Exposing a serious and deepening rift between the transgender movement and actual women, a group called Gender Critical Vermont has canceled a public forum about “the unforeseen consequences of the transgender agenda.”
The event was set for this week at a library in Burlington, but organizers now say that threatened protests threaten participants’ safety.
Transgender activists vowed to protest the discussion, calling it an attack on transgender people and rights.
“The response of the transgender activist community in Burlington follows a familiar pattern of eroding the principles of free speech and rational discussion,” Gender Critical Vermont wrote in a Jan. 28 email.
Peggy Luhrs, a Burlington resident and lesbian activist since the 1970s, is one of the founders of the group and was scheduled to speak at the event. She told Seven Days the decision to cancel is temporary.
“There’s just no point in having a screaming match,” Luhrs said.
Critics likened the planned forum to hate speech and asked why the city’s public library would allow people to freely meet and exchange views on a controversial topic.
Is the institution “truly abiding by their standards and directives of not promoting hate speech and violence?” asked Taylor Small, who serves as director of health and wellness at the Pride Center of Vermont. Small is a man who pretends to be female.
“I’m not a transphobe. I don’t hate trans people,” Luhrs said. “This is about protecting women’s rights and lesbian rights. “
Luhrs said she also planned to talk about how the trans movement could be hurtful to women’s sports and could undermine laws such as Title IX.
She wanted to discuss her opposition to puberty blocking hormones and gender reassignment surgery for people under the age of 18. Adults should be free to make those choices, but a “wait-and-see” approach is better for minors, Luhrs said.
Ultimately, the medical interventions don’t change her opinion that gender is fixed at birth. “I believe you can’t really change sex,” Luhrs said. “You can pretend you can, but you can’t.”
The discussion has yet to be rescheduled, Luhrs said.