Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why A Trans Rights Bill Is Needed In Canada

This is a guest post from the fabulous Monica of TransGriot


Liberal MP Dr.Hedy Fry and NDP MP Randall Peterson just introduced Bills C-276 and C-279 a few days ago in the Conservative majority dominated Parliament.  

Why did they do so?   Because it's clear that the Great White North and the trans people who live inside its borders need that human rights coverage.

A blatant case of anti-trans discrimination has blown up and become international news centered on the Trail's End Farmers Market in London, ON.

On September 10 Karen Clarke, the cis female owner and proprietor of True 2 You of London, a business that sells candles, oils, air fresheners and incense was called by the manager of the farmer's market and told she could not set up a booth in their 'family friendly' facility the next week if she planned on having a trans person running it. 

Clarke had worked a morning shift in the booth, then left it in the hands of her trans employee Dani Dominick in order to prepare for the next day's business.   She was shocked to receive the transphobic call at 8 PM that evening.
"He said it made everyone uncomfortable and it just wasn't right. This is a family place, a family market and this just isn't right. I just kept insisting what happened that was wrong and he said you walk up to the person and they're dressed like a woman and they've got big hands, a deep voice and tattoos and it's just not right. It's just not a family place he kept repeating that over and over again. And I kept trying to get from him what was wrong, what was so not right, what was it that people were complaining about and there was no details forthcoming that way. He called them 'those people' several times."  
Dani, the employee in question is according to Clarke one of her best employees and has worked without issue at the Children's Festival, Rib Fest, and Food Fest this past summer. In addition to working for Clarke, Dani also lives with her as part of a rent-for-work agreement.Attorney Michelle Boyce is providing legal counseling to Clarke and a discrimination complaint has been filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.   Boyce says that if it rules in their favor, the fall out could be significant.

"We're in the process of filing human rights against Trails End Market, its blatant discrimination of what they've done. I've never seen a case so obvious."

There is a Change.org online petition that has sprung up in support of Clarke and the trans workers discriminated against that has garnered over 3700 signatures .

But let's hope that some of the fallout from this incident that Boyce talked about is a groundswell of positive public opinion that gets the Trans Rights Bill passed even in this Conservative dominated Parliament.