Trent Radio 2023/24 Online Ads
Severn Court (October-August)
Theatre Trent 2023/24
Arthur News School of Fish
Graphic by Evan Robins.

Editorial: I Don't Want Your "Support"

Written by
Evan Robins
and
and
October 1, 2023
Editorial: I Don't Want Your "Support"
Graphic by Evan Robins.

In the crisp early morning of September 20th, 2023, a group of people congregated outside of City Hall. Despite the sunny weather, the atmosphere was bleak. Attendees appeared bedraggled—demoralized not only by the early time of morning, but equally by the matter at hand. 

The congregation was, in practice, a counter-protest to the so-called “Millions March,” allegedly “for children.” In actuality, this purported “March” amounted to a handful of evangelicals, Conservatives, self-avowed neo-Nazis, and zealots of myriad denominations both largely Christian and far-right yelling obscenities and occasionally singing “O Canada” with the nonspecific aims of repealing civil protections for transgender persons, banning “Gender Ideology,” in public education, and outlawing gender-affirming surgery for transgender children.

All in all, the experience was predictably miserable. Unlike in larger cities where anti-trans protesters were decisively outnumbered, in Peterborough the ratio was decidedly less assured and the scale of events far more personable. Agitators got in the faces of counter-protesters, hurling slurs and accusations, shoving, waving flags, and filming proceedings for others sympathetic to their cause watching from home. 

Nonetheless, community members, parents, political organizers, professors and Trent students in the dozens showed up to demonstrate their support for transgender persons—especially trans youth—under attack by the militant, Christonationalist right.

One notable absence, meanwhile, came in the form of the Trent Central Student Association.

Whereas many students made the decision of their own conviction to attend, and some professors went so far as to cancel classes and encourage students to attend the counter-protest, the body possessing theoretically the largest potential for mass student mobilization stayed silent on the matter.

Nary an acknowledgement would be seen on their website or social media that the protest was so much as taking place.

As a matter of fact, the Association representing Trent’s undergraduate students were occupied elsewhere, as while the standoff dragged out downtown they hosted a “Pride Picnic” in the Student Centre’s event space—a fact they heavily promoted despite having posted precisely zero notice of the arguably far more politically significant event taking place at nearly the same time. 

Pithy aspersions about holding picnics indoors aside, the message was, to the students assembled, loud and clear: “you’re on your own with this one.”

The duplicity of ignoring an event of pressing and material importance to the queer community in favour of hosting a pride event of their own implicitly signals to me, as a trans student, that my student association privileges certain in the queer community over others, and that I do not belong in their charmed circle.

While the Association attempted to demonstrate support by imploring attendees to write messages of sympathy on a Pride flag, what little the thought counts for still fails to stop it falling flat. Scrawled slogans on a piece of cloth, after all, do little to assuage the pain of being called a pedophile by those flying a Christian flag.

When school teachers, trade unions, and International Socialists come together in service of practical cause, the absence of a student union in favour of using their members’ collective money to give out pastries and soda pop could not come off as more tone deaf.

I am insulted that my levy fees helped finance this. 

At a time when the rights of transgender people the world over face the most precarity they have in the decades-long fight for legal recognition, material support is needed now more than ever. Yet nonetheless we find ourselves in yet another instance of the world’s most depressingly predictable student union saying one thing and doing another.

Disappointing? Most assuredly. Surprising? Hardly.

Either for fear of not outdoing themselves, or desire to rub salt in the wound, the Association followed up their absence with a statement the next day titled “Letter of Support: No Support for Hate.” I’ll spare you the effort of reading it and tell you this: on few occasions have so many words said so little substantive. 

At the risk of compromising myself with vulgarity and emotion; I don’t want your “support”. I just want you to show the fuck up. 

This so-called “Letter of Support” is merely the latest attempt from a largely ambivalent and thoroughly-ossified institution to forgo responsibility for the wellbeing of their membership, all while clinging to a shallow veneer of progressivism.

The statement is a drabble of generalities, empty trivia, and performative sympathy which nonetheless fails to make any material promises for the trans students supposedly so welcome here at Trent. Faced with the clear and present nature of the material and judicial dangers at hand, this message comes off all the more as an evident farce.

If anything, the title of the letter—”No Support for Hate”—gives it away. What do they expect us to think that means? 

It does not suffice to simply “not support” hate. Hate must be identified and extirpated in each and every instance of its myriad insidious forms. Contemporary transphobia is undeniably violent and tangible. It is not mere words on a page or spoken aloud. Words alone, therefore, make poor weapons in the war against it. 

Anyone can present either image or words to extol their moral high ground, though such a position is quickly lost when the actions one undertakes fail to gel with the sentiments previously espoused. Not only, then, does it make you look bad to fail to support a counter-protest for trans persons all while claiming to support them—it makes you look like liars.

To me, the cherry atop the fetid cake is the list of resources which concludes this apathetic press release. Having not found it within themselves to contribute anything to the cause, the Association defer obligation to other organizations more inclined to support transgender students. 

This coming from a woman who has been rejected funding to cover the cost of her fertility preservation from the TCSA’s Gender Affirming Care Grant—money can be far more illustrative than aphorisms. I take no great delight in disclosing matters of my medical record to the public at large, though in this instance I find it necessary to hammer the point home. 

Unless you’re mustering a lot of money for our support or a lot of people to our defense—both things the TCSA has ample ability to do through their plentiful event and executive retreat funds, and through their having the email address of quite literally every undergraduate student—your words ring hollow when you say you’re on our side.

With all the money and resources at their disposal it is stunning that the TCSA, at every opportunity presented to them, fail to mobilize with any meaningful efficacy. While on previous occasions I’ve merely made point of it, in this instance I make no pretenses of hiding my ire.

Pride is not a costume one can don when it so convenes them. One who has not been subject to the conditions with which trans people in this country are currently faced cannot begin to contemplate empathy with our plight. Trying to maintain the facade of quotidian existence whilst being actively legislated against from all sides is an exercise in perpetual anguish, which must nonetheless be masked in the polite company of cissexuals lest we come off as disturbed hysterics.

Despite our having every right to be incensed with the allyship displayed by those who claim our cause, the trans community must nonetheless prostrate ourselves upon the pedestal of virtue and respectability that we might be conferred an ounce of benevolence under the withering gaze of the privileged cissexual class.

Understand, therefore, why this indiscretion stings all the harder—it is a betrayal of ignorance to the facts at hand. That people can find it within themselves to party whilst others fight on the street for the right of themselves and their children to exist implies either ignorance or contempt to the fight for trans rights, and with the amount of news coverage afforded to the issue, I am forced to conclude the latter.

It is with shame that all cissexuals must contemplate their involvement with Pride henceforth. Do not claim your presence in a parade or a vendors fair makes up for the fact that in our time of need, you failed to be there. If trans people are not afforded the dignity of Pride, then no one else under the rainbow should be. 

Until such time as we all might walk in this world without fear of transgressions against our personhood, you cannot talk of any goddamn solidarity.

Trent Radio 2023/24 Online Ads
Severn Court (October-August)
Theatre Trent 2023/24
Arthur News School of Fish
Written By
Sponsored
Trent Radio 2023/24 Online Ads
Severn Court (October-August)
Theatre Trent 2023/24
Arthur News School of Fish

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Caption text

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

"Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system."
  • adfasdfa
  • asdfasdfasd
  • asfdasdf
  • asdfasdf

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Caption text

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

"Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system."
  • adfasdfa
  • asdfasdfasd
  • asfdasdf
  • asdfasdf