#ABWomenSpeak June 13 - Kathleen Lowrey - Transcript

16/06/2021

Kathleen Lowrey is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta. Reading Gallus Mag's website is what raised her consciousness about gender ideology, starting around 2014-2015. She published her first piece about these issues on Feminist Current in 2018. In 2020, student objections to her feminist views led to her dismissal from an administrative post within the U of A.

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Hello Rebel Women. It is a privilege to be here in Calgary with you, live and in person!

It took courage for all of us to come here today because Canada is in the grip of a dangerous religious mania, with respect to which we are heretics.

Some of you already know that this past week, my faculty union told me that because I "question the validity of trans gender identity," I create a "discriminatory workplace environment." Just me, this squashy, middle-aged lady you see before you, I manage it on my own. I can tell you nobody else on campus is raising even a peep about the "validity of trans gender identity," so I'm conjuring up that scary atmosphere all by myself.

Like I'm a witch or something.

Now, this is my *faculty union* saying this, this is the final backstop for my academic freedom. This academic freedom is written into my employment contract with the University of Alberta, but if the university abrogates that freedom, it's the job of the faculty union to file a grievance about it. Now, as you know, I have been dismissed because of student complaints that I said, out loud, that I was not a faithful adherent of the Church of Genderology and that I didn't think anybody else needed to be either.

My faculty union is grieving this dismissal, as they ought. But it's clear they are very uncomfortable doing so, and they want to be sure the world knows that their official position is that "questioning the validity of trans gender identity" is a terrible thing to do.

They wouldn't issue such a statement if I challenged the validity of gravity. They might think I was silly, they might think I wasn't going to become a famous scholar, but they wouldn't issue a statement that "challenging the validity of gravity" creates an unsafe working environment for anybody.

Now if "trans gender identity" is just a thing in the world the way gravity is a thing in the world, nobody would care if a lone academic "challenged" its "validity." They might say, well, she's probably a crank, but who knows, she might be on to something. That's ordinary practice in academia.

But we are not in the realm of ordinary practice. None of you here today need me to tell you that. What's happening to me in academia is also happening to all of you in your lines of work, in your friend groups, in your families. It's happening to all of us.

As so many people around us affirm their faith in gender identity, and multitudes more make polite noises about this magical force, we say we think "gender" is just a set of social and power relations that hurt people - women especially - and that Genderism treats those social and power relations as if they were sacred.

We say we that this is a religious belief and as such, should be kept separate from the state. We say we don't want children baptized in this system of belief nor proselytized about it in school. We insist that we want to live as secular skeptics about Genderism and that we want to be able to talk to others about the reasons for our secularism and our skepticism.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees "freedom of conscience and religion." This is sometimes awkward -- atheists rubbing along with Zoroastrians - but the evidence from secular nations like Canada is that it can be done and done well.

Until the advent of Genderism, that is. We see the ramping up of a whole ancient and familiar apparatus of book banning, which Linda knows something about, and witchhunting, which I know something about, and which many of you here know something about, and heresy sniffers and extirpation of idolatry campaigns and calls to recant and repent (on Twitter) and to display the emblems of the faith (the ever-changing flag) and utter the creeds (trans women are women, and Martine Rothblatt is their Prophet) and declare eternal fealty to the cause....

This all comes with the backing, more forceful every year, of the State. Everyone in public office, all of the major parties, are united in their terror of putting a toe wrong and earning the wrath of the Gender Zealots. Canada was supposed to be a place you could come to get away from that sort of thing. I think many of us, myself included, had a sort of conceited sense of Canada as a country where that kind of thing would be impossible. And yet here we are.

That's the bad news. The good news is, we humans - especially we women - have faced this many times in history, so we know what to do. We stand up to it. We say we don't agree and we keep saying we don't agree. Humans have done this before. Women have done this before.

Since they think we are witches anyway, let's conjure up our host of companions, the spirits of brave women past, to say with us: back off. Knock it off. And most importantly: no, we won't shut up.