LGBTQ+ community members express concern over Jordan Peterson’s Seattle event

Community members have expressed concern that Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson will appear at Paramount next month.

Since the announcement in January of Peterson’s May 3 and 4 book tour stops, 20 community members have responded to Peterson’s appearances via email, phone calls and tweets, a Seattle Theater Group spokesperson said. worry. One community member raised concerns about anti-Semitism, others raised the issue of Peterson’s characterization of gender dysphoria as a “sociological contagion” akin to “satanic ritual abuse,” on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in January Interview. The event is booked by Live Nation, the entertainment company that is renting out the STG venue.

Many people contacted by STG have called for the event to be cancelled, which the group has said it will not do. A spokesman for the company said they knew some people might protest during Peterson’s two-day engagement in Seattle.

“There are people in my community who are so upset and so angry that they might demonstrate,” said Robert Foss, interim executive director and director of legal services for Entre Hermanos, which serves the Latino LGBTQ+ community in Washington state. “We have clients battling mental health issues and we have clients battling the aftermath of the severe and violent trauma they suffered. So those words hurt. He may have the right to say whatever he wants, but he has no right Visit any forum he wants. We’re not imposing anything on him. We’re saying, ‘Your actions are hurting us.'”

Former University of Toronto psychology professor Peterson rose in popularity after his video in 2016 YouTube page goes viral In addition to his opposition to Canada’s Bill C-16, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Much of the discussion surrounding Peterson’s objections has centered on the idea that the government would violate his free speech if he was asked to use transgender or non-binary pronouns.

“If a standard trans person wants to be seen as him or her, my feeling is, I’ll call you based on the role you seem to play,” Peterson told the BBC in 2016, when controversy surrounding his views sparked.

According to the Transgender Journalists Association’s style guide, some consider the term “transgender” outdated or offensive.

Legal experts dismissed Peterson’s arguments about Bill C-16, with University of Toronto law professor Brenda Cossman telling the CBC that the bill, which covers both federally and federally regulated industries, and passed in 2017, was “very narrow in scope” and just Simply put “the Federal Code of Human Rights in line with the content of provincial protections”.

Bill C-16, the Canadian Civil Rights Act, added the term “gender identity or expression” in three places, but made no mention of pronouns.

While Cosman said the bill could cover situations where an individual “repeatedly and consistently refuses to use a pronoun of someone’s choice”, a human rights tribunal must determine whether this constitutes discrimination or harassment. A former colleague of Peterson’s at the University of Toronto told the BBC back in 2016 that Peterson was alarmist and obsessed with the “slippery slope fallacy”.

A representative for Peterson at Creative Artists Agency did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Some Peterson is already considered a champion of the First Amendment and free speech. Peterson’s YouTube channel has over 4.9 million subscribers and over 340 million video views. But Peterson has also been criticized by leading climate scientists for his beliefs about climate change and has been called by the human rights movement “an anti-LGBTQ extremist who uses his platform as a media pundit to spread misinformation and fuel dangerous hatred.”

“I believe in free speech and he can say what he wants to say,” Foss said. “Frankly, I come from the beginnings of human rights, and human rights in my community have been devalued for generations, for centuries. So when someone shows up in a big forum and says what he’s saying all over the U.S. and Canada It will hurt a lot.”

After hearing the concerns of community members, STG held a staff meeting to discuss bookings and hear internal concerns. they also have Consult other venues Hosted Peterson in recent months. Peterson’s 2022 “Beyond Order: 12 Rules for Living” book tour kicked off this January, with dates in most of the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

According to a spokesperson, STG staff would not be asked to do so if they did not feel comfortable working at Peterson’s event. STG does not intend to cancel Peterson’s appearance, citing financial liability for ticket sales, a breach of contract that could jeopardize the organization’s relationship with the Creative Artists Agency (which accounts for about 20 percent of STG’s touring artists), and the potential for a lawsuit by CAA, Live Nation and Peterson himself.

Nicole Lynn Perry, paralegal and direct service coordinator for the Lavender Rights Project, which provides essential resources for the black trans, gender-diverse, and intersex community in the Washington area, drew attention to a specific part of STG’s programming philosophy. The The section concludes: “STG is committed to viewing controversy as an opportunity to foster dialogue in the spirit of inclusion, social progress, employee cohesion, and advance our vision of being the ‘Theatre of the People’.”

“Yes, they may be contractually obligated to do so,” Perry said, “but the problem is, accepting the controversy — we’ve had some states that have raised the idea that trans kids can’t even be socially transformed … trans kids are trans Gender adults are attacked just for being who they are.”

While STG rents out their venues to outside companies — which can then be used by organizations like Live Nation, which booked Peterson’s Seattle stop — a spokesperson for STG said, “As long as the bill doesn’t promote hate speech, the situation That’s it,” violent or criminal activity. In response, the group said it needed to re-examine its tenancy procedures and program policies.

“This engagement fails to deliver on our vision for equity and inclusion; it creates barriers rather than removing barriers for communities,” an STG spokesperson said in a statement. “We will be re-examining our rental policy to help prevent similar harms in the future. We are grateful to the community members who have contacted us, especially the transgender, non-binary and Jewish community members who have contacted us.”

Perry also pointed to the disappointing parallels between Peterson’s appearance and Dave Chappell’s 2021 Climate Commitment Arena show that made trans leaders feel that Chappell’s appearance was part of his controversial campaign. A slap in the face is followed by a Netflix comedy special.

“I’ve been given an equal opportunity to speak,” Perry said, “but at the same time, whenever someone gets into hate speech like Jordan Peterson and Dave Chappell did, it’s not like, ‘Oh, He’s just for that.’ You know as well as I do that if you give someone like that a stage, they’ll do their best to use it to show what they’ve been showing before.”

Such bookings result in an LGBTQ+ community that feels unheard, or at least not fully heard, Perry said.

In response to the community’s concerns, an STG spokesperson said the organization will convene its directors and board leaders to discuss the company’s values ​​and revisit its programming philosophy and practices, and will consult with the ACLU to better understand hate speech and free speech. The company will also conduct community conversations around controversial artists, discussing processes, implications and possibilities with the communities most affected. This could take the form of “People’s Theater Talks,” STG’s series of discussions focused on racial and social justice in the performing arts today, or through other as-yet-unidentified tools.

STG the organization said It will commit to investing more resources in anti-bias training and education of its staff and “exploring the possibility of creating” organizational affinity groups. It will also create processes and procedures to review upcoming bookings through an anti-racism, anti-oppression and intersectional lens.

Aaron Reader, STG’s Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access, or the key for DEIA moving forward is “STG really just gives us more time internally to discuss artists, their impact and the communities we serve and potential artists How to have a direct or indirect impact.”

Feedback received from the company’s DEIA community consultation session will be shared with leadership as STG examines potential further changes. Readers acknowledge that STG bringing in controversial artists and speakers like Peterson puts more pressure on the company to work to align its goals with the community groups with which they work closely.

“The steps outlined here by no means fully address what we must do to prioritize and focus the needs of members of our LGBTQIA2+ community,” STG executive director Josh LaBelle said in a statement. “In many ways, we will never fully realize our vision of being a ‘The People’s Theater’ because we must always be in dialogue with and responding to the community’s voice.”

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