Protesters converge outside The Hub, a community space on Fort Street, where controversial speaker Jenn Smith was holding a talk. (Nina Grossman/News Staf)

Protesters swarm Fort Street to challenge anti-trans speaker

Jenn Smith returns to Greater Victoria after Oak Bay event drowned out by protesters in May

A controversial anti-SOGI speaker returned to Victoria Thursday night to talk about “assault on free speech.”

READ ALSO: Freedom of Speech group criticizes UBC for charging Jenn Smith backers ‘security fees’

The talk was focused on Smith’s concerns about “an elite war on freedom of speech online” and promised an announcement “suggesting gross negligence” by government in handling transgender children. In a Facebook post, Smith implicated he was calling for a “provincial inquiry into the mass transitioning of foster children and orphans.”

Jenn Smith, who identifies as a transgender man and critic of transgender ideology stopped was in Oak Bay in May during his Erosion of Freedom tour through B.C. That talk, held at the Windsor Pavilion, was met with a large counter protest – between 200-300 protesters chanted, sang and waved LBTQ+ and transgender pride flags outside the facility. The tension-filled event was eventually shut down by Oak Bay Police and fire department.

RELATED: VIDEO: Hundreds of protesters drown out anti-SOGI speakers in Oak Bay

RELATED: Saanich church hosts anti-SOGI rally, drawing pro-SOGI protests

Protesters outside the Fort Street community hub where controversial transgender speaker Jenn Smith was speaking said they were there to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Smith’s Thursday night event was held at the The Hub, a commercial space donated by PARC Retirement Living on a temporary basis for use by small non profits. PARC’s community engagement coordinator Rick Marzolf released a statement Thursday saying it had requested the leaseholder cancel the event due to Smith’s history of controversy, but the leaseholder had decided to go forward with the talk, “due to what he perceived to be outside interference and aggressive social media posts, emails and calls opposing the event.”

“We apologize to any of our adjacent landowners, tenants and neighbours if there is any disruption to your operations as a result of the event,” Marzolf stated.

The event – which appeared to have about ten attendees – drew another large group of protesters. Sage burned as a crowd of about 100 chanted: “Trans rights are human rights.” “No hate on Salish land.” “Trans women are women.” “Trans men are men.”

The talk continued inside while protesters continued to chant and cheer. Members of the Victoria Police Department were present to help with safety, if needed.

“It is important to educate and encourage people to break the hatred, break the ignorance and come together in the name of love,” said protester Tryce Blion. “Trans rights are human rights, they are human beings just like anyone else, and everyone deserves education, love and support. We can get there we just need each other.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Six months to Francophone Games, 600 volunteers needed

Online applications open on Jan. 14

Tech consortium invests $25 million into four University of Victoria research projects

Investments come with goal of developing, implement technologies created by Canadians

Organizers seek input for long-awaited Oaklands community garden

Oswald Park Community Garden Design Workshop coming up on Jan. 19

Improperly transporting a pet in the back of the truck can cost up to $368

Police recommend keeping all animals inside the passenger portion of the vehicle

Mass-timber project in Esquimalt switches from condos to rentals

Corvette Landing will now offer rental units in the area

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read