Zenon Donaldson and Alex McEwin at the "Free Speech" rally held at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., Friday Nov. 24, 2017. (Melanie Ferrier/CBC News) About a hundred activists organized a demonstration at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. Friday to show their support for teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd.
Demonstrators stood on the campus lawn demanding that the university changed its free speech policy.
Among the list of people who spoke at the rally was Shepherd, who was sanctioned by the university for showing a video about whether people should use gender-neutral pronouns in class.
The university later apologized for how Shepherd was treated during a meeting with her professor about using the video. Supporters speak
Alex McEwin self identifies as a transgender man. He said he came out to support Shepherd because he didn’t agree with how she was treated and the subsequent Rainbow Centre’s public statement on the issue of identity and language.
"As an individual, I personally disagree and I feel they don’t speak for all queer and trans people in university settings," McEwin said.
"Pride and being out of the closet, can only happen with free speech," he said. "The students should’ve talked to their TA first to address pronoun usage." Counter-protest
Across the street, a crowd of counter-protestors also rallied.
Toby Finlay, who prefers to be referred to as ‘them’ and ‘they’ in pronouns, said they were silently demonstrating to draw attention to the "trans-phobia that’s at the centre of this issue."
"We aren’t diametrically opposed to freedom of speech," Finlay said.
"But most people would agree there are limitations on when that freedom of speech ends and when that becomes hate speech."
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