‘Belligerent, reductive and dismissive:’ Oshawa school trustee Linda Stone censured for transphobic comments yet again


Published June 23, 2023 at 3:45 pm

Linda Stone is again under fire for tweets deemed transphobic. - via Twitter.

The controversial Oshawa Durham District School Board (DDSB) trustee Linda Stone has once again been reprimanded for continuing to make transphobic comments. This is the third time Stone has gotten into hot water for her “discriminatory” language.

The reprimand comes after the DDSB Integrity Commissioner Michael Maynard ruled against Stone following 13 separate complaints from citizens, Trustee Emma Cunningham and LGBT activist group Pflag Durham regarding Stone’s comments in meetings and on social media. Maynard kept most complainants anonymous save Cunningham since she sits on the board.

Each complainant filed a written complaint regarding a specific instance of Stone’s bigotry. Stone has a long record of sharing misinformation and outright lies about the LGBT community and transgender people specifically, both in public DDSB meetings and on social media.

Maynard did not go through each specific allegation in his report, he did outline Stone’s most egregious comments.  Most of the complaints stem from Stone’s Twitter usage in December 2022. While complaints also concerned Stone’s COVID-19 and climate change denial, the largest concern was her transphobic comments.

Stone claimed, “gender identity was made up by a pedophile psychopath” via a retweet of Libs of Tik Tok, a social media account belonging to American real estate agent Chaya Raichik. Raichik has grown increasingly popular in far-right circles and has been accused of directing her followers to harass and threaten LGBT people and their allies. This has even escalated to bomb threats to the Boston General Hospital.

Raichik claimed gender identity was invented by John Money, an abusive sexologist active in the 1960s and 70s. However, ideas of gender variance are as old as humanity itself. A character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the world’s oldest extant story, is described as “neither male nor female.” Other DDSB also cited First Nations Two-Spirited people as well as other countless examples across the world.

There, “is no more a case of Money making up the concept than it was the case that Newton made up gravity or Columbus made up America. They were always there.” Maynard wrote.

Additionally, the modern study of gender identity began around the turn of the 20th Century, most famously in Berlin at the Institute of Sexology, founded in 1919. The institute was the first of its kind to study LGBT people and campaign for better treatment. They also made pioneering research into gender affirmation procedures. However, the Nazis raided the institute in 1933 and burned all its irreplaceable records in one of their first public book burnings.

Stone also incorrectly claimed puberty blockers are harmful. However, studies indicate the blockers are largely safe and they’ve been in use since the 1980s. She also claimed she was defending people who “de-transition,” a very rare event usually driven by abuse and discrimination. Per Bedbible studies about 1.75 per cent of transgender people detransition, 83 per cent of whom cite “social pressure” as reason. One even said, “School staff harassed and abused me daily for my gender expression.”

According to an Egale study from 2011, 78 per cent of transgender student felt unsafe at school, 74 per cent of trans students reported being verbally harassed and 23 per cent reported transphobic language from teachers on a weekly basis.

The complaints describe Stones comments as “cherry-picked right-wing narratives that undermine the validity and credibility of Trans voices.” The Pflag complaint read in part “Stone has again retweeted comments comparing gender identity to that of pedophilia and stated that “biological women” have lost their voices and will cease to matter… She has made fun of gender-fluid
individuals and how they chose to present themselves, and actively retweeted anti-trans sentiment from an account which identifies her as a DDSB trustee.”

“Trans youth continue to struggle significantly in our schools and community,” wrote an Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation member, “They have some of the highest homeless, poverty, drop-out, and suicide rates of any oppressed group in the system, The harm that individuals like Stone inflict with their false narratives is unmeasurable, irresponsible, and
contradicts all credible medical and academic research.”

Stone did not engage with Maynard’s investigation through interviews to explain her perspective. She did accuse her critics of “defending a pedophile” in a statement to Maynard and said she was trying to defend children and “stand up for biological women.” Maynard said insistance Stone’s detractors were defending Money was a “an incredible and brutish leap of logic.”

“I have numerous supporters who I speak for because they do not feel they have a voice and can’t speak up do to [sic] fear of being canceled, ridiculed, defamed, fired,” she said. She invited the complainants to engage with her in a conversation about her beliefs.

However, complainants responses largely called the offer a bluff, “Identifying Ms. Stone’s tweets as transphobic and hateful is not opinion. Those posts are objectively transphobic and hateful. These posts are curated by her to perpetuate beliefs that negate the identity of trans people,” wrote one, “She is not inviting conversation or seeking information. She is selecting rare and obscure examples and presenting them as if they were representative of something larger.”

Ultimately Maynard “became convinced that Trustee Stone was not engaging in good faith discourse.” He continued, “Her activity was more akin to campaigning for one side of an issue to the exclusion of others…expression of political views, while permissible in some cases, becomes problematic for a Trustee when the subject matter of their commentary veers into disrespectful conduct and discrimination – which I believe occurred on several occasions.”

“The DDSB’s policy is essentially to acknowledge and respect how a child expresses their identity by accepting the child for who that child says they are,” he wrote, “To acknowledge and honour a child’s gender identity and expression is not a medical decision, nor one which can be equated with “transitioning” them.”

Maynard concluded Stone’s behaviour broke five section of the DDSB code of conduct. Her comments were discriminatory, shake public confidence, “were simply unprofessional and brought the standing and dignity of the DDSB and her role within it into question.”

“I find many of Stone’s comments to be one sided, belligerent, reductive and dismissive…This is simply unacceptable behaviour for someone occupying the office of school board Trustee. As a result of Maynard’s findings the council agreed. They censured Stone for the second time this year after previously doing fo in February. Stone first came under fire last spring and resigned. However she ran for re-election that fall and recieved the most votes for an Oshawa trustee.

While Stone was barred from commitee meetings in February, she has now been barred from all 2023 council meetings.

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