An undefined law?

by Aaron Wherry

Brent Rathgeber explains why he doesn’t support Bill C-279.

Regarding transsexuals (people who have had or are in the process of changing their gender), it is my understanding that such individuals already enjoy Human Rights protection because “sex” has always been a prohibited ground of discrimination. Certainly, at all times, regardless of the stage of completion of gender reassignment, a person has an identifiable gender.  Moreover, although a person interested in changing genders presumably is struggling with gender identity, not all people with gender identity issues have any interest in changing gender.  The terms are separate and distinct.

Now, cross-dressing may be an expression of gender identity or gender expression or may be unrelated to either.  Nothing precludes a non-transgender person from occasionally dressing up in drag to attend a theme party or event.  The terms are simply not interchangeable. Accordingly, the lack of definitions with respect to the terms creates a huge ambiguity as to who or what activities are to be protected and arguably is a fatal flaw.




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An undefined law?

  1. This is kind of like when a CPC MP (think it was Kenney) said marriage didn’t discriminate against homosexuals, because homesexuals could marry someone of the opposite sex.

    • Except in the case of homosexual marriage it was very clear what they were being denied, and Kenney was simply being an idiot.

      This one is less clear, and while I think Rathberger may have a point that discrimination based on gender identity certainly is already included in the charter under sex, the bit about “gender expression” isn’t.

      Or in other words, the charter prohibits us from discriminating against a person because they self identify as a man or a woman. It does not, however, prohibit us from discriminating against someone because they dress up as the opposite gender, and that’s what this bill would change.

      It’s a tricky road to start down though. Do we proceed from here to enshrine in the charter that people can’t be discriminated against because they’re just plain ugly? Of course we shouldn’t discriminate against them because of that, but let’s be honest, when you have two people applying for a position who have approximately the same experience and training, you’re probably going to pick the prettier one. And sometimes which one is prettier can simply be better dress sense.. which brings us into the whole idea of protecting based on gender expression.

      Because at the end of the day, what this legislation will do is give people the ability to sue others based on perceived discrimination. So I start going to job interviews for which I’m not qualified for in “gender inappropriate” clothing, then start making a living by suing these companies and settling out of court — because I’m pretty confident that few companies want to bother with a court trial defending their hiring choices, even if they are in the right of it. Especially if I’m willing to settle for a relatively low amount, a few thousand or so.

      Not that this says we shouldn’t do it. Personally, I expect the benefits would outweigh the negatives, and we can always work on legislation to deal with the side effects, but we should at least be aware of them before proceeding.

      • Or we could stop worrying about ‘gender inappropriate’ clothing in the first place. It only applies to men, and is more than outdated.

        • That would be the ideal solution, of course. And hopefully one day we’ll get there.

          Unfortunately, we live in the here and now, so we should probably deal with what’s actually happening.

          • Well personally I prefer leadership to pandering….what we need is more men kicking sacred cows.

  2. Mr Rathgeber appears to have a personal problem he needs to discuss with a doctor.

    • Have you discussed your omnipotence complex with your analyst yet?

      • Your post has been misdirected to me, when it should have gone to Rathgeber.

  3. I strongly suspect the honourable member is mistaken. He should ask Irwin Cotler, who in the last post shows why the anti-mask bill is flawed, for advice.

    • Except the anti-mask bill is seeking to criminalize a certain set of people.
      This is seeking to extend protections to a certain set of people. Very different aspects.

      • Mr. Cotler, one of Canada’s finest living legal minds, is likely more than capable of providing information on more than one topic.

        • Fair enough, but why bother referencing the anti-mask bill then if it wasn’t the point?

          • Underscores his strong legal skills (I suspect of current members only Ralph Goodale and maybe Saganash could expect to be in his league, and Cotler is still probably stronger) with a concrete recent example rather than having to reference his (still strong) pedigree.

    • Cotler squawks about the police already having the necessary tools to arrest these masked criminals.

      When he was Minister of Justice what did he do to ensure the Police and Prosecutors had the encouragement of the day`s government to strictly enforce the law ?

      Cotler spent his time as Justice Minister consulting with the Human Rights Commission and enforcing the long gun Registry. His interest in promoting the enforcement of existing laws in order to prosecute these masked criminals seems to be rather recent.

      • you are babbling.

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