STU Gender Rally a Knockout!

Posted on November 25, 2010 by


The Rally to End Gender Violence and Discrimination at STU/UNB today was a huge success in terms of raising awareness about gender issues on campus. Students, faculty, student groups, unions and community residents gathered in front of Martin Hall at STU at noon today to support Mitch Rayner’s fight to end gender discrimination and violence on campus.

About 50 people were assembled with press from CBC, CTV and campus newspapers. Speakers included Mitch Rayner, Dalhousie student Laura McIntosh, Debi Skidmore from Fredericton Pride; Ella Henry, President of the STU Students Union; representatives from the STU faculty, the UNB Sexuality Centre, and PSAC. Rob Frenette of Bullying Canada organized the rally. Groups represented at the Rally were from SPECTRUM, the UNB/STU group for LGBTIQ students, UNB Safe Spaces, the Sexuality Centre, and STU Students Union.

People at the Rally held signs and banners representing their organizations, and the Spectrum group held up the Transgender Pride Flag. They chanted between speakers: “gender freedom, gender rights, we will piss and we will fight;” and “stop the violence, stop the hate, don’t you dare discriminate.”

Mitch Rayner spoke warmly about the overwhelming support that he has received in his effort to combat intolerance of gender-variant people at STU. He is working to get the STU Administration to provide gender neutral washrooms in every building on campus. Mitch and other speakers said that this was a much bigger issue than just one incident with one individual in a washroom. It was a movement to educate people to understand and accept gender diversity. Laura McIntosh shared stories from gender-variant people who struggle in their daily lives with gender discrimination. Debi Skidmore from Fredericton Pride said that we have to go beyond mere “tolerance” of gender-variant people and celebrate our wonderful diversity. Mitch said that gender variant people struggle with harassment, abuse and discrimination in their everyday lives. He said the university should be providing facilities that are accessible to all persons on campus, the same basic facilities that most people take for granted.

Speakers and organizers at the Rally pledged to continue the fight to obtain gender neutral washrooms, to promote safety for queer and gender-variant people on STU/UNB campus.

Posted in: QTC