The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of British Columbia (FPSE) proudly stands in solidarity with trans people and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community across the province on September 20. This day is an opportunity to reflect on the pervasive threats facing the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in our province and across Canada. Despite some movement forward, this has been a painful year for the community, as political opportunists have joined forces with regressive groups seeking to turn back the clock on 2SLGBTQIA+ rights. Our 2SLGBTQIA+ allies, colleagues, and friends have become scapegoats and proxies for cynical, political purposes, and the community is under real threat, as this rhetoric can and does metastasize into violence.
As educators, we envision a campus, a classroom, and a learning environment that are founded on curiosity, inclusivity, compassion, and solidarity. We believe these values are integral to countering the ignorance, misinformation, and hate the 2SLGBTQIA+ community has been subject to in the past year. The recent backlash against the expansion of basic rights and the opposition to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) education are a direct attack on those values, and it is incumbent on all of us to stand up against hate and bigotry in all its forms. Hate has no place in our classrooms, and as the threats to 2SLGBTQIA+ rights coalesce and gather momentum, FPSE recommits to being allies in our communities and classrooms and working to ensure that our campuses are safe places to learn, work, and play for faculty, staff, and students.
We encourage all of our members to join in solidarity and raise our voices in support of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community on September 20. But just as importantly, we also look at this day as an opportunity to recommit ourselves on a daily basis to using our agency, individually and collectively, to protect our allies and stand up to bullies wherever they appear. An attack on the safety and dignity of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is an attack on all.
In concert with our partners in the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED), here are some actions you can take to support our community:
• Join BCFED and union leaders and members at one of the many grassroots counter-protests being organized throughout BC. You can find information on them here.
• Encourage our political leaders and your MLA to condemn these actions. You can find their contact information here: https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members.
• Ask BC’s Human Rights Commissioner to publicly denounce this direct invasion of human rights and the BC Human Rights Code: email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Consider making a financial or in-kind donation to local groups and networks that are coordinating counter-protest actions, as these are often led by trans and queer volunteers. Contact a local group to see what help they need most.
For 2SLGBTQIA+ community members who are impacted by the ongoing rise in hate speech and rallies and need support, here are some resources available to you:
• Trans Care BC: http://www.phsa.ca/transcarebc/
• Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre: https://cwhwc.com/resources/
• Transgender Map of resources: https://www.transgendermap.com/resources/canada/british-columbia/
• 2 Spirits of BC: https://2spiritsbc.com/resource-list/
• Gender Generations Project: https://www.gendergenerations.org/resources/
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.