe and inclusive environments within our communities,” said an anonymous protester. 

“Hosting an event at a community center [sic] that claims to be a safe environment goes against that.”

Rather than meeting the panel and its attendees with anger and hatred, the organizers of this protest said they were able to show up in a way that was uplifting, energetic and fun. 

They added that no physical violence occurred during their protest, however some people showed up in opposition of the protest. Organizers say that these individuals heckled, shamed and tried to instigate violence from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in attendance. 

In addition to protesting this panel, organizers from Revolve Cowichan, a grassroots organization who engage in community actions such as this protest, also managed to gather several boxes of mutual aid donations to be given to various women’s shelters across Cowichan Valley. 

“Mutual aid is important to me as a marginalized individual,” said one of the organizers of the protest. 

“Marginalized communities benefit from mutual aid by supporting each other — any community can only grow stronger when we help fill in the gaps and provide a larger support system.”

To conclude the rationale behind Saturday’s protest, its organizers say that they proudly stand up for women’s rights and safety, but this has to include trans women. 

They added that conversations about sexual abusers, sexism and all forms of oppression are crucial, but they must not be falsely equated with transgender and queer identities.

Curtis Blandy

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