Councillor, known for mocking pronouns, posts controversial message on Facebook group
Jeremya Deneault claims to identify as ‘reciprogender,’ male or female based on odd or even-numbered days
Screenshots have surfaced of Concordia Student Union councillor Jeremya Deneault making inappropriate comments in private messages, in Zoom chats and in Facebook groups. Councillors say these types of comments are contributing to a toxic and disrespectful work environment at the CSU.
“It’s incredibly messed up and has really affected me,” said councillor Paige Beaulieu about Deneault’s conduct and comments about gender identity.
Multiple sources confirmed that Deneault misgendered Beaulieu in meetings.
Beaulieu shared a message sent by Deneault before the first council meeting of the year. It reads, “Hi, when you come in the meeting Isaiah will ask you about your gender pronoun. May you please say ‘flying helicopter’ for laughs? My friend suggested it to me only after I did it.”
Beaulieu answers that they identify as “they/them” and will gladly take the opportunity to disclose their pronouns.
Beaulieu also tells Deneault that he should take gender pronouns seriously, which Deneault replies by asking Beaulieu to please joke about it first. Beaulieu does not reply and Deneault wrote “nevermind, I’ll respect.”
Beaulieu thanked Deneault, who later apologized for misgendering them.
Beaulieu said they were misgendered again during the Sept. 2 meeting, prompting a message from Deneault apologizing for any past incidents of misgendering, stating he forgot Beaulieu identified as “they.”
“The most recent apology was regarding his misgendering of me during the meeting last night, right after I gave a very passionate speech during closed session,” Beaulieu explained following the Sept. 2 meeting.
“While he does apologize, there are zero changes in behaviour, which I personally interpret as a lack of remorse for said actions.”
Post in council Facebook group seems to contradict apology
On Sept. 2, Deneault posted in the CSU 2020-2021 Facebook group to advise members he has for a few weeks been identifying himself as “reciprogender.” He describes this as identifying as male or female depending on whether the day of the month is odd-numbered or even-numbered.
Searching “reciprogender” on Google only yields two results, neither related to what Deneault described.
Per the attached image he clarifies that on months containing an additional day he identifies as intersex to “balance.”
Intersex people are born with a varied combination of sex characteristics and do not fit into the typical definition of male and female bodies.
The screenshot also shows councillor Désirée Blizzard asking that Deneault “stop making pronouns a joke.”
Not an isolated incident
The Link has obtained screenshots from council meeting Zoom chats where Deneault is seen making comments about a councillor’s partner who walked past on screen during the Sept. 2 meeting.
“Your girlfriend looks pretty, Zach,” Deneault wrote. Beaulieu replied that the comment was inappropriate and councillor Zach Williams added that his partner identifies as non-binary.
“While he does apologize, there are zero changes in behaviour, which I personally interpret as a lack of remorse for said actions,” – Paige Beaulieu
Deneault apologized and said he “wanted to acknowledge the walk-on indirectly and playfully.”
In this meeting, Deneault had “she/her” pronouns in his screen name on Zoom.
When General Coordinator Isaiah Joyner asked if Deneault used she/her pronouns, Deneault immediately removed them.
The Link obtained screenshots of Deneault sending an eggplant emoji to the 2019-2020 council group chat as people were leaving the chat, which made some councillors uncomfortable.
Other screenshots show Deneault using “flying helicopter” as his pronoun on his Zoom screen name.
In the same Zoom meeting, Deneault comments in the chat that Isaiah Joyner and Maurice Ngwakum-Akisa, Chairperson of the Commerce & Administration Students’ Association, both Black men, look like they could be brothers. Other councillors called the comment inappropriate.
Commenting on Deneault’s Facebook post, Beaulieu insisted they would never impede on someone’s ability to identify themselves as their correct gender.
“I cannot say whether the gender orientation Jeremya speaks of (reciprogender) is real or not. What I can say is that through my lived experience as a trans non-binary individual and a part of this community, I have never come across this orientation nor any online discourse regarding it,” Beaulieu said.
Beaulieu explains that while they are no expert, the definition of intersex presented by Deneault in the Facebook post is incorrect.
“The much larger and complicated history that surrounds being intersex is not captured by the definition given on the post,” Beaulieu said. “Jeremya states that it ‘blends male and female gender identities.’ This sounds akin to the non-binary gender identity.”
Beaulieu reiterates that they speak from personal and community experience.
“Jeremya’s past actions involve making fun of pronouns directly to me by urging me to say mine are ‘flying helicopter,’ misgendering me, and commenting inappropriately to various members on Council within online group chats,” Beaulieu said, regarding their personal experience with Deneault.
“These incidents have taken away my ability to feel safe and respected on council as a gender non-conforming individual, regardless of Jeremya’s own gender. Despite Jeremya issuing apologies after said actions, I have yet to see significant change and from the dates of each incident, one can see that this has spanned months,” they stated.
“Frankly, I find this unacceptable and something needs to be done.”
Deneault did not reply to a request to comment.