Anti–SOGI speaker Jenn Smith's talk at Douglas College in New Westminster cancelled

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      A transgender critic of B.C.’s LGBT–inclusive SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) resources in schools has had to cancel a local talk that was planned for this weekend.

      Jenn Smith, who identifies as a bisexual trangender male but is against “transgender ideology”, was slated to speak at an event at Douglas College in New Westminster tomorrow (June 8).

      The event was titled “The Erosion of Freedom: How Transgender Politics in School and Society Are Undermining Our Freedom and Harming Women and Children!”

      On his blog, Smith explained that “this talk is designed as an analysis of laws, policies, and programs that jeopardize some of the most important rights and freedoms in our society, which includes startling techniques designed to shut down all opposition to official policies”.

      However on June 6, Smith posted a statement on his blog that stated that Douglas College cancelled the event and explained his reaction.

      “What we are seeing today is a complete collapse of freedom of speech, while the institutions traditionally tasked with protecting free speech completely abrogate their responsibilities,” he stated. “The media and our institutions of higher learning are now complicit in what is essentially a quasi-fascistic attempt to silence all dissenting views on a subject that involves not only women’s rights, the well-being of our most vulnerable children, but freedom itself, hence the title of my talk.”

      Smith had also scheduled a talk in Vancouver on Sunday (June 9) with the venue to be announced.

      Another talk by Smith is scheduled at Trinity Western University on June 15.

      Today on social media, Smith stated: “My upcoming talk at Trinity Western University will be my Christian focused talk, or rather the version of my talk that underscores concerns to the Christian community. It is not a lot different than my regular speech I just spent a little more time on Christian concerns.”

      After Trinity Western University lost a Supreme Court case against the B.C. Law Society in June 2018 regarding accreditation of its proposed law school, the university was reportedly discontinuing its controversial covenant which forbade any sexual relations outside of opposite-sex marriage.  

      Smith previously toured Vancouver Island with a series of events that drew protests from SOGI–supporters. From April to May, Smith had talks scheduled in Campbell River, Duncan, Nanaimo, Victoria, and Port Alberni.

      In September 2018, the B.C. government, along with provincial education partners, affirmed its support for SOGI resources in schools, despite a conservative Christian-based petition to have it removed. Christian supporters of SOGI also launched a counterpetition.

      The Georgia Straight has contacted both Douglas College and Smith for further information.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.