Elected school official under fire for spreading ‘unhinged’ transgender coronavirus conspiracy theory
A controversial school trustee is under scrutiny for spreading disinformation in a Facebook post that linked the World Health Organization with transgender children.
Barry Neufeld is an elected trustee for the Chilliwack School District in British Columbia, Canada. He recently took to social media to cast doubt on the WHO’s approach to coronavirus and attack the organisation for its support of trans rights and abortions.
“It just dawned on me! Who is perpetuating all this fear over the dreaded coronavirus?” he wrote in the now-deleted post.
“Why is it the World Health Organization, the same outfit that claims easy access to abortion is a human right, and that gender is NOT binary: pre-pubescent children should be allowed to choose their own gender, sterilise themselves and pretend they have successfully changed their gender to comply with what they FEEL they are.”
He then moved to attack Canada’s chief medical health officer Dr Theresa Tam, claiming that the doctor is “suspected” of being transgender and attempting to misgender her.
“If this person, who has spent a major portion of their life deceiving people as to who [she] truly is and is now a corrupt player in the World Health Organization, why should we believe anything [she] says?”
Barry Neufeld’s post ‘height of irresponsibility’.
British Columbia’s minister of education, Rob Fleming, called the post “the height of irresponsibility” and said he was preparing to refer Neufeld to the state’s human rights commissioner for spreading “false news in the middle of a pandemic”.
“This person is not just a private citizen, this is somebody who is well-known as an elected official and involved in the responsibilities of elected office, in this case, looking after the well-being of children and youth in his school district,” Fleming told Global News.
“It’s particularly reprehensible at a time when the mental health and well-being of our students, all students, LGBTQ students included, is paramount for all of us to be concerned about.
“So this is just more recklessness and an even higher level of being unhinged, given this trustee’s history of making inflammatory, derogatory and hateful comments.”
School trustee has history when it comes to attacking trans people.
He added that Neufeld’s comments fit into a pattern of attacking LGBT+ people. The trustee has previously come under fire for his remarks in public and on social media in which he called gender dysphoria a “sexual addiction” and compared transitioning to child abuse.
Chilliwack School Board chair Dan Coulter said Neufeld’s post was “troubling” as it used “layered transphobia” to condemn social distancing restrictions.
This was echoed by trans rights advocate Kaitlyn Bogas, who told Global News that Neufeld’s comments amounted to hate speech and carried more weight as they came from an elected official.
“If you’re in an elected position, with those kind comments, there should be a mechanism in whatever jurisdiction you’re elected in that you could be removed”, she said.
The ministry of education has no power to remove a sitting trustee, so Neufeld’s position going forward rests on the school board. The board have said they will “discuss the situation”.