Trinity Western cancels appearance by anti-SOGI activist

It ‘was not an official TWU sponsored event’ university said

Trinity Western University has cancelled a June 15th talk on campus by anti-SOGI activist Jenn Smith.

A statement issued by TWU said when the hall was booked, a “description of the event was not made clear.”

“This was not an official TWU sponsored event but was booked as a facility rental through our conferences service provider,” the statement said.

“Once we became aware of the nature of the booking, we canceled the booking.”

An online biography refers to Smith as “a transgender person” and states “he brings a perspective you can be assured is respectful of diversity and human rights, but which is firmly rooted in reality and the need to protect our children and our rights.”

A pro LGBTQ+ group at the university, called ‘One TWU’, had condemned the booking, saying “hosting an incendiary and one-sided speaker such as this seems counterproductive to the goal of campus unity.”

One TWU spokesperson Shawnessy Luke praised the university for acting swiftly.

“It’s a logical decision,” Luke told the Langley Advance Times.

“I’m impressed that the school acted this quickly.”

Smith condemned the decision.

“I am aghast at the spineless nature of the academic community today, but I was thinking TWU would be different since this is a topic that concerns many Christians,” Smith wrote in an online statement.

“Ideas and worldviews have to be aggressively defended or they will be destroyed by competing ideas. The marketplace of ideas is not a place for intellectual weaklings. Instead of standing strong, TWU has chosen to prostrate itself to activists who would just as soon destroy or completely co-opt their entire institution. If TWU represents the vanguard of the Christian community, then the Christian community is in a lot of trouble.”

Smith’s talk was titled “The Erosion of Freedom: How Transgender Politics in School and Society is Undermining Our Freedom and Harming Women & Children.”

Among the listed talking points were references to how “our most vulnerable youths that are falling for transgender ideology,” to “brainwashing in schools via SOGI 123 and other resources, the destruction of parental rights, and an exploration of related totalitarian laws that are being used by the state to enable children to transition against their parents’ wishes and criminalize any parents that fail to comply.”

Smith was also booked to speak at Douglas College in New Westminster, but that booking was cancelled by the college.

A statement issued by Douglas College said it was an “external booking and was not a Douglas College sponsored event” and went on to say that “the description of the event for the booking was not forthcoming about the specific topic.”

TWU recently amended a controversial covenant that forbids sexual intimacy outside of marriage, which is defined as between a man and a woman.

READ MORE: Trinity Western University changes controversial covenant

The move came after several law societies have said they would not recognize degrees issued by a proposed school of law at Trinity because of the covenant.

The law school was granted preliminary approval by the provincial government in 2013, but that approval was later withdrawn because of the various legal challenges mounted by critics in the legal community, who complained the clause was anti-gay and would violate a lawyer’s duty to represent all clients.

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