Lessons from Professor Wintemute's McGill Appearance in January 2023
by Gender Dissent
Enjoy our roundup of media coverage in the wake of Professor Robert Wintemute's cancellation at McGill by trans activists and allies.
Gender Dissent wrote previously about International Human Rights expert, Professor Robert Wintemute, when he went public with his disagreement with the Yogyakarta Principles.
Then in early January 2023, he arranged to give a talk to approximately fifty McGill University law students. He had given a previous talk there in 2017 titled, “Israel Palestine, Is It Apartheid and is Boycott Justified Legal?” without incident. This time his talk was to be, “Sex vs Gender Identity Debate in the United Kingdom and the Divorce of LGB from T.” He had given the talk at his own University, Kings College, and also at universities in Barcelona and Bologna, again without incident.
But this time, Professor Wintemute’s talk was physically prevented from continuing by a violent mob composed of an estimated one hundred trans rights activists. The talk, or rather the mob’s anti-democratic behavior, was widely reported in the media both before and afterwards, by Le Devoir, The Montreal Gazette, CBC Montreal, CTV Montreal, GBNews, Voice of Wales, Jon Kay in Quillette, Meghan Murphy in Feminist Current and in Gender-Hacked by Eliza Montegreen.
The facts are agreed that the mob was physically violent, pushed several women (one to the ground), blasted one with a bullhorn, and prevented attendees from leaving. The Professor was attacked with flour, the projector was disconnected and physical defacement of the building was later discovered. Deafening noise was intended to prevent Professor Wintemute’s words from being heard. He later reported that it was “intimidating.”
De-briefing interviews with Andrew Doyle of GBNews and Meghan Murphy of Feminist Current revealed that Professor Wintemute had learned a great deal from his visit back to his alma mater, McGill University. In fact, all men and women of good faith and respect for democracy and free speech have learned a great deal by studying this event and its aftermath.
Professor Wintemute's comments to GBNews on THE MEDIA (from the transcript):
Before the seminar, at least two Montreal newspapers (Le Devoir and The Montreal Gazette) wrote that a “controversial” speaker was coming with a controversial message which is that women have human rights too. But most women are too afraid to speak up because of the intimidation of the TRA rights movement. What happened on Tuesday was that I got first hand experience of that intimidation.
One thing that was different this time was that in the publicity, I mentioned LGB Alliance, which is portrayed around the world as an anti-trans hate group similar to the Ku Klux Klan, if not the Nazi party. It’s not remotely anti-trans and whenever you ask for evidence, they can’t give it because it isn’t there. It’s hysteria. Complete hysteria. LGB Alliance does not promote hatred of trans people but trans people promote hatred of LGB Alliance.
Professor Wintemute's comment's to GBNews on LGB ALLIANCE (from the transcript):
LGB Alliance has committed the sin of high treason by distancing itself from LGBTQ and by reserving the right to disagree on some issues. And for that they (trans rights activists) insist on severely punishing LGB Alliance by labeling it a hate group. We are really talking about exceptional situations; single sex spaces where we need positive action for women which include sport. It’s a fairly narrow area but it’s an area where the transgender rights claims affect women.
Professor Wintemute's comments to Feminist Current on LANGUAGE (from the transcript):
“Erasing someone’s existence” makes no sense. It’s insecurity about the arguments supporting their cause. And instead of engaging in reasoned debate they cry genocide at the slightest criticism.
I would compare genocide to antisemitism. It’s being deliberately expanded to include any government treatment of the Palestinians and you see the same thing with transphobia. Transphobia means hostility towards transgender people but instead the activists widen it so that it means any disagreement with any demand of transgender people.
“Trans rights are human rights” is very vague. We said the same thing in the 90s, that gay rights were human rights. You have to get down to the specifics as sometimes there is a conflict but that is not what I heard. I heard “trans rights are not up for debate”. There is a hashtag “no debate”. They have the same rights as everyone else. In a democratic society you must be able to have debate, a law reform issue or for example the gender recognition act.
Professor Wintemute's comments to Feminist Current on TRA VIOLENCE:
They continued to push the door until they got into the room, disconnected the video projector and shut down the event. Like Washington 2021 and Brasilia January 2023 but a smaller forum, it was completely undemocratic. NO one has the right to disagree with another group’s meeting just because they disagree with the opinions that are being expressed. The current trans rights activists chant outside the seminar room was “F your system, F your hate, Trans rights have no room for debate”.
Professor Wintemute's comments to Feminist Current on CANADA.
My impression is that it (trans rights activism) was done quietly (in Canada) mainly behind the scenes. Winning over politicians etc. It only became obvious what was going on after same sex marriage was achieved. Canada was quite early in 2005, for England and Wales it was 2013, and USA 2015, At that point you have all these LGBT organizations worried that they don’t have any more work to do and that their funding might dry up. So they started focusing on transgender issues and pushing it strongly.
I just didn’t anticipate the EXTREME reaction which was a Facebook call for a protest and an open letter to McGill University. I didn’t actually read the whole thing. I assume they wanted McGill to cancel the talk. I didn’t get past the first sentence which said that if the talk went ahead, McGill would be actively contributing to the genocide of trans people across the world.
Professor Wintemute's comments to Feminist Current on THE CONFLICT OF RIGHTS
“Trans Rights are Human Rights” has no content. It is vague. There are a huge variety of rights. Some are not contested at all and some are. But asserting your right to change your sex with no conditions attached is not a human right. The majority of countries in Europe don’t allow that. Asserting the right of someone who has gone through male puberty to compete in women’s sports, that’s not a human right. The transgender rights movement has the ultimate goal of taking away a woman’s right to have her sex listed on her birth certificate which I think is very radical. The equivalent would be for LGB rights to want to see marriage abolished. That was never a serious proposal.
They say, every government in the world SHALL remove sex from birth certificates. They say this is an existing obligation under international human rights law and there is no support for that at all. In fact, I’m not aware of a single country that has done this. It just exposes their ultimate goal. It’s a call to action to resist the unreasonable demands of the transgender rights movement before they get to that stage.
Professor Wintemute's comments to Feminist Current on ADVICE TO WOMEN:
I see women as having two lines of defence. One is to try to have some conditions on changing legal sex by not making it so easy that a non- transgender man can abuse the procedure. The second line of defence is the exceptions. These might not be so well defined in Canadian legislation. I have not studied it. For example, we have a section 195 in the Equality Act 2010 on sports and it says very clearly that if sport is a gender affected activity where one’s sex can confer an advantage, then men can be excluded from sports on the basis of sex but also b) a transgender person can be excluded because of their gender reassignment.
Professor Wintemute's comments to Feminist Current on NEXT STEPS:
I would be happy to do something similar although the last time I was asked to give a human right’s talk from a safe distance online it was to Pakistan so it’s very sad if I have to do that for Canada as well. Another inquiry was to possibly rescheduling it at another University with proper security, it could be possible.
Canada now seems to be the woke capital of the world. Because transgender rights is an integral part of the woke movement I think you can expect an extreme reaction to questioning some of the demands of the transgender rights movement to take place in Canada.
I did come to McGill with a controversial message:
WOMEN HAVE HUMAN RIGHTS TOO BUT MOST WOMEN ARE TOO AFRAID TO SPEAK UP BECAUSE OF THE INTIMIDATION OF THE TRANSGENDER RIGHTS PEOPLE.
If my message had reached fifty people, I would have considered that a successful academic seminar. Instead, because of the protesters, I was on the radio an hour before and then after I spoke to these two Canadian television networks. When I returned to the UK, I went on GB News for a ten-minute interview with 70,000 views on Youtube. I just spoke to Voice For Wales online program with 1,400 people watching. It backfired spectacularly in terms of silencing me.
We look forward to Professor Wintemute’s next speaking event. It seems clear he will not be influenced by people with signs and bullhorns.