'A joyous event': Edmonton activists to counter Jordan Peterson lecture with dance party
The Free Expression Party: 12 Rules of Resistance will take place at La Cite Francophone on Feb. 11
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A dance party celebrating Edmonton’s LGBTQ community will coincide with Jordan Peterson’s highly publicized lecture on Feb. 11.
The Free Expression Party: 12 Rules of Resistance – a cheeky reference to Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos – will bring an evening of comedy and music to La Cite Francophone, using entertainment to counter what one organizer says is Peterson’s “transphobic” messaging.
“Instead of focusing on him and focusing on the ways that he continues to delegitimize trans identities, we’re going to celebrate all of these people because we care about them and they matter to us and we’re so delighted that they are in our community,” said Batul Gulamhusein, a field organizer with Progress Alberta.
Peterson is a University of Toronto professor who gained notoriety in 2016 after saying he would refuse to use some transgender students’ proper pronouns.
After he announced plans to come to the Citadel Theatre, some transgender Edmontonians expressed concerns that Peterson's lecture would embolden people with anti-LGBTQ views.
The Citadel cancelled the lecture and Peterson moved it to the Hyatt Downtown, where tickets sold out.
Metro confirmed Friday that he has since moved it to the ballroom at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre in Sherwood Park.
Scott Sellers, a spokesperson for Peterson, said the move was made to meet increased demand.
“There were a number of people disappointed that they weren’t able to get tickets for the event so the decision was made to move to a larger venue,” he said.
Sellers said Peterson was not available for comment Friday.
A Clarion Hotel representative said the ballroom has a capacity of 600.
Cassia Hardy, who will perform at the Free Expression Party as her musical project Wares, said the pay-what-you-can event is shaping up to be a “public gathering of fun and progressive people” where everyone has the possibility of making new friends.
“I certainly don’t want to give (Peterson) any sort of ego satisfaction by thinking we’re angry that he’s here,” she said.
“It’s just a nice excuse to get together and be happy. It’s a joyous event.”
Hardy said she takes issue with several of Peterson's stances – including his recent suggestion that a rise in sexual violence is due to sex no longer being enshrined in marriage – but added that the prof’s ideas are nothing new or unique.
“For me, he’s sort of lauded on the right as giving intellectual weight to this notion of disappearing white masculinity,” Hardy said.
“I see him as the embodiment of the status quo. Everything he’s saying is just a return to what we’ve fought so hard to go against."
DJ and electronic music producer Hood Joplin will close out the Free Expression Party.
Progress Alberta will also host an organizer training event on Feb. 10 with workshops on anti-oppression, political organizing, accessibility, addressing transphobia and media training.