Skip to content

B.C. trans teacher files human rights complaint over online hate campaign

Wilson Wilson has filed a complaint against Joanna Evenson, who goes by the name Blonde Bigot on X
Joanna Evenson, front looking at the camera, with a group of anti-SOGI protestors outside the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District office in December last year.

A transgender teacher who taught at Pitt Meadows Secondary School has filed a human rights complaint against a woman whom they believe launched an online campaign of hatred against them. 

Wilson Wilson filed the complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal on Friday, June 22, with support from Lawyers Against Transphobia. 

"I'm standing up because as much as this has robbed me of my privacy and like my dignity as a person, I haven't been robbed of my power or responsibility," Wilson told Black Press Media. 

Wilson is currently on leave from the school because of the incident and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The incident started in December of last year when Wilson became the target of online threats after a far-right social media account, called Libs of TikTok, shared photos of Wilson, an artist who identifies as trans non-binary, that were from an art portfolio. 

One image showed Wilson topless and in the other in a netted shirt – both appearing to show a double mastectomy.

A person claiming to be a parent of at least one student at the school, who goes by the name Blonde Bigot on X, made allegations of student abuse and accused the school district as having child grooming and “pedophilic” activities and accused the teacher of glorifying their self-mutilation. The mother has since been identified as Joanna Evenson.

Thousands of people commented on X, a majority of them harassing Wilson and calling them names.

At the time Martin Dmitrieff, head of the Maple Ridge Teachers’ Association, said the images were in the public sphere because it was important for the teacher to interact as an artist through community art programs, where their work is being showcased.

"This could be anybody," said Wilson about the online harassment. "This could be any trans teacher. So, what I can do is stand up. And, if I don't stand up now the right has a successful strategy to silence trans teachers."

And, Wilson added, far right individuals and groups think if they shout louder they will win and they're growing more violent online.

"This was a very violent experience," Wilson said, admitting that they are still scared. 

"These attacks are not coming from parents with valid concerns. This is coming from groups who are either misinformed or, worse, they are aiming to remove human rights.

"I may be an individual person. This may have started with an individual person. This is a single event in a bigger context that is dangerous," said Wilson, who has had a lot of public support. 

Canadian lawyer barbara findlay, (whose name is lower case), with Lawyers Against Transphobia, explained that this is the first time in B.C. that they have used the human rights code to go after online "hate speech". 

"And we are intending to hold accountable anybody who tries to vilify people online. So we're expecting this will be a useful mechanism to do that. People who spew hate speech online need to be held accountable," said findlay.

Findlay noted they are also hearing from other queer and trans teachers whom the lawyer said are being harassed and doxxed, "for sure".

In a statement, Lawyers Against Transphobia claimed that Evenson misrepresented Wilson as a teacher of her child. They accuse Evenson of using online language that is "profoundly discriminatory", who has been suspended on X several times. 

“The right is deliberately targeting trans youth and their teachers. But this is the thin edge of the wedge. You only need to look at Saskatchewan, where the 
government has enacted legislation which overrides constitutionally-guaranteed equality rights, to see how far they are prepared to go,” said Jadine Lannon with Lawyers Against Transphobia.  

• Wilson's human rights complaint has not yet been determined before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
Read more