We all need to join Titania McGrath in her Antarctic expedition to release the penguins from the oppression of gender roles.
It’s an abomination that, as humans, we have not gone into all the animal communities to liberate them from gender, and let them know what we have learned, that there is a definable difference between sex and gender. Charlotte Barcas, of the Sea Life London Aquarium, is quite right to make sure that guests to the aquarium know that even penguins are devoid of innate gender, that it’s humans who assign it, and project gender expectations onto the poor little penguins.
We need to take up the call against the gender roles in the animal kingdom. Gentoo, the gender-neutral baby penguin, is a step in the right direction. Barcas says that even though the aquarium would not have treated the penguin differently based on gender or sex, visitors to the sea zoo would have specific expectations for the flightless birds, based on whether or not they were male or female. Presumably, people would have stood around wanting Gentoo to dive for fish in a femme fashion had the gender been revealed to have been assigned female.
The difference between sex and gender is that sex is a biological reality based on reproductive systems, while gender is how a person presents themselves with regard to stereotypes of male and female capability that originated in biased assumptions about biological sex. Gentoo is now free to present anywhere along the gender spectrum that it wishes. Even the zookeepers may be surprised to see where Gentoo lands. Will it be a womanly penguin? A masculine one? A non-binary penguin? Or perhaps Gentoo is not a penguin at all, but a penguine, or a pengwinn, or maybe the p is silent.
This is what penguins, humans, and the entire animal kingdom needs to understand. Any natural inclinations of a creature, whether bird, sloth, or person, to act according to those perceived roles that our idiotic ancestors associated with biological sex, such as nurturing young, birthing offspring, dispensing milk, feats of strength, or the Hercules beetle battling over females, must be stopped.
It’s not just guests to the aquarium that need to be put in their place with regard to their own gendered gender expectations, but lions, rhinoceroses, elephants, hyenas, short-haired alley cats that wail in the dark of night, sea horses that claim only males can carry their young, clams, sea urchins, and those pretty pretty peacocks who strut and preen for female attention. Let the ladies strut and preen for once, or even better, let none of them do it. Gender free is the best way forward, that way there can be no prejudice over sexual preference, no one will have to feel left out, and no one will get laid, ever again. It’s the only fair thing to do.
Or perhaps this whole thing of presenting a baby penguin as genderless is the most incredibly stupid thing an aquarium could ever waste its time on. Aquariums are in the business of showing off all the cool things in the ocean world, of letting us touch starfish, have a gander at fish in giant tanks, watch the penguins waddle about on their gender-free-human-made rock formations, see the sea lions swim really fast in long circles because their tanks are too small.
This foray into social engineering by the Sea Life London Aquarium seems like an attempt to legitimize human gender ideology by foisting it onto animals. Despite society’s persistent albeit recent claim that an anthropocentric view of the world is problematic, declaring a penguin to be gender-neutral is perhaps the most anthropocentric thing of all. The idea that if humans have come up with the absurd notion that genders exist entirely independently of one another this must be true in the animal kingdom is the most self-obsessed human behaviour and it’s surprising that people that deal so much with animals can’t see that.
Humans may be completely messed up, with crazed ideas about who we are and what we’re about, but there’s no reason to poison the animal realm with it as well. Luckily, they don’t care what we do, and Gentoo the gender-neutral penguin knows all about who it is on the inside, he or she, because penguins don’t care about pronouns.
When Bill C16 passed in 2017, many women rang the alarm against legislation that would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include protection against hate speech with regard to gender identity or expression. Concerns about the Bill were that gender identity protections would supercede protections for women. While there was a promise that a gender-based analysis (GBA) report would be forthcoming, it has not been released. That’s not good enough for Jennifer Joseph, who has launched a petition for the release of this information.
“We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada,” resolves the petition, “call upon Candice Bergen to ask for the Gender-Based Analysis report be made public, and for Statistics Canada to explain their analysis or publish the results.”
Women who voiced concerns back in 2017 were not listened to and were accused of transphobic hate speech for broaching concerns about Bill C16. Yet much of what they predicted has come to pass. Women who speak out against having male-bodied persons in women’s spaces are called names, ostracized, and shut out of those places themselves.
In 2018, Kristi Hanna left a Toronto shelter for abused women rather than share a room with a male-bodied trans person. Her complaints were unheeded by staff. Vancouver Rape Relief, Canada’s oldest rape crisis centre, was denied funding by the City for not being inclusive enough to male-bodied trans persons. A human rights complaint was filed by Kimberly Nixon in 2019 against the center for the refusal to train Nixon, born male, to become a peer counsellor. Vancouver Rape Relief did not believe that Nixon could be a peer counsellor to other women, because Nixon was not born female. A rape relief center did not want women who had been raped to have to be counselled by a male person, so they lost their funding entirely.
The case of Jessica Yaniv, who has brought multiple complaints before the Human Rights Tribunal, accusing women of being hateful for not wanting to wax her male genitalia, shows how absurd this entire thing has become. Women’s rights to determine the work they would do in their private homes were questioned under Bill C16.
The petition states that police departments across Canada are no longer recording the sex of alleged offenders, “but instead the gender by which they identify.” The reasoning is that a person’s sex is too personal, and irrelevant to the charge of a crime committed. It is reasonable to consider that this change is to avoid running afoul of Human Rights legislation. Problems with this new practice include the confusion of crime stats, which then record crimes committed by male-bodied female-identifying persons as women’s crimes.
The Bill also interferes with parental rights, forcing parents to go along with their minor children’s ideas about medical alterations to their healthy bodies.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Bill C16 is the one that is most readily dismissed by trans activists. Bill C16 seeks to rewrite protections for women by removing the definition of the word. This denial of a biological definition of the word woman is what has allowed women to be brought up on charges of human rights abuses when they define the word to exclude persons who are born male.
Bill C16 offers protected classes for “gender identity” and “gender expression,” which terms are not legally defined. This defacto changes the meaning of the word woman to “whatever if feels like” to any given individual. In essence, this has meant that a person who dresses up as stereotypically feminine can say they are a woman, and gain access to those protections, such as abused women’s refuges, rape crisis centres, women’s prisons, and women’s hospital wards, that have previously been designated for the care of women.
This is done out of compassion for the individual who identifies more with those stereotypes that are associated with the opposite sex than with their own, but in doing so, it offers no consideration for women who need spaces and protections that male-bodied persons, no matter their fashion choices, do not. This petition seeks redress of these grievances by obtaining information on the effects of the law and is open for signatures until April.
A female inmate at the Logan Correctional Centre in Illinois is suing the prison after alleging they attempted to cover up her sexual assault by a transgender inmate that was housed with her.
The proceedings were covered by Public Broadcasting Service station WTTW, who reported the victim, referred to as Jane Doe, was sexually assaulted in June 2019. Doe alleges she was then coerced by a correctional officer into withdrawing her claim, which led to her being punished for having filed a false report under the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
Doe’s alleged assailant is named as Janiah Monroe, a transgender inmate who identifies as female but has male genitalia. According to WTTW, Monroe and another transgender inmate recently sued the Illinois Department of Corrections, demanding transfers to women’s facilities. Monroe, formerly known as Andre Patterson, had been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the attempted murder of a government employee, before receiving an additional 20 years for murdering a cellmate after being imprisoned.
In her lawsuit, Jane Doe states Monroe began “expressing an interest” in her after being transferred to Logan Corrections Centre. On June 18th, 2019, Doe was sexually assaulted by Monroe. The smaller female says she was “easily overpowered.”
Doe says she was interviewed by senior correctional officer Todd Sexton while in the prison’s Health Unit, who allegedly did not believe she had been assaulted, and pressured her to retract her statement. Determining it was “consensual sex,” Doe was punished as having committed the “major infraction” of filing a false rape report, and was punished under the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
Alan Mills, who leads the Uptown People’s Law Center, the firm which sued the Illinois Department of Corrections to demand Monroe’s transfer, claimed Monroe may have been targeted due to “transphobia.”
Working in the media for over two decades has afforded me the chance to meet many of my heroes. Some encounters lived up to expectation and others were small disasters.
Lighting up an imported stogie with Robert Lantos in his midtown home was delightful. Sitting under a cabana at the Beverly Hilton with Gary Shandling was heavenly. And sitting in the green room with the late Don Rickles in Montreal was emotionally orgasmic.
But how do I describe my exchange with Jordan Peterson?
Let me give it my best shot. Some moons ago, a friend of mine was one of Peterson’s students. She spoke of her intriguing psychology professor and promised that she would let me tag along for a morning lecture at U of T. I passed it off as a flip invite that would never come to be—but I secretly hoped I was wrong.
Sure enough, one day, as I had my face buried in paperwork at my Summerhill intern desk, my friend Sarah stopped by out of nowhere. She told me to pack up my stuff and escorted me to class with her. I should have never doubted her.
Sarah and I did a fast parallel park on Bloor Street West and sauntered over to The Arts and Sciences Building. Cue Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me.” Sound the trumpets. I was in Peterson’s world.
I guess you might say Peterson was enjoying relative obscurity then, in as much as genius can ever be truly obscure. It tends to illuminate, even under the dim of low wattage bulbs. But compared to his ubiquitous fame now, he was an unknown.
The lecture hall filled quicker than a king-sized beer mug at happy hour. The empty glass of water at the podium was a prolepsis for some of Peterson’s epic rants and proliferating insights. The excitement was palpable. And so was the budding adoration for the professor at the helm.
“This guy’s lectures are dope. The best Prof in Canada. Dude’s got game” proclaimed a well-tattooed man sitting one row under me.
I took another look around as Dr. Peterson made his way to the podium. To my surprise, students were devoid of the glassy film that usually covers the eyes of hopeful graduates. Laptops were fully charged. Pens were dipped in fresh ink. Hangovers were whipped into submission by copious amounts of caffeine and adrenaline.
This was not the lecture hall culture that I remembered. This was a brave new world known as Peterson’s Playhouse. Peterson wore blue jeans with a dark cardigan and a dress shirt underneath. He was clean-shaven with an ashen pallor. He was dark under the eyes and looked quite exhausted— which as I understand it now, was insomnia’s doing.
After gathering his thoughts, Peterson started lecturing. He quickly led us into a comprehensive examination of why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, and the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (ideological identification) that result in mass killing and pathological atrocity.
Just another day at the office for Alberta’s most influential intellectual export. Midway into his 2-hour lecture, Peterson started to speak about the Holocaust and the horrors of Auschwitz. He did this as an academic adjunct to his primary supposition about belief systems.
Unexpectedly, he went into a searing psychological examination of the Nazis and the hundreds of thousands of German soldiers who were left bereft of human conscience as they dangled in the throws of ideological imposition by the Hitler regime.
Now I have attended many Holocaust remembrance events over the years. Each one, heart-rending in its own way. I have sat with survivors of the camps—each conversation sending shivers down my spine and taking me into the deepest recesses of spiritual pause.
But this was something different. Peterson struck an isolated chord.
Maybe it was the surprise of seeing a gentile Professor speaking with such passion and conviction about a topic that was so personal to me. I am not quite sure. But as Peterson’s voice cracked with raw emotion, I felt my own connection with the worst tragedy of Jewish history, grow deeper and stronger.
“We read about the Holocaust, and study it now, but we have no way to actually comprehend this kind of evil. This kind of unbridled malevolence,” Peterson said, eyes watering and body trembling.
“You don’t think it can happen again, well guess again man,” the professor exclaimed.
“Don’t underestimate the human capacity for evil. And it lives in all of us. You need to know how bad you CAN be, to commit to how good you MUST be,” said Peterson, as though it was his last breath.
I was so taken by the emotional power of the lecture that I waited 40 minutes after class to shake Peterson’s hand and thank him personally. I watched from a distance as he met his perfunctory obligations and shook hands with students.
The line moved quite slowly but I finally got to meet him.
“How can I help you, young man,” he said to me playfully.
“I just wanted to thank you, Professor, for such an amazing lecture,” I said. “As a Jewish person
I found your words about the Holocaust to be soul-stirring. I did not expect such words in a university environment,” I said nervously.
He said, “What is your aspiration? What are you hoping to do in life?”
I said, “I am a poet and aspiring writer, director, producer.”
“Well, history is in the hands of our best writers. So make us proud,” he said with a smile.
I would like to say the chat went on longer but that was it. Over before it really began. Some shlemiel came out of nowhere and nudged me to the side with an oversized Macbook. I could have sued. Diamond and Diamond could have sent me into early retirement with that one.
When I see Peterson on the big American talk shows or speaking at sold-out theatres across the world, I think back to the early lecture I attended. Was there any sign back then of the international fame that awaited him? Was he earmarked for world influence?
I don’t think anyone, including him, could have predicted the Peterson phenomenon. But I do think he was always an eminently smart and compelling character. And his proclivity to hold firm on his beliefs, and still confess deep vulnerability, was so rare.
So yeah, I think the signs were always there from the beginning.
Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos has dominated the best-sellers charts in dozens of countries. Estimates say the popular self-help book has moved in excess of 3 million copies worldwide. The book has given inspiration, insight and hope to struggling folks in virtually every corner of the globe.
Thank you, Dr. Peterson, for doing so much good. I can always say, I knew you—briefly—way back when.
In recent weeks, there has been much written about Peterson’s health challenges (and near-death experience) with a dependency on and severe reaction to clonazepam, a commonly prescribed drug in the benzodiazepine family. He started taking the drug shortly after he found out his wife, Tammy, had terminal cancer.
When a prominent self-help guru loses his footing, I suppose there is a sense of irony and morbid curiosity that naturally ensues. But that does not justify kicking a guy while he’s down. Some of the remarks directed at Peterson and his family, since news of his medical condition emerged, have been downright grisly.
It’s sad that being ill and bed-ridden in Russia gave his political adversaries an opening for rancour and an opportunity to push their own twisted agendas.
But this is the world we live in.
Be that as it may—even if Peterson were to never speak publicly again, I am convinced history would remember him as a brave friend to humanity. Maybe not the kind that one expected or summoned for. But one that said what needed to be said. And one that did what needed to be done.
A lesbian event has been removed from Sydney, Australia’s LGBT Pride after a vocal minority protested the participation of a popular lesbian YouTuber with critical views towards transgender self-ID.
Arielle Scarcella runs an LGBT-centred YouTube channel with over 630,000 subscribers.
She has also spoken out against self-ID laws which have enabled biological males to be transferred to women’s prisons after the commission of serious offences, such as sexual assaults. In 2018, Scarcella collaborated on a video with Blaire White discussing how lesbian sexual preferences that do not include an attraction to biological males who transition to female were not “transphobic.”
Les-Talk was originally planned to be one of the events featured at Sydney Mardi Gras, the local Pride parade and festival. A panel-style discussion also featuring Tania Safi of Buzzfeed, the event began to draw ire from trans rights activists for including Scarcella. A petition was launched on February 15 demanding Scarcella be removed and replaced “preferably by someone of intersectionality.”
The petition was launched by Johnny Valkyrie, a transman and drag performer most notorious for a January incident at the Brisbane National Library. Valkyrie hosted Drag Storytime at the library, and was one of the two performers confronted by demonstrators from the University of Queensland National Liberal Club chanting “drag queens are not for kids.” The protestors were filmed and doxed.
The doxing resulted in one of the protestors, an openly gay student named Wilson Gavin, committing suicide the next day. Valkyrie used the opportunity at the library to raise funds for his “top surgery,” including a post on the day-of Gavin’s death—later updating the post to claim it was made prior to knowledge of his passing.
According to Valkyrie’s petition, Tania Safi of Buzzfeed has already dropped out of Les-Talk stating “I do not agree with Arielle’s transphobic and biphobic beliefs.”
10 Hours ago, Valkyrie uploaded an update to the petition, celebrating the “deplatforming” of Scarcella and Les-Talk.
Les-Talk was not officially cancelled, but was disassociated from Mardi Gras, according to a Facebook post made on the event’s official page. According to the post, the event is going forward being “privately held” by the “POC Queer women” organizing it.
Scarcella has not been disinvited from the event, and the event will proceed at another venue, separate from the LGBT Pride festivities.
Les-Talk’s Facebook page was littered with offers of support posted to the page’s wall by individuals outraged by Scarcella’s treatment.
Even multiple transpeople defended Scarcella’s beliefs, asserting she was not transphobic. One transwoman pleaded with the community to give Scarcella a “second chance,” while a transman praised Scarcella for “saying things no one else talks about.”
Scarcella is dismissive of the claims of transphobia, asserting she is anything but. “People have labeled me transphobic for being critical of trans ideas. I have no issues with being transgender. I’ve had more trans people in my videos than any other YouTuber to date,” she told The Post Millennial, noting that her only issue is with self-identification laws which might put women in danger.
“To those who truly believe I’m transphobic, I hope you change your hive-mind mentality and see how much you’re hurting your own community by acting so hateful.”