A university in Canada is investigating the appearance of transphobic stickers at one of its campuses.
People started noticing the offensive stickers around the St John’s campus of Memorial University (MUN) in Newfoundland. Students also found the stickers in the gender neutral bathrooms.
The stickers used the colors of the trans pride flag – blue, pink and white. They also featured the statements ‘women don’t have penises’ and ‘transitioning worsens dysphoria’.
‘The language on these stickers is nuanced and may seem supportive of Trans* people, but make no mistake the message is transphobic and designed to hurt people,’ the Memorial University Student Union (MUNSU) wrote on Facebook.
Organizers at the MUNSU held a public meeting during the week to discuss how to best combat the transphobic act.
But for trans and gender diverse students at the university, the damage was already done.
‘Putting the gender-neutral washrooms in place was a huge step for trans people on campus feeling safe, and now that those areas have been targeted it’s disheartening, and it’s kind of scary,’ Andrew Kenney, the MUNSU’s trans student representative told CBC.
‘Being a trans person I know that transphobia exists. I’ve seen it before, [but] it’s disappointing to see it in my university where I’m supposed to feel safe.’
Some students have taken it upon themselves to tear down the transphobic stickers and replace them with more positive messaging.
The university confirmed to CBC that it was working on trying to find the culprits. It also planned to remove all of the stickers.
‘We strongly condemn and will not tolerate hateful speech directed toward members of our community,’MUN president Gary Kachanoskhe said in a statement.
The MUNSU hopes the culprits’ names are made public when they’re found.
‘Students don’t feel safe knowing that they could be also entering a classroom or walking down the halls with someone who is actively targeting them on campus, and they should know who that person or people are,’ said the MUNSU’s director of external affairs, Bailey Howard.