On the weekend of September 23-24th, OneTWU put up posters on campus. The posters featured four TWU alumni who identify as LGBTQ+, along with the phrase “We went here, too,” the group logo, mission statement, and contact info.
Due to our wariness to interact with Student Life based on previous experience, the posters were initially put up without approval. However, Student Life contacted OneTWU on September 27th to express that their removal of posters was not to be misconstrued as a statement against LGBTQ+ students, but should rather be understood as TWU staff following long-established protocol. OneTWU was unaware that campus staff are instructed to remove any posters not previously approved by Student Life. They offered to stamp the posters, which fellow members did the next morning.
Even so, over the course of the next week, many of the newly stamped posters were removed from the majority of campus buildings.
In one instance, a student in OneTWU removed a poster from a Robson recycling bin and replaced it on the wall four times in one weekend before the recycling was taken out on Monday.
A few stamped posters were found torn and defaced in recycling bins around campus. Some of these posters have been rescued, reassembled, and reposted. Even some of these resurrected posters have been removed. The troubling factor in these aggressions is their purposeful, deliberate nature. On a lesser, but still troubling note, the transgressors were not above the act of defacing our posters, but they still chose to be kind to the Earth and recycle the remains.
Though these actions hurt, frustrate, and anger us, as members of OneTWU, they do not surprise us. LGBTQ+ students at TWU have been historically and are presently degraded, judged, harassed, and excluded. But this aggression is clearly documented in the tear marks of the discarded posters.
We want to emphasize the difference between debating an ideology and ripping up a poster with someone’s face on it. Whether or not you agree with our community or affirm our experiences, destroying a printed representation of a lived experience is an act of intense, personal violence. We are not having a debate over Biblical passages, this is defacing of a human being.
In the weeks since, many current students including TWUSA and alumni, have spoken out on Facebook condemning this behaviour. If anything good is to come out of this situation, it is the mass realization by current students and alumni that homophobia and active oppression do indeed exist, and not just outside of the Trinity bubble.
This past week, of October 23rd through 27th, a second wave of posters were put up to replace the ones which had been removed, or defaced. These new posters were paid for by supportive alumni. Unfortunately, while these posters were stamped, some were taken down within the hour. Representatives from OneTWU are working closely with Student Life to ensure that our resources will remain enact.
Our beloved TWU community has further to go before we can honestly describe ourselves as a community where all are welcome. We don’t think that’s too much to ask of a Christian community. We implore you, the reader, to speak love and listen to our stories.