Andrew Lawton

Andrew Lawton

It’s hardly novel when university campuses capitulate to the whims of social justice warriors. So I can’t say I was surprised to see this sign on a washroom door during a visit to my old stomping grounds, Western University. “Western respects everyone’s right to choose a washroom appropriate for them. Trust the person using this space belongs here.”

When I snapped a photo and shared it on Twitter, I was tipped off to others like it, including one at Humber College telling anyone concerned about someone they encounter in a washroom, “Don’t worry about it. They know where they belong.”

As far as public service announcements go, it’s interesting to see how “See something, say something” has turned into “Shut up, or else you’re a bigot.”

The politicization of the bathroom is not a new phenomenon at this point, but the signs illuminate the dangerous cultural terrain we’ve entered, that equality isn’t enough.

When it comes to sexuality, Canadians have more personal freedoms than ever before. Gay couples can marry and adopt, the government will recognize anyone’s chosen gender identity, and human rights laws protect anyone in a minority group from discrimination.

What started as a fight for freedom from government discrimination has now become a demand that everyone in society accept — and celebrate — every conceivable lifestyle.

It runs counter to what should be the greatest victory for those seeking equality—indifference. People not caring about each other’s lifestyle or identity is the very definition of tolerance, but it still falls short of the standard set by radical activists.

These people want nothing less than a full-blown celebration, even if at gunpoint, of whatever their cause du jouris.

The #MeToo movement is no match for the trans activists telling women they aren’t to feel uncomfortable if someone they think is a man follows them into the washroom.

I wonder how the campus signs would be received by the 10- and 12-year-old girls in Scotland who were assaulted last August in grocery store washrooms by a biological male identifying as a woman.

Or the 16-year-old girl groped in an Oklahoma Walmart changeroom by, you guessed it, a biological male identifying as a woman.

These sex offenders obviously do not represent the majority of trans people. But these situations are occurring with enough frequency that edicts made in the name of social justice shouldn’t trump anyone’s right to feel uncomfortable in a particular situation.

The brash minority of radical activists pushing this idea of unqualified acceptance are doing a disservice to the majority of transgender people who simply want to live their lives.

This activism is having devastating consequences in the United Kingdom, where numerous people in recent months have been visited by police because of posting allegedly transphobic tweets.

Twitter has a policy banning “misgendering,” or referring to someone by a pronoun or name they no longer use. Hypocritical as it may be in contrast to other content that Twitter allows, it’s a private company and can decide these things for itself.

If Twitter doesn’t get you, the bobbies will.

A 38-year old mother was arrested and detained by police for seven hours for “harassment” after she called a transgender lawyer by their birth gender. That same lawyer got police to warn English sitcom writer Graham Linehan over the same thing just a couple of months prior.

In January, a British man was accused of a non-criminal “hate incident” after retweeting someone else’s anti-trans limerick.

“What you need to understand is that you can have a foetus with a female brain that grows male body parts and that’s what a transgender person is,” he was told by the officer, who said he learned it “on a course.”

No wonder British don’t need guns if mean tweets are the only activities in need of police services.

No charges were laid in any of these cases, which almost makes the action worse. Despite the lack of criminality, law enforcement still feels its job is to tell people what to say and how to interact.

The South Yorkshire Police Twitter account asks people to “please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing. Hate will not be tolerated.”

Neither will freedom of speech, apparently.


Andrew Lawton is a True North fellow and columnist for The Interim