An expert on human rights law was set to speak Tuesday at McGill University about whether transsexuals should be able to legally change their sex and invade women-only spaces when LGBT activists invaded the space, effectively shutting down the event.
Robert Wintemute, a law professor at King's College London, suggested the censorious uproar was "hysterical" and amounted to further evidence that any discussion of the fallout of the transsexual agenda, particularly for women, is increasingly being stifled.
What are the details?
According to the event page, Wintemute was scheduled to give a talk on Jan. 10 entitled, "The Sex vs. Gender (Identity) Debate in the United Kingdom and the Divorce of LGB from T."
"Since 2018, there has been a debate in the United Kingdom about whether or not the law should be changed to make it easier for a transgender individual to change their legal sex from their birth sex, and about exceptional situations, such as women-only spaces and sports, in which the individual’s birth sex should take priority over their gender identity, regardless of their legal sex," said the event posting.
It added, "This debate inspired the foundation in 2019 of an organisation, LGB Alliance, which rejects the political coalition of LGB and T and challenges some transgender demands, on the basis that they conflict with the rights of lesbian and bisexual women or the rights of children who might grow up to be LGB adults."
Wintemute, a McGill alumnus and trustee of the LGB Alliance, was invited to speak on this topic as well as to his record as a human rights and LGB scholar by the university's Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.
Prof. Frédéric Mégret from the CHRLP suggested there was hope that Wintemute's participation in "critical conversations" about these issues might have been worthwhile.
"We understand that these are not consensual topics. However, we believe they can be productively and robustly discussed in an academic setting and could, in fact, be an opportunity to push back against certain views," said Mégret.
Robust discussion about women's rights on a university campus was apparently too much to bear for some male transsexual activists.
'Hysterical' mob rule
Canadian state media reported that transsexual activist Celeste Trianon, a biological male, sought to silence Wintemute and shut down the event, claiming the event excluded transsexual people's rights and was altogether "transphobic."
"I feel like there's such a tragic irony where someone who is actively working toward dismantling human rights toward one of the most marginalized groups … how such an event can be hosted at the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism," said Trianon.
According to Trianon, a student at another Quebec university, it is "close-minded" for anyone to suggest that the conference of "rights to trans women" means "subtracting from the rights" of real women.
Annie Collin, a real woman prevented from hearing Wintemute speak, told the Montreal Gazette that transsexual activists attacked her friend.
"They pushed her. They threw her phone away. They pretend they're being excluded but they're the people who tell people to get out. And they get madder because someone wants to defend women's rights, homosexuals' and bisexuals' rights. What's the problem about that?"
In a Jan. 6 Instagram post, Trianon claimed the event would "contribute directly to the systemic elimination of trans voices and lives worldwide, as well as the dismantling of human rights as a whole."
Trianon further accused the university of "contributing to the genocide of trans people across the world" in Jan. 10 letter co-signed by five professors at other Canadian universities.
The letter contended that "free speech does not mean having to tolerate hate speech."
This sentiment was evidently shared by the protesters, some of whom prejudged Wintemute's unuttered speech in advance as hateful.
Among the signs hoisted above the mob of anti-speech activists was one that read, "No debate."
The activists can be heard in one video chanting, "We are not here for debate, f*** your systems, f*** your hate."
Contrary to the mob's accusations that he harbored hate or irrational fears, Wintemute suggested that he would never have anything to do with a group that "promotes hate," noting he had 37 years of experience defending human rights.
The professor has worked 15 successful cases challenging discrimination against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in various European and British courts.
Wintemute told CTV News that it is "extremely anti-democratic to interfere with a seminar at a university just because you disagree with the opinions expressed."
"We're supposed to be a democracy with freedom of expression," he said.
Wintemute and the LGB Alliance advocate on behalf of the "many women who are concerned about the presence of male-to-female persons in women-only spaces, which would include changing rooms, prisons, hospital wards, etc.," as well as the real females adversely impacted by the inclusion of men in women's sports.
The event's cancellation served to confirm a trend Wintemute has observed elsewhere.
"I have to thank the protesters for giving me firsthand experience of that intimidation," he said. "Probably the majority of women in this country disagree with some of transgender demands, but they refuse to say so because they will be seen as intolerant."
Trans activists protest speech at McGillyoutu.be