Colourful chalk artwork covered the sidewalk and front steps of the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre Friday (May 19) evening as a rally was held before social media personality Jordan Peterson’s sold-out show started.
University of Victoria students Prym Goodacre and Cleo Philp organized the rally in response to Peterson’s controversial views of the LGBTQ2+ community.
Peterson, a former University of Toronto professor, has been criticized for not using his trans students’ preferred pronouns in the classroom and has been criticized on social media for what has been percieved as misogynistic and anti-trans opinions. Peterson is on tour for his new book Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, a follow up to 12 Rules for Life.
Goodacre started organizing the rally Monday and since then she said she has already been called “a whole lot of slurs.” She told the crowd at the rally she saw the event described as “a bunch of violent anarchists wearing masks, too afraid to show their faces.”
“We’re here to celebrate the inherent joy of being queer,” said Goodacre. “Jordan Peterson has used his massive platform to try to silence queer voices and intimidate queer voices. So we’re here to show him what the community looks like and that we are a group that won’t be silenced and won’t be intimidated.”
The message Philp wanted to get across at the rally was that “people across the country know that their is joy and flourishing that can go on parallel to Jordan Peterson’s rhetoric.”
To minimize conflict, the rally ended around 45 minutes before Peterson’s show started. Organizers asked rally participants to not interact with or confront Peterson’s supporters. Iced tea and waters were passed out, along with chalk to write messages against trans-hate.
“By bringing love to this space and by bringing love to Petersonians – his fans – we can build a stronger culture, a stronger Victoria. And I think it’s important to lay out that blueprint to other queer communities across the country,” said Philp.
While Peterson’s discussion panel took place inside the arena, at UVic’s David Lam Auditorium, a panel titled Unpacking Peterson took place. Hosted by political science professor Simon Glezos and others, the event’s web page said they will dive into “healthy dialogue about how to desensitise masculine empowerment from the misogyny and trans-phobia Peterson is selling.”
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