Not simply a gender issue

By Hannah Murray

Editors, the Gauntlet,

As you may or may not know, the Reform Party on Campus is once again a sanctioned club after coming to an agreement with the Students’ Union. However, the problems involving this group have not ended. I used to be an active member of this group until I was ostracized by three Reformers whom I considered ‘friends.’

On Jan. 19, 1999, I was in the Political Clubs’ office when I was confronted about my involvement in the Women’s Collective and Resource Centre Society and Gays and Lesbians Academic Students and Staff. Through a brief conversation, these three men conveyed their disgust and disapproval of these two groups.

They asked me to justify my involvement in these groups and informed me that I could not be a Reformer and a member of these groups at the same time. Indeed, one of the men said, “You can’t be a feminist and a Reformer at the same time.” In addition, I was told that “men control corporations, the railroads, the government, and the money”-in that order. Finally, there were sexist jokes made which centered around the cultural stereotype of women’s inferiority. When one of the men told me he agreed with the recent British Columbia court ruling sanctioning the possession of child pornography, I left the office.

All of this leads me to believe that the Reform Party is chauvinistic and intolerant of gays and lesbians, and thus requires me to question the true intentions of the Reform Party.

Sexual harassment is an act of hatred. It is also illegal. Sexual harassment can come in many forms. Some of the definitions are as follows: “Sexual harassment is unwanted attention based on sex, gender, or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment can be verbal, written, graphic or physical. Sexual harassment creates an offensive, intimidating or hostile learning or living environment” (University of Calgary Sexual Harassment pamphlet).

When I left the office that day, I felt betrayed by my ‘friends’ and the Party. I find it interesting that I found support precisely were I was told I shouldn’t be-the WCRC and glass. Sexual harassment has no place on campus or in Canadian society, as sanctioned by law. I will not tolerate this type of behaviour, and other women should not either. If you have a similar problem, please contact the University Sexual Harassment Advisor. You can find her at University Counseling Services at 220-4086.

Hannah Murray

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