The stickers, which include phrases like "women don't have penises" and "transitioning worsens dysphoria,” started appearing last week after Canada’s Memorial University recently installed new gender-neutral restrooms on the school's St. John's campus. The restrooms were created as a result of efforts by the university to be more inclusive towards transgender and non-binary students.
The transphobic stickers are now popping up in multiple buildings at the university.
"It makes me uneasy," second-year student Andrew Kenney, the transgender student rep with MUN's Student Union told Canada’s CBC. "Putting the gender-neutral washrooms in place was a huge step for trans people on campus feeling safe, and now that those areas have been targeted it's disheartening, and it's kind of scary."
Kenney also said that he was not surprised to see the stickers appear. "Being a trans person I know that transphobia exists,” Kenney said. “I've seen it before, [but] it's disappointing to see it in my university where I'm supposed to feel safe."
According to Bailey Howard, MUNSU's director of external affairs, the student union is planning two meetings on Thursday and Friday to discuss their next steps, and to make it clear that the union, students and faculty won't tolerate these stickers. "We're going to be having a public meeting for students and community members within the university to come together and talk about ways to counter the transphobia that we're seeing on campus," Howard said.
Students are already taking steps to address the stickers by taking them down whenever they see them and replacing them with new transgender positive posters instead.
Howard says she hopes whoever is putting up the stickers is found and that their name is released. "Students don't feel safe knowing that they could be also entering a classroom or walking down the halls with someone who is actively targeting them on campus, and they should know who that person or people are," Howard said.
The transphobic stickers mirror similar tactics that took place in London this past August, when phallus-shaped stickers carrying the phrase “women don’t have penises” appeared in locations throughout the city including Stonewall, the London based LGBT center.