Letter to SFU re: Vancouver Trans Day of Remembrance & Anti-Trans Hostility

Vancouver Trans Day of Remembrance Society
401 Main Street, Vancouver, BC
xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, & səl̓ilwətaɁɬ nations
unceded Coast Salish territory

Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC
xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ, & kʷikʷəƛ̓əm nations
unceded Coast Salish territory

Delivered by e-mail

October 28th, 2019

Re: Vancouver Trans Day of Remembrance & Anti-Trans Hostility on Campus

To Andrew Petter, President & Vice-Chancellor, SFU;
Ian Forsyth, University Secretary, SFU;
Larry Wadell, Chief Facilities Officer, SFU Facilities Services;
Tim Marron, Chief Safety Officer, SFU Safety & Risk Services;
Meeting, Event, and Conference Services (MECS);
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group;
Simon Fraser Student Society;
SFSS Women’s Centre; and
Out on Campus:

We are writing to you as the Organizing Committee of the Vancouver Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR). Our mission is to memorialize the hundreds of trans people who are murdered each year, the majority of whom are trans women of colour and sex workers, and bring attention to the violence and oppression they experience. We envision a world where trans women, sex workers, and trans people as a whole have the support and resources to live out their full lives with dignity, respect, and safety.

We have organized TDOR, an event observed internationally, for over 15 years. For almost half of this time, we have hosted TDOR at SFU Harbour Centre due to the support we have received over the years to cover the cost of space rental, it’s convenient and accessible location, some of our organizers being SFU alumni, and the community’s general perception of safety on SFU campus.

Because of this, we are disheartened to learn that SFU will be hosting an event on November 2nd, which platforms ideas that are anti-trans and with speakers who have a known history of promoting cis supremacy, transmisogyny, anti-sex worker sentiment, and white supremacy.

Over the past year, there has been a noticeable rise in anti-trans organizing from “radical feminists”, Christian fundamentalists, and white supremacists in Vancouver–and the Lower Mainland more broadly. This event being held at SFU is a part of a larger string of anti-trans activity that questions the existence and validity of trans people and normalizes hostility and violence towards trans communities. As such, the event on November 2nd should be responded to appropriately: with denial. Unfortunately, SFU has chosen ideas over the safety and dignity of people, including its own faculty and students.

Because of this, we regret that TDOR will not be held at SFU Harbour Centre or any SFU campus until there is a demonstrated commitment to meaningful safety and support for multiply marginalized communities and preventing the platforming of known supremacists and bigots.

We call on individuals, groups, organizations, and businesses to do the same, and divest from all participation, partnerships, and transactions with SFU.

With great frustration,
Vancouver Trans Day of Remembrance Organizing Committee

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