Peterson, who gained national attention when he refused to use gender-neutral pronouns, will participate in forum on Bill C-16 and the gender provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Jordan Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto who gained national attention last month when he refused to use gender neutral pronouns, will take part in a debate on Saturday to discuss Bill C-16 and the gender provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Peterson previously took issue with the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s definition of “gender identity,” which is described as a person’s “sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum,” and Bill C-16, federal legislation that would change the Canadian Human Rights Code and Criminal Code, making discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression illegal.
He argued that it was a matter of free speech.
“I don’t believe that it’s intelligent and appropriate for the government to mandate the words that its citizens should speak,” Peterson told the Star.
The debate, which will deal with these issues, has already led to some backlash on the University of Toronto campus.
The Queer Caucus of CUPE 3902, which is “the trade union that represents 7,000 sessionals, TAs (teaching assistants), and other contract instructional staff at the U of T,” according to their website, wrote an open letter urging members of the University community to boycott the event.
The letter stated that “human rights are not up for debate.”
“It is clear to us that Professor Peterson is attempting to cloak his fear of transgender people under the guise of scholarly expertise, protected under the aegis of academic freedom, yet his academic work is not the study of gender,” the letter read.
In the debate, Peterson will be joined by Mary Bryson, a professor of education at the University of British Columbia and Brenda Cossman, a professor of law at the University of Toronto.
The debate will be moderated by Mayo Moran, another professor of law at the University of Toronto.
It will run from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. and take place in the Sandford Fleming Building on the University of Toronto campus. Tickets are free and available to members of the University community. But a live webcast will be broadcast on the University’s website. Peterson tweeted that there will be a live stream of the debate on his personal YouTube channel.
Media relations director Althea Blackburn-Evans previously told the Star that “academic freedom is [the University of Toronto’s] reason for being in many ways.”
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