When you’re a professor at one of the Canada’s most respected universities and refuse to use gender-neutral pronouns, it probably won’t go over well.
The University of Toronto has told a psychology professor that he must refer to students by whatever pronoun they wish (not just “he” or “she”) after he openly criticized the use of gender-neutral pronouns and political correctness.
In a letter, the university also told Jordan Peterson that he must refrain from making public statements on the issue. It also said that his refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns could be considered discrimination.
Approximately 250 faculty members endorsed the letter. The implication is that Peterson’s statements are leading to a rise in threats against some students.
“Your statements that you will refuse to refer to transgendered persons using gender neutral pronouns if they ask you to do so are contrary to the rights of those persons to equal treatment without discrimination based on their ‘gender identity’ and gender expression,” the letter claims.
“We trust that these impacts on students and others were not your intention in making these remarks,” the letter states. “However, in view of these impacts, as well as the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code, we urge you to stop repeating these statements.”
Peterson published two YouTube videos on the topic of political correctness in the wake of the university’s announcement of a plan to conduct anti-racism and anti-bias programs.
In his two-part lecture, Peterson criticizes Bill C-16, a bill that would outlaw discrimination and harassment based on gender identity and expression in favour of free speech. His video comes at a time when gender rights dominate political agendas and headlines and when gender-neutral bathrooms are becoming the norm.
Not surprisingly, the videos sparked intense rallies both for and against his position.
When questioned about the recent threats against students, Peterson said he “unreservedly condemns” them – but that doesn’t mean he’ll take back his criticisms.
“But it doesn’t surprise me because it is the fact that such things are happening that was the motivation for me to make the damn videos to begin with,” Peterson said.