Video: Grad Student Faces University Inquisition For “Transphobic” Thought Crime

By Julie Roys
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This is one of the most chilling exchanges I’ve ever heard, revealing the shocking level to which the thought police are exerting their influence on college campuses and obliterating free speech. 

Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate student and TA at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, dared to show a video clip featuring University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, who has famously refused to use gender pronouns other than “he” or “she.”  For this, Shepherd was labeled transphobic and accused of trans-violence and creating a toxic environment. 

Shepherd also was called in to face an inquisition comprised of Wilfrid Laurier administration and select faculty.  Shepherd valiantly defends free speech and the importance of allowing all opinions to be aired and debated within the university context.  But her inquisitors will have none of it, and even equate challenging the LGBTQ agenda to white supremacy and Hitler. This I find incredibly ironic.  If anyone is acting like Hitler in this scenario, it’s the ones harassing this brave grad student for simply introducing a banned opinion.  Listen and weep.

Transcript of dialogue between Wilfried Laurier University administrators and faculty and graduate student Lindsay Shepherd (LS):

Admin: “. . . how it might have been seen as problematic by some of the students, or even threatening?”

LS: I don’t see how someone would rationally see it as threatening.  I can see how it might challenge their existing ideas, but for me, that’s the spirit of the university – challenging ideas that you already have. And I don’t know who this came from.  I’d be interested to see the original complaint or complaints ‘cause like, I don’t really have any context as to what exactly their problem was.

Admin: (inaudible)

“Am I supposed to comfort them, and make sure that they are insulated away from this?  Like, is that what the point of this is?”

LS: The thing is, can you shield them from those ideas?  Am I supposed to comfort them, and make sure that they are insulated away from this?  Like, is that what the point of this is? Because to me that is so against what a university is about, so against it. I was not taking sides. I was presenting both arguments.

Admin: “So the thing of it is about this is, if you’re presenting something like this, it uh, you want to think about the kind of teaching climate you’re creating.  And this is actually, these arguments, are counter to the Canadian Human Rights Code, ever since I know that you’ve talked about, uh, C16, ever since this passed, it is discriminatory to be targeting someone, uh, due to their gender identity or gender expression.  So bringing something like that up in class, not critically, I understand that you’re trying to like –

LS:  It was critical. I introduced it critically.

Admin: How so? Like as in–

LS: Like I said, it was in the spirit of debate. 

Admin: Okay, in the spirit of the debate is slightly different than being like, okay, this is, is like a problematic idea that we want to unpack.

LS: But that’s taking sides!

Admin: Yes.

LS: Like it’s taking sides for me to be like, ‘Oh look at this guy, like everything that comes out of his mouth is BS but we’re going to watch anyway.’

Admin: So I understand the position that you’re coming from and your positionality, but the reality is that it has created a, a toxic climate for some of the students. It, you know, it’s –

LS:  How many?

Admin: It’s great that –

LS: Who? Like how many?

Admin: Okay

LS: One?

Admin: May I speak?

LS: I have no, I have no concept of like how many people complained, like what their complaint was. You haven’t shown me the complaint.

Admin: Yes, I understand that this is upsetting, but there’s also confidentiality matters

LS: The number of people is confidential?

“You’re perfectly welcome to your own opinions, but when you’re bringing it into the context of the classroom, that can become problematic, and that can become something that . . .  creates an unsafe learning environment.”

Admin: Yes. It is one or multiple students who have come forward, saying that this is something they were concerned about and that it made them uncomfortable. You’re perfectly welcome to your own opinions, but when you’re bringing it into the context of the classroom, that can become problematic, and that can become something that is, that creates an unsafe learning environment for students.

LS: But when they leave the university, they’re going to be exposed to these ideas, so I don’t see how I’m doing a disservice to the class by exposing them to ideas that are really out there.  (begins crying) And I’m sorry I’m crying.  I’m stressed out because this to me is so wrong. 

Admin: I understand

LS: So wrong.

Admin 2/faculty: Can I mention the gender violence, um, gender and sexual violence policy?

Admin: Ya, please.

Admin 2/faculty: So, under that, um, gender violence doesn’t just include sexual violence, but it also includes, um, targeting folks based on gender, so that includes trans-phobia, bi-phobia, homophobia. All those sorts of things are protected under the policy and so those are things that Laurier has upheld as values, as well as the Ontario Human Rights Code. And so those are things we’re responsible for uh not impacting our students in that way, and not um spreading transphobia.

LS: Okay, so what I have a problem with is, I didn’t target anybody.  Who did I target?

Admin 2/faculty: Trans folks.

LS:  How?  By telling them ideas that are really out there – by telling them that?  By telling them?  Really?

Admin:  It’s not just telling them.  In legitimizing this as a valid perspective, as this is another valid perspective –

LS:  At a university, all perspectives are valid! 

Admin: That’s not necessarily true. 

LS:  Well, this – this is something (??) in current society.  And I don’t feel the need to shield people from what’s going on in society.  To imagine this is happening at a university is just bad.

Admin: Okay, just to give you a context.  Also within all of this that is happening, um, Laurier is being blanketed with white supremacist, um, posters, currently.  There’s another debate in society, which is whether or not North America should be a set of white nationalist states and that it should be ethnically cleansed of other people.  That is also a current debate in society.  Would you show something in your tutorial that had, you know, white supremacists and non-white supremacists debating whether or not other people should live in North America? Is that something you would show? 

LS:  If that was related to the content of the week, and we were talking about right-wing speakables, maybe.  It depends on the content, like, if there’s really ideas that are existing out there like that then, I mean.  The thing is, I don’t see what’s transphobic about showing a video that of Jordan Peterson?  He’s a real person.  He’s out there. 

Admin: He is a real person. But he’s a real person who has engaged in targeted behavior that, uh, or, or targeting of, of trans- students, um, in the particular like, like, basically doxing them, if you know the term, like giving out their personal information so that they’ll be attacked, uh harassed, so that death threats will find them.  Um, this is something he has done to his own students.  He has done to other students.  Um, and this is also something other students are aware of.  So this is, this is basically like playing – not to kind of, do the thing where everything is kind of compared to Hitler.  But this is like neutrally playing a speech by, by Hitler, or Milo Yiannopoulos, or Gamergate.  This is the kind of thing that departmentally, in terms of like critical communications studies, and in terms of the course of what we’re trying to do, is diametrically opposed to everything that we’ve been talking about in the lectures.  Was this one of the reasons that you wanted to do this, because it was like, uh, a reaction to the lecture content?

“I don’t get why I’m being seen as transphobic by virtue . . . of me just, just saying, just stating, just exposing people to an idea.  I don’t get how that label’s attached to me.”

LS:  No, we were talking about gender language.  And I was asking them to structure sentences using zhe, or using his or her, and then we talked about the societal context of it.  So
I don’t get why I’m being seen as transphobic by virtue, by proxy of me just, just saying, just stating, just exposing people to an idea.  I, I don’t get how that label’s attached to me. I really don’t.

Admin:  It’s more about the effect, rather than the intention if that – like obviously that wasn’t your intention, but nevertheless, it disturbed and upset students enough –

LS: So everything’s about those students who are disturbed?  Everything’s catered to them?

Admin/faculty 3: Uh, can I, uh, just offer a different perspective? Um, was this a tutorial based on grammar?

LS: Um-hmm.

Admin/faculty 3: And it was focused on the use of pronouns and the use of grammar?

LS:  Um-hmm.

Admin/faculty 3:  Um, is grammar not something that’s not really subject to debate? 

LS:  But the “they” and the “his” or “her” – that’s a huge debate right now.  Can we use “they” in the singular?

Admin/faculty 3: But you do know that “they” has actually been used in the singular.  It’s grammatically –

LS:  Ya, that was in the video I showed to the class and that was the point I made. The thing is what’s, what’s kind of funny is that I disagree with Jordan Peterson.  I disagree, but um, you guys seem to think that I’m like pro-Jordan Peterson or something.  That’s very funny.

Admin/faculty 3: Well, do you understand how what happened was contrary to – sorry ??, what was the, what was the policy? Gender –

Admin/faculty 2:  Gender and sexual violence –

Admin/faculty 3:  Gender and sexual violence policy.  Like, do you understand how –

LS:  But sorry, what did I violate in that policy? 

Admin/faculty 2:  Um, so, gender-based violence – uh, transphobia in that policy.  Causing harm, um, to trans- students by uh (pause) bringing their, uh, identity as invalid or their pronouns as invalid. 

Admin: Or something that’s –

Admin/faculty 2:  That’s potentially invalid.

LS:  So I caused harm, violence?

Admin/faculty 2:  Which under the Ontario Human Rights Code are a protected thing and also something that Laurier holds as a value. 

LS:  Okay, by proxy me showing this video, I’m transphobic and I caused harm, violence?  So be it.  I can’t do anything to control that. 

Admin: Okay, so that’s not something you have an issue with?  The fact that that happened?  Like –

LS:  I mean, I, I know, I know in my heart that I expressed to the class that I’m not transphobic.  And if, if any of them, I don’t know – again, I don’t know what they said. But I made my, I don’t think I gave away any kind of political position of mine. I remained very neutral.  And uh –

Admin:  That’s, that’s kind of the problem.


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5 thoughts on “Video: Grad Student Faces University Inquisition For “Transphobic” Thought Crime”

  1. Wow. Deeply shameful that college professors would gang up on a grad student, never really presenting a case. They certainly can’t claim any modicum of tolerance. They exposed their bigotry quite quickly. She got blindsided by their intimidation. How ironic.

  2. “Admin/faculty 3: Um, is grammar not something that’s not really subject to debate?” Actually, one of the main reasons that you are playing Big Brother here is because you are forcing acceptance of and allegiance to your new, irrational law of grammar: that what has been basic grammar (itself based on basic biology) for thousands of years is – poof! – now not correct. Hate to be so “violent”, but the rational, collegiate response to your patently false assertions is to debate them. Unless you meant, “Um, this new grammar is not something we will allow ANYone to debate.”

  3. I live literally 3 blocks away from Wilfrid Laurier University. A good friend of mine is currently in a Masters Program for Chaplaincy so she can visit people in Hospitals and Nursing Homes who either agree to a visit or request one. She sees this kind of attitude from the Professor(s). Not all, but it is a concern to her that she has to watch what she says (as a Christian – the class has other religions represented) or become marginalized herself and could end up in this kind of inquisition. Brutal. In Ontario (provincially) and in Canada (nationally) we are in a battle to protect our Charter of Rights which are supposed to be “Guaranteed” in our Constitution. The political correct agenda is going way too far and has changed the landscape of thought in our country. It is getting so we have to be careful of what we say or say next should we be in violation and could be arrested and charged with “Hate Speak”. Daunting to say the least.

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