News / Halifax

Trans woman afraid to attend Halifax women's march after verbal attacks

After posting a message about inclusivity on the Facebook event for the page, Jade Byard Peek was targeted by hateful commenters.

A man and woman share a moment as demonstrators gather in support of the Women's March on Washington in Halifax on Saturday, January 21, 2017.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

A man and woman share a moment as demonstrators gather in support of the Women's March on Washington in Halifax on Saturday, January 21, 2017.

A Halifax transgender woman says she will not be attending Saturday’s women’s march in the city after organizers apologized for verbal attacks against her on the event’s Facebook page.

Jade Byard Peek, a Black and Mi'kmaq transgender woman and the national woman's representative for the Canadian Federation of Students, said she’s not attending as she’s afraid she will be verbally attacked.

Peek is still calling on others to go however, and "hold signs, use your voice to call out issues."

“This falling out has built a network of solidarity," she said about her decision.

The verbal attacks against Peek started last Saturday after she posted a statement on the women's march Facebook page expressing her concerns about inclusivity, particularly for Black, Indigenous and/or queer people.

Over the next 18 hours, the post garnered more than 500 comments. The back-and-forth exchanges on the post saw many people targeting Peek’s gender with hateful comments.

"I made a post on the women's march page and instantly got attacked," she said.

The next day, organizers were made aware of what was happening and deleted the post, and turned off all comments on the page.

One of the Facebook comments mocked the high suicide rates in the transgender community.

"I'm suppose to give af that David feels like a girl and unless I feed his delusions, I'm responsible for his suicide,” it read.

Another comment referenced the women's march event directly, "As a woman I certainly have the right to say males don't need to be centered in feminism or woman's space."

Many people who came to Peek's defence criticized the organizers of the woman's march for not responding fast enough to the attacks.

Rana Zaman, march organizer, said in an interview with Metro that by the time they realized what was happening they "reacted quickly.”

"As we were reading, bubbles were just popping up and popping up, more and more aggression it was so painful to watch, so we said okay the best thing to do is just shut it down and deal with it afterward," Zaman said.

Peek disagreed with the choice of taking down the post and comments, noting "by deleting all the comments now you've just erased educational moments."

"We made the wrong decision," Zaman said.

Organizers have since reached out to Peek and asked if she would like to make another statement on the page, but with the comments turned off.

Peek said she is deciding whether to follow through with a new post.

"This is a live example that we can’t hide violence," said Peek.

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