Not about free speech
Re: Instant celebrity a bumpy ride for Shepherd — Dec. 2
I am disgusted by The Record’s coverage of WLU teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd’s rise to fame, and by the letters gushing about Shepherd’s commitment to “freedom of speech.”
Freedom of speech was never at stake in this debacle. The Canadian government won’t punish Shepherd for holding a debate about trans people’s pronouns in her class. She wasn’t even punished by her university. The professor responsible for the course (i.e. her supervisor) merely asked her to submit her lesson plans in advance, which is standard practice.
Scroll through Shepherd’s Twitter feed: Her fervour for “freedom of speech” disappears as soon as her critics exercise it. She and her supporters are really fighting for the freedom to say whatever they want with no consequences, even if — especially if ? — it deters marginalized people from speaking up themselves.
Last month, the Rainbow Community Council’s OutLook Study revealed that 26 per cent of trans people in Waterloo Region have been “hit or beaten up because of their gender identity.” Seventyfive per cent do not feel safe on public transit; 57 per cent avoid using public washrooms, and 25 per cent avoid emergency rooms when they need care.
Who is standing up for them? Lauren Weinberg Waterloo