NEW YORK, Oct 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Police are
investigating online threats against transgender students at a
Canadian university, authorities said on Tuesday, amid rising
tension over transgender rights as the government tries to push
through legislation to protect the minority group.
The threats against University of Toronto students come
after recent campus protests in response to comments by a
professor and critic of a bill to prohibit discrimination on the
grounds of gender identity and expression.
Denio Lourenco, 21, said he was among those who had received
threats and disparaging messages.
"There will be blood. Be very afraid," said one Facebook
message addressed to Lourenco, who is also the lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender and queer coordinator at the University of
Toronto Mississauga Students' Union.
Earlier this year, Canada's Liberal government introduced
Bill C-16 to protect transgender people against
In a video he posted on YouTube, University of Toronto
professor Jordan Peterson criticised the use of genderless
pronouns, such as "they", to refer to transgender people -
igniting student protests.
The University of Toronto condemned "the targeting of
individuals and communities on the basis of gender identity" in
an email sent to all students.
A spokeswoman for the university said she could not comment
on how many students had received threats due to the ongoing
So far Canada has not experienced as intense a controversy
over the transgender rights as its southern neighbor the United
States, where controversy over access to public bathrooms in
college dorms are the latest front in a battle over transgender
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo, Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please
credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of
Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights,
trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)