Canadian school trustee criticized
for statements on transgender persons:
Barry Neufeld is an elected trustee for the School District of Chilliwack -- a city of about 90,000 people that is located about 60km (37 miles) miles East of Vancouver, British Columbia, in Western Canada. Pink News reported that he recently posted an attack on Facebook against the World Health Organizaton (WHO), for its support of equal rights for transgender persons, it's statements on the Coronavirus pandemic, and its statements about abortion access. 1 He wrote:
"It just dawned on me! Who is perpetuating all this fear over the dreaded coronavirus?"
"Why is it the World Health Organization, the same outfit that claims easy access to abortion is a human right, and that gender is NOT binary: pre-pubescent children should be allowed to choose their own gender, sterilise themselves, and pretend they have successfully changed their gender to comply with what they FEEL they are. ..."
He then cited Wikipedia to attack Dr. Theresa Tam -- Canada’s chief medical health officer -- claiming that the doctor is "suspected" of being transgender, and attempted to misgender her.
"If this person, who has spent a major portion of their life deceiving people as to who [she] truly is and is now a corrupt player in the World Health Organization, why should we believe anything [she] says?"
Teri Mooring, president of the BC Teacher’s Federation, said:
"It’s particularly undermining of the efforts of the entire system which is wrapped around keeping our children safe, especially now. It is even more disturbing that the choice was made to make these comments at this particular point in time where we know a lot of our families are self-isolating, that we have students who are particularly vulnerable during these times and often times these are our LGBTQ children." 2
Neufeld's posting has since been deleted from his Facebook page. 2
Rob Fleming, BC’s minister of education, called the post "the height of irresponsibility." He and said he would refer Neufeld to the ... human rights commissioner for spreading "... false news in the middle of a pandemic. ... This person is not just a private citizen, this is somebody who is well-known as an elected official and involved in the responsibilities of elected office, in this case, looking after the well-being of children and youth in his school district. ... It’s particularly reprehensible at a time when the mental health and well-being of our students, all students, LGBTQ students included, is paramount for all of us to be concerned about."
Kaitlyn Bogas, an advocate for equal rights for transgender persons said that Neufeld’s comments amounted to hate speech and carried more weight as they came from an elected official. She said:
"If you’re in an elected position, with those kind comments, there should be a mechanism in whatever jurisdiction you’re elected in that you could be removed." 3
- Emma Powys Mourice, "Elected school official under fire for spreading ‘unhinged’ transgender coronavirus conspiracy theory," Pink News, 2020-MAY-11, at: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/
- "Chilliwack trustee Barry Neufeld's notorious post about Dr. Theresa Tam disappears off his Facebook page," 2020-MAY-10, https://www.straight.com/
- "Awful, disturbing, troubling': Educators condemn Chilliwack trustee's transphobic COVID-conspiracy post," City Nees, 2020-MAY-10, at: https://www.citynews1130.com/
Copyright © 2020 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2020-MAY-14
Author: B.A. Robinson