Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ontario Gender Identity and Discrimination - You Won't Believe This

Gender Identity - Your Rights and Responsibilities in Ontario - Bet you didn't know this or even suspect it

Before I write another word, let me say that I support human rights for all. However, I consider myself much more inclusive than our Human Rights Commissions, who seem to be selective or at the very least hierarchical in their application of human rights. As well, I do not need to go to extremes to explain myself, like the following.

On the Ontario Human Rights Commission web site, there is a page specifically dedicated to Gender Identity and the rights of people defined to have gender identity that goes beyond the male, female, homosexual spectrum. I read this the other day as part of my review of stuff HRCish, and was shocked by what I encountered there. I thought that George Orwell was a fiction writer who was deceased. Little did I know that he lives and works here in Ontario for the Ontario HRC. Either that or his clone does. As yet clones are not a defined sub group under Gender Identity. Maybe gender identity is not an issue for clones as yet.

It is so bizarre to me that I could link you to the page, and go get under my covers and hide until the insanity wears off in this province. But instead, I am choosing to excerpt it in large part, and comment on it.

As I stated in another post, I have a friend who is transgendered. I would not switch places with her, who used to be a him, for anything on this earth. But, I have spent hours with her, and have a slight understanding of how difficult life must be for her, and I mean slight. Having met her spouse of over 40 years, I have some slight understanding of how difficult life is for them in the transition that my friend is making to the transgendered world from the formerly confused heterosexual male world.

It would not dawn on me to discriminate against her, and because of who she is and where she has come from, she would not DEMAND her rights, but chooses to give people the opportunity to know her and accept her as she is. But, she is also sensitive to the fact that she still has male genitalia, and as such forcing herself on women in certain situations would not be healthy for the other women particularly.

Anyway, here is what the Ontario government wants us all to know about gender identity and discrimination. To the best of my knowledge, Ontario is the only province to have BROKEN ground on this area.

So, from the web page: "
The Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario and applies to the areas of employment, housing, facilities and services, contracts, and membership in unions, trade or professional associations."

Standard fare thus far, except that the workd "discrimination" probably warrants some serious analysis all on its own, but that is a separate topic I think.

"People who are discriminated against or harassed because of gender identity are legally protected under the ground of ‘sex’. This includes transsexual, transgender and intersex persons, cross-dressers, and other people whose gender identity or expression is, or is seen to be, different from their birth-identified sex."

So, here are 4 specific sub types as bases for discrimination on the basis of sex, plus the ubiquitous "and other people whose gender identity or expression is, or is seen to be, different from their birth-identified sex." My imagination does not give me much to go on here to fill this category, unless predilections for farm animals counts. All I can tell you is that except for the last sentence, I am not making this up here. But, just posing a hypothesis here. Are not pedophilia, necrophilia, and some of the other currently fetishes, which may or may not be criminal just "gender identities or expressions"? Just a thought - a sick one, as in I am getting nauseous thinking that our government could actually be reading this and thinking I have a point. I do not have a point, please.

Then there are some fancy feel good words. "Gender identity is linked to a person’s sense of self, and particularly the sense of being male or female."

This is then followed by definition of specific Gender Identity types for our edification.

Then, the government tells us what discrimination and harassment mean to gender identity folks, at least in their opinion.

"Discrimination because of gender identity is any action based on a person’s sex or gender, intentional or not, that imposes burdens on a person or group and not on others, or that withholds or limits access to benefits available to other members of society. This can be overt or subtle, and includes systemic discrimination, such as when there is a non-inclusive rule or policy.

Harassment is a form of discrimination. It includes comments, jokes, name-calling, or behaviour or display of pictures that insults or offends you or puts you down because of your gender identity."

This would sound good to me except for the judgemental component of "insults or offends or puts you down". That is all about feelings. If you are a gender identified person and feel insulted, then it was an insult. PERIOD. "Nice day today isn't it Mary (who used to be Bill)." "It's a lousy day out, and I feel insulted."

The next paragraph goes on to say: "No person should be treated differently while at work, at school, trying to rent an apartment, eating a meal in a restaurant, or at any other time, because of their gender identity."

Before we look at their examples, here's one of mine. Bill comes to work in his business suit one day. The next day he comes to work dressed in a pretty red frock, with patent leather pumps and a Gucci bag to match. I don't know about you, but try as I might, it would be difficult to take Bill seriously on Day 2. Just a thought.

But, let's take a look at the examples that our government gives us of discrimination:

Example: A transsexual person answers an ad for an apartment. The superintendent says there are no units available, even (sic) through there are.

So if the superintendent doesn't like the cut of somebodies jib, particularly if that person is a gender identity person, that's too damn bad. If a clean cut, well mannered white guy comes to rent the apartment, and a scruffy transsexual comes as well, it would be discrimination to pick the white guy over the transsexual.

OK here's an easy one.

Example: An employee tells his manager that he cross-dresses. His manager says he will no longer qualify for promotions or job training because customers and co-workers will be “uncomfortable” with him.

So, I hire you to do a job selling clothing in my men's wear store to the public. You show up for a while stylishly dressed in good quality men's wear, as I would expect. You then decide that your inner Cross-dresser is not being explored and decide to wear that pretty red frock, with the matching shoes and Gucci bag. And if I tell you that that is not acceptable, then I am discriminating against you. What about your bait and switch that you pulled on me? Oh, I forgot. I'm a normal white guy. You are a Gender Identity challenged person. That's discrimination on my part. Bad Me and it's off to kangaroo court we go.

Ok, try this one on for size.

Example: A transsexual woman is not allowed to use the women’s washroom at her place of work. Her manager defends this by explaining that other staff have expressed discomfort. This workplace needs a policy that clearly states the transsexual employee has the right to use this washroom, while providing education to resolve staff concerns and to prevent future harassment and discrimination.

This one really gets my goat. I know a number of women who were sexually abused at some time in their lives, and they are very sensitive to variations in sexuality, and they should have rights too. So, if one or more of these employees was sexually abused, their anxieties are irrelevant, and the transsexual woman gets to use the washroom she chooses, with no concern for them, and they then get to be re-educated. Good luck with this one Ontario HRC. This kind of cr?p really p?isses me off.

Let's skip along to the next part of this government lesson, Duty to Accommodate. Here's what our government has to say with examples for the dull of mind:

"The “duty to accommodate” is the legal obligation that employers, unions, landlords and service providers have under the Code. The goal of accommodation is to allow people to equally benefit from and take part in services, housing or the workplace. It is a shared responsibility and everyone involved, including the person asking for accommodation, should cooperate in the process, share information, and jointly explore accommodation solutions."

The above sounds okay. But really the gender identity person is in the driver's seat, since he/she can go to the Ontario HRC if he/she doesn't like the accommodation. Remember the all expenses paid for you trip to the Star Chamber for the Complainant, and the all expenses paid up the wazoo for the Defendant.

So, how come I have to stand to pee. I want to use the women's wash room too. Oh, right I am not a gender identity person. Silly me.

So, here is an example, courtesy of the Ontario HRC. There are 2, but you can read the other on your own at the link at the bottom of this page:

Example: A transgendered man raises safety concerns due to threats in the men’s locker room at his gym. The gym management sanctions the harassers and explores possible solutions with the client, such as a single-occupancy shower and change room, or a showering and changing stall in the men’s locker room. They provide him with access to the staff facilities in the interim.

Gym management is going to spend thousands of dollars to make separate change room facilities for "1" transgendered man, who pays a membership of $40 per month to the club. This makes perfect sense to me in the context of the savings in legal fees and Shakedown award trying to win this case at the Tribunal.

One last section remains. That is Confidentiality of Information. You gotta read this from our government:

"An employer or service provider who legitimately needs and collects personal information that either directly or indirectly shows that a person’s sex is different from his or her gender identity, must ensure the maximum degree of privacy and confidentiality. This applies in all cases, including employment records and files, insurance company records, medical information, etc."

As I read this, if you work for me and are a transgendered female for example, I have to keep the transgendered part of it a secret, while I accommodate that you are transgendered. So, I pretend that you are just another female, but spend a small fortune to give you separate washrooms, or hire new staff to replace the ones who quit because you insisted on using the women's washrooms.

This is almost too absurd to be reality. I am expecting Alan Funt to pop out with a camera and say "Smile you're on Candid Camera."

If you want to read the entire page, you can do so here.


Muskoka said...

A win for the good guys:

Muskoka said...

A win for the "good guys" at last in BC