Why a Hal­i­fax trans woman won’t be there Satur­day

StarMetro Halifax - - FRONT PAGE - Jayde Tynes for Metro | Hal­i­fax

A Hal­i­fax trans­gen­der woman says she will not be at­tend­ing Satur­day’s women’s march in the city af­ter or­ga­niz­ers apol­o­gized for ver­bal at­tacks against her on the event’s Face­book page.

Jade Byard Peek, a Black and Mi’kmaq trans­gen­der woman and the na­tional woman’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of Stu­dents, said she’s not at­tend­ing as she’s afraid she will be ver­bally at­tacked.

Peek is still call­ing on oth­ers to go how­ever, and “hold signs, use your voice to call out is­sues.”

“This fall­ing out has built a net­work of sol­i­dar­ity,” she said about her de­ci­sion.

The ver­bal at­tacks against Peek started last Satur­day af­ter she posted a state­ment on the women’s march Face­book page ex­press­ing her con­cerns about in­clu­siv­ity, par­tic­u­larly for Black, Indige­nous and/or queer peo­ple.

Over the next 18 hours, the post gar­nered more than 500 com­ments. The back-and­forth ex­changes on the post saw many peo­ple tar­get­ing Peek’s gen­der with hate­ful com­ments.

“I made a post on the women’s march page and in­stantly got at­tacked,” she said.

The next day, or­ga­niz­ers were made aware of what was hap­pen­ing and deleted the post, and turned off all com­ments on the page.

One of the Face­book com­ments mocked the high sui­cide rates in the trans­gen­der com­mu­nity.

“I’m sup­pose to give af that David feels like a girl and un­less I feed his delu­sions, I’m re­spon­si­ble for his sui­cide,” it read.

An­other com­ment ref­er­enced the women’s march event di­rectly, “As a woman I cer­tainly have the right to say males don’t need to be cen­tered in fem­i­nism or (a) woman’s space.”

Many peo­ple who came to Peek’s de­fence crit­i­cized the or­ga­niz­ers of the woman’s march for not re­spond­ing fast enough to the at­tacks.

Rana Za­man, march or­ga­nizer, said in an in­ter­view with Metro that by the time they re­al­ized what was hap­pen­ing they “re­acted quickly.”

“As we were read­ing, bub­bles were just pop­ping up and pop­ping up, more and more ag­gres­sion it was so painful to watch, so we said OK the best thing to do is just shut it down and deal with it af­ter­ward,” Za­man said.

Peek dis­agreed with the choice of tak­ing down the post and com­ments, not­ing “by delet­ing all the com­ments now you’ve just erased ed­u­ca­tional mo­ments.”

“We made the wrong de­ci­sion,” Za­man said.

Or­ga­niz­ers have since reached out to Peek and asked if she would like to make an­other state­ment on the page, but with the com­ments turned off.

Peek said she is de­cid­ing whether to fol­low through with a new post.

“This is a live ex­am­ple that we can’t hide vi­o­lence,” said Peek.


Ha­ley Ryan/metro file

Jade Byard Peek, trans­gen­der woman and na­tional woman’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of Stu­dents, speaks at a rally protest­ing NSCAD Univer­sity staff cuts in 2015.

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