Geovanny Villalba-Aleman on his graduation day last week. Photos via Instagram.
Canadian police say an attack on a university class examining gender studies was ideologically motivated and targeted due to the suspect’s animus towards the transgender community. On Wednesday, a 24-year-old man walked into a Philosophy 202 class at Waterloo University in Ontario and stabbed three people, including the class professor. Investigators believe that the attack was ideologically motivated, and that Geovanny Villalba-Aleman targeted that particular class because of his animus towards the transgender community.
A 38-year-old female professor, and two students — a 20-year-old woman and 19-year-old man—were transported to hospitals where they were treated for stab wounds described as “serious but not life-threatening” by Waterloo Police. Geovanny Villalba-Aleman, a recent graduate of the university, was arrested shortly after the attack and has since been charged. Students that were in the classroom at the time of the attack, said that the suspect entered the room and began speaking to the professor.
“The guy basically walked in and asked the teacher if he was the professor, he said ‘yeah’ then he pulled out a knife and after that, everybody just ran out,” Yusuf Kaymak, a student at University of Waterloo, told CTV News. “I ran out, and after we went outside, there was a kid that was stabbed. He was bleeding (from) his arm. I don’t know what happened to the professor.”The class, titled “Gender Issues,” was part of the undergraduate philosophy program. The university’s website describes the course as a “philosophical analysis of issues relating to sex/gender" wherein students will be challenged to consider questions such as, “what if anything, is the difference between sex and gender?”, “How much of a role do facts about biology play in our ideas about sex and gender?”, “How many sexes are there?” and “ What ethical issues arise for us in virtue of our gender?”
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Villalba-Aleman has been charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. The attack comes amid intensifying rhetoric targeting and villainizing the transgender and gender non-conforming communities. Drag shows are routinely met with violent and hateful protests, books teaching anything about gender or sexuality have been banned in many areas across the United States, hospitals giving care to trans youth have been targeted with bomb threats, and hate crimes targeting the community have been steadily on the rise in recent years. Canada has been no stranger to this increase in threats against the LGBTQ community. According to the most recent Canadian statistics, there was a 64% increase of reported hate crimes between 2019 and 2021 against people for their sexual orientation. In a recent speech, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that over the seven years of leading Canada, he’s seen a steep rise in LGBTQ hatred. “Transphobia, biphobia, homophobia, they're all on the rise. It's been difficult to watch people and institutions still continue to reject who you are, to try to deny members of our communities the rights to be seen and heard and celebrated," he said at a Pride flag-raising ceremony earlier this month. Trudeau recently came under attack from Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, after the Liberal prime minister spoke out against a New Brunswick policy that would mean teachers do not need to use a students’ preferred name or pronoun without parental consent. Poilievre told Trudeau to “butt out” and let “parents raise kids.” While attacks on schools and universities remain rare in Canada compared to the United States, many Canadians were quick to note that one of the most deadly shootings in Canadian history, the 1989 École Polytechnique attack in Montreal, was perpetrated by an anti-feminist, who killed 14 women in an engineering class.