Statement on The Anti-Trans, Anti-Queer Attacks in Waterloo

Dear SDS Students, Staff, Friends, and Community,

I am writing to you to express my deep concern (and if I am being honest my inexpressible anger) over the events that occurred in a classroom at the University of Waterloo on June 28th. In a planned attack at approximately 3:40 p.m., a member of the Waterloo campus community stabbed a professor and two students in their Gender Studies course. We now have confirmation of what we suspected: this was a targeted attack motivated by hate related to gender expression and gender identity. I am grateful that the three people that were attacked were taken to hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. But I am enraged that the onslaught of anti-trans, anti-queer rhetoric, policy, and legislation continues to encourage this kind of hate-motivated violence against our communities.

We are in a political conjuncture of heightened anti-Blackness, anti-Asian racism, anti-Indigeneity, and a state-sanctioned violence routed through sexuality and gender as categories of difference. This violence against us is not an isolated incident reducible to a single bad-acting individual. It is central to the structures of inequality that manage and regulate the everyday lives of queer, trans, and racialized communities.

I know you are all tired because I am so very tired. It seems nearly every day this year that we awoke to read or hear about another violent legislative act that we know will be devastating to our friends, families, and communities.  It is exhausting and we are exhausted. But I have also witnessed our students, staff, and faculty showing up every day to teach and learn and make change in the world.  And it is this practice of showing up that I continue to believe in. We show up because what else can we do? We show up to make something with others that we can’t make by ourselves. So, let’s continue to show up for one another. Let’s continue to build the world that we want.

Resources and Service Hubs

U of T Student Mental Health Resource

Wellness Together

Downtown Toronto: Health and Wellness Centre – (416-978-8030) located at Koffler Student Services

U of T Scarborough: Health & Wellness Centre  – 416-287-7065

U of T Mississauga: Health & Counselling Centre – 905-828-5255

Navi  U of T students now have a more streamlined way to discover mental health resources and supports. Navi, short for navigator, is a chat-based service that acts as a virtual assistant for students wanting to learn more about the tri-campus mental health supports available to them at U of T.

Grief support at The Multi-Faith Centre – Their services include but are not limited to: Grief Support Sharing Circles, counselling, spiritual care, memorial service creation, and providing further resources. From their website: “You may find you need an academic deferral to help you through your time of grieving. Undergraduate students should contact their registrar’s office by email and inform them of the situation. Students may also wish to notify their professors or TAs. Graduate students should contact their professors and their department graduate coordinator.”

Centre for International Experience – This is a great service for international students coming to UofT or for domestic students wanting to study abroad. It’s also a great resource for meeting new people. They provide scholarships, workshops, academic support, language support, mentorship programs and much more. Please click on the link above for more information.

The Centre for Women and Trans People – The Centre for Women and Trans People is a community committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for women and trans people on campus. They have a drop-in center for socializing, a peer support program, nursing corner, child space, community cupboard and many more events. Please click on the link to learn more.

Indigenous Student Services  – Indigenous Student Services offers a wide variety of resources to Indigenous students on campus as well as opportunities for others to engage with and learn more about Indigenous communities. They offer academic support (tutoring, academic planning, advocacy with other UofT departments), financial assistance, academic programming (for example, the Indigenous Studies program and the Indigenous language initiative) and opportunity to engage with Elders. Please click on the link above to learn more.

LGBTOUT – LGBTOUT is an LGBTQ student organization. It offers a safe and inclusive space and programming for LGBTQ students. They have a Drop-in-Centre (DIC) located in the archway of the Sir Daniel Wilson Residence (73 St. George Street) as well as their main hub. They offer peer support, resource referral, free condoms, free pregnancy tests, and free pads/tampons. They also host various social events/workshops throughout the year. Please click on the link above to learn more.

The Sexual and Gender Diversity Office – The Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO) develops partnerships to build supportive learning and working communities at the University of Toronto by working towards equity and challenging discrimination.