HERE’S WHY A TRANS-INCLUSIVE FEMINIST MOVEMENT IN CANADA MATTERS TO CCGSD
In recent months, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) and other queer, feminist and youth-focussed organizations have witnessed the growing rise of anti-trans mobilization throughout Canada and internationally. TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) and TERF organizations have been a significant disruption and threat, not only to 2SLGBTQ+ rights, but to organizations like CCGSD whose work aims to affirm 2SLGBTQ+ people and their rights in education and other spaces. Organising against these movements through reaffirming the need for trans-inclusive youth spaces is of the utmost importance to CCGSD.
The demand to organize against country-wide TERF movements for CCGSD is rooted in what many of these groups claim to uphold in their movement: the protection of youth. While these movements claim to be protecting youth from confusion with regard to gender and sexuality, the reality is that these movements hurt all of us. They specifically harm 2SLGBTQ+ people in our communities by perpetuating harmful and rigid conceptions of gender and sexuality. Inclusive curriculums contribute to safer school environments for LGBTQ+ youth, through a reduction in the likelihood of victimization, feeling unsafe at school, and missing school as a result. However, many 2SLGBTQ+ students do not have access to an inclusive curriculum. This contributes to the harmful invalidation of the lived experiences of 2SLGBTQ+ youth and creates opportunities for increased transphobic and trans-exclusionary rhetoric within educational spaces. Furthermore, the messaging within TERF spaces undermines youth bodily autonomy, putting 2SLGBTQ+ people in much graver danger than they ever could be from inclusive educational spaces.
As a youth-focused, national 2SLGBTQ+ organization, the recent mobilization of TERF organizations directly harms our mission in creating safer spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ youth. As we work to educate youth, educators, parents and caregivers, and community members to promote safer spaces, and empower queer and trans youth to become leaders in their communities to foster change, TERF organizations target our work within schools by weaponizing the “safety” of non-trans youth. We have already seen this tactic through TERF organizations referencing how gender and sexuality discussions and workshops confuse youth, calling for the prevention of 2SLGBTQ+ affirming organizations from engaging with youth in classrooms. The reality is that gender inclusive schools and curriculums, which affirm 2SLGBTQ+ youth, protects ALL students from discrimination and violence.
The CCGSD has already worked to eradicate trans exclusionary practices within feminist spaces by partnering with Wisdom2Action and Action Canada through a call to action to feminist organizations, demanding the public proclamation of and commitment to trans inclusion, in order to combat TERF rhetoric. Organizations such as Wisdom2Action and Action Canada have worked to frame goals such as banning conversion therapy and creating inclusive sex education around the genuine protection of youth, specifically their rights and bodily autonomy. We hope that our continued work alongside these organizations will lead to increased resistance of anti-trans bigotry across Canada.
Issues such as these have severe impacts on the communities we serve. As an organization that frames our work using activism through education, we hope that our continued efforts against the bigoted rhetoric of TERF ideology will continue to affirm the growing need for safe and inclusive spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ youth.
Check out our statement co-created in partnership between the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Wisdom2Action and Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights: https://ccgsd-ccdgs.org/transinclusivefeminism/
For information on how you can get involved, please check https://www.wisdom2action.org/transinclusivefeminism/