A "police line, do not cross" barricade is seen

A "police line, do not cross" barricade is seen

(Photo: David von Diemar/Unsplash)

Charges for Suspect in 'Hate-Motivated' Knife Attack on Canada University Gender Studies Class

A "right-wing culture war and transphobic propaganda is never just about discourse, debate, or the 'potential for violence,'" said one gender studies professor in response to the attack. "It's about actual violence."

Police in Ontario, Canada on Thursday said the stabbing of multiple people in a University of Waterloo gender studies class was a "hate-motivated incident related to gender expression and gender identity" as they charged the suspect with several crimes.

Geovanny Villalba-Aleman, a 24-year-old former student at the school, was identified by the Waterloo Regional Police Service as the suspect and has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault, four counts of assault with a weapon, and two counts of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Villalba-Aleman is accused of stabbing a 38-year-old professor and two students, aged 19 and 20, after entering the classroom of a Philosophy 202: Gender Issues class on Wednesday afternoon and asking the professor "what the class was about," according toThe Imprint, the school's student newspaper.

After the professor answered and said she was the instructor of the class, Villalba-Aleman allegedly "closed the door, took out two knives, and began attacking the professor."

A student told The Imprint that the attacker "missed the professor and 'ended up attacking one or two other people.'"

The three victims were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

The stabbing is the latest attack in Canada that was allegedly motivated by gender-related hate.

In 2018, a man killed 10 people in Toronto when he drove a van into a crowd of pedestrians, later saying he had been motivated by his anger over being rejected by women.

Wednesday's attack comes amid a surge in anti-transgender rights legislation in the United States, with right-wing lawmakers passing more than 80 bans this year on gender-affirming healthcare, discussions about LGBTQ+ issues in schools, and students playing sports and using restrooms in accordance with their gender identity.

In the Canadian province of New Brunswick this month, conservatives changed rules for public schools to "recognize the role of parents" regarding the names and pronouns children use. A previous policy, adopted in 2020, stated that teachers should respect all children's chosen names and pronouns.

"It's the first well-documentedinstance of Canada copying U.S. anti-trans policies, which usually focus on solving a problem that doesn't exist through blatantly discriminatory practices," wrote Nate DiCamillo at Quartz.

The attack at University of Waterloo demonstrates that a "right-wing culture war and transphobic propaganda is never just about discourse, debate, or the 'potential for violence,'" said Jeremy Johnston, a gender studies professor at Western University in Ontario. "It's about actual violence."

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