By: Anonymous

What’s the difference between an angry yellow vest and an angry queer or 2SLGBTQ+ person?


There’s no question of that in my mind, or in the minds of most other like-minded people in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, especially when it comes to the recent yellow vest attacks at Hamilton Pride . The question we’re asking is: why are there still people that don’t think so?

People who insist “both sides” have done something wrong. People who insist that if the queer community stopped being so “unreasonable”, there could be a productive discussion in which everything would be resolved. People who sigh with a sort of martyred world-weariness as they ask: “why can’t we all just get along?”

Countless Twitter posts and opinion pieces have been made touting those views, particularly by heterosexual individuals who don’t have our community’s lived experience. People who don’t understand this struggle, who just want things to be “peaceful”.

Has anyone ever considered that we are the ones who would very much like “peaceful”?

I, for one, would love the peace to celebrate my bisexuality in the park, proudly wearing as much blue, pink and purple as I could possibly fit on my body. There is nothing I would have liked more than to go to Pride Hamilton without fearing attack by religious extremists. Or to go to the “Hamilton for who?” rally without feeling my stomach drop as I read the words “Yellow Vest meetup point” written in chalk on the pavement just outside the bounds of the event space.

I’d love to walk around downtown Hamilton now without worrying about the yellow vest demonstrations at City Hall. Without wondering if, somehow, this will be the day the wrong person will sense that I am a queer woman. Without tensing my entire body every time I see a flash of neon yellow out of the corner of my eye.

The ones who don’t want things to be “peaceful” are the right wing extremists who attacked Hamilton Pride unprovoked. I don’t approve at all of the word “protest” in this context; that connects this group far too closely with legitimate community organizers trying to raise awareness for LGBTQ+, feminist, and environmental issues, among others. No, it was an attack, and so it should always be called.

More specifically it was an attack by a group that is anti-Semitic, anti-2SLGBTQ+, and Islamophobic, among other things. An angry queer or 2SLGBTQ+ person is angry because their right to celebrate their identity has been violated, and public institutions have been incredibly insufficient in protecting it. An angry yellow vest is angry because members of marginalized communities they hate dare to exist in public spaces.

Equating these two groups in their anger, especially in Hamilton right now, is harmful beyond belief. And no, the 2SLGBTQ+ community will not be “getting along” with people that consider it their “right” to attack them at their own celebration.

Furthermore, opening oneself to “reasonable” diplomacy is not the way to go. Hate groups do not act in good faith. They cannot be “reasoned” with. And if the community has to take a hard stance when the alternative is politely standing still to be hit with helmets, so be it.

Many of those who use these “both sides” arguments do not, or do not choose to, understand the social context behind these two different types of anger. It’s easy to not understand when it poses no direct threat to one’s daily life or existence. It’s easy to think of this as a homogenous “disturbance” when one doesn’t understand the demands these two sides are making.

The extremists want the 2SLGBTQ+ and queer communities to stop existing publicly and to live in fear.

The queer/2SLGBGTQ+ community would very much like to hold a Pride event in the park (which quite a few children and teens were at, by the way) without wondering if they’re going to make it home safely. Something that they currently cannot do.

I, for one, think the difference is as clear as crystal.

By: Pavle Arezina

I attended a talk from psychology professor Jordan Peterson on March 17, 2017 at McMaster. What I and others saw and experienced was shameful. It was a failure on the university security for doing nothing, a failure as a student body for not being able to listen to an opposing opinion without spouting vitriol and a failure on McMaster for condoning this behaviour.

Have we, as a respected university, come to a point where opinions deemed invasive to someone’s safe space must be stamped out immediately? This crusade led by the select few to destroy the ability to speak freely about certain topics that offend them is a dangerous trend that needs to be addressed at McMaster.

At the event, I saw more people convert to Peterson’s view on topics he has discussed because of the unethical behaviour shown by the protestors. There were many who only wanted to have an honest debate about the pros and cons of Jordan Peterson’s stance on Bill C-16 and other issues.

Through the barrage of hate sent by these vocal protestors, Peterson calmly spoke to the majority who strained to hear the message he was stating. Even more impressive was that he tried to start a dialogue with the protestors at the beginning of the lecture, despite the fact that the three professors planned for the panel dropped out due to pressure from this minority. The drone of slurs he received made it clear that he would be getting nowhere.

Protesting had the opposite effect of what they are trying to achieve. You think being screamed at and equated to a worthless human being will make me consider your opinion more valid than a person who is offering open discussion?

Where was the campus security to remove these people? The amount of people in the room alone should have caused them to eject anyone not in a seat due to the fire hazard. They did not want to appear discriminatory against a certain subset of people. They did not want to remove people who are clearly disrupting the event, clearly getting into Peterson’s face and presenting a safety hazard.

It seemed as though McMaster was scared of damaging their reputation, and was willing to risk the safety of their students instead of attempting to remove the protestors.

It is clear that there is a majority of students who wish to educate themselves and learn more on topics that interest them. The more open we are to considering ideas that are different, discussing the merits of them and debating in a civil manner, the better off as a university we are.

We have sacrificed our ability to critically think about issues in the name of not offending every group on campus.

As a society, imposing views on a group of people is never an answer to any issue we face. Instead, we should collectively come to a solution that addresses the issues we all face. Our neighbours to the south represent what can happen when you demonize a set of people on their beliefs instead of engaging in healthy debates.

I am not saying to approve anything anyone wants to preach about. People who incite violence towards groups or doesn’t follow the rules set forth by the university should clearly be denied access to a platform. We should not get rid of events and clubs that support and provide a place of safety for those marginalized.

All we can do is take a long hard look at the state of free speech at our campus and ask whether more can be done to protect it.

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