5) "WE WILL NOT BE ERASED, WE WILL FIGHT BACK"

(From a speech by PV supporter Clara Sorrenti to a Nov. 4 rally in London, Ontario)

 

Hello everyone, thank you so much for coming out today. It’s so important that, given what has happened over the past year, we rally our community and our allies together.

We have witnessed a shift towards far-right politics in the United States, as well as here at home.


In the United States, the Trump Administration are trying to erase transgender people from existence: they have been revising government websites to remove mentions of transgender people; they have reversed Obama-era decisions that allowed for trans youth to access the bathroom of their choice; and most recently, the Department of

Justice ruled that employers can legally discriminate against transgender employees.


And it’s not just in the United States where we see this shift in attitudes. Here in Ontario, with the election of Doug Ford, we saw swift and extreme changes to the sex-ed curriculum. Our province went back to using the same sex-ed curriculum that was used in 1998 and now the concerns of transgender and gay people are no longer taught about in sex-ed classes across Ontario. The Conservative Party even set up a snitch line so students and parents can report teachers who fail to teach the old curriculum over the modern one. In the 2019-2020 school year, Doug Ford and the Conservative Party plan to re-design the curriculum, and when that comes, it will be the duty of all parents, teachers, students, and their friends, family, and allies to fight back to ensure that, both inside and outside the classroom, we are teaching our youth about transgender people and doing so in a way where people can learn to understand, respect, and live alongside transgender people instead of forcing them to stay in the closet.

And these issues are also playing out on university campuses in Ontario, where there is concern that Doug Ford’s recent Free Speech directive will be used to protect the discriminatory behaviour of those holding regressive and often fascist views. There is concern that this directive will legitimize the misgendering and deadnaming of transgender students. So we can’t give Ford and his policies an inch. This is a time to mobilize and push back.


Across the world, we are witnessing a rise in transphobia and homophobia. In Brazil, Bolsonaro, who has called himself a “proud homophobe” was elected president. He went on record stating that he would rather have his son die in an accident than come out as gay. These are the attitudes that are starting take root all over the globe. During times like these, we need to stand together, because if we don’t, we will watch as we have all of our rights taken from us.


As a member of the Young Communist League, I have participated in countless demonstrations here in London against the crypto-fascist organization PEGIDA. They represent a growing threat to our communities, as they are finding new strength far too close to home. During the municipal elections in Toronto, PEGIDA supported Faith Goldy, a white supremacist who ran for Mayor. She is a woman who once while on Sun Media said that so-called “bathroom bills” would result in more women being raped, a woman who, during an alt-right podcast, said the infamous 14 words, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”, which was coined by David Lane, a white supremacist terrorist who died in prison while serving a 199-year sentence for racketeering, conspiracy, and the murder of a Jewish radio personality.


The thing I want everyone to take away from what I’m saying today is this: Faith Goldy wasn’t a fringe candidate. Faith Goldy got 3rd place in an election for mayor in the largest city in Canada. The threat that we see in the United States is something that threatens us here at home. We are not safe unless we stay united as a community, and are organized politically. We will not be erased, we will fight back!

 

(The above article is from the November 16-30, 2018, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)