We’re at the BC Human Rights Tribunal to support transgender people’s right to be free from discrimination and hatred.
West Coast LEAF is committed to an inclusive vision of feminism that defends the right to be free from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.
We recognize that gender-based inequalities threaten the safety, well-being, and human rights of women, trans people of all genders, Two-Spirit people, intersex people, gender non-conforming people, and people with non-binary gender identities.
Starting today, West Coast LEAF is at the BC Human Rights Tribunal to intervene in a complaint arising under the BC Human Rights Code’s prohibition against discriminatory publications. The case, Oger v Whatcott, speaks to the legal protections necessary to ensure that transgender people are equal in our society.
In 2017, Morgane Oger ran for political office as an MLA for the Vancouver-False Creek riding. She was the first trans-identified candidate to run for election in the provincial legislature. Bill Whatcott produced and published pamphlets and made comments online attacking Ms. Oger on the basis of her gender identity. Among other things, Mr. Whatcott questioned the existence of Ms. Oger’s identity as a trans woman, calling her an “impossibility,” and linked transgender identity to an increased propensity for contracting diseases and for domestic violence.
Ms. Oger filed a complaint under s. 7 of the BC Human Rights Code, which prohibits publications that indicate discrimination or an intention to discriminate or which expose a person or class of persons to hatred or contempt. She has described Mr. Whatcott’s pamphlets as harmful to her personally, and as exposing other trans people to discrimination, hatred, and contempt.
West Coast LEAF is intervening to make submissions on how the Tribunal should interpret the Code’s prohibition against discriminatory publications in light of Charter values, including Ms. Oger’s right to equality.
The rights of transgender people to safety and dignity are essential human rights. Hate speech directed at transgender people is aimed at vilifying them and erasing their identity.
All people, including public figures like Ms. Oger, have the right to be free from discriminatory, hateful public comment.
To learn more about West Coast LEAF’s inclusive vision of feminism, read our recent blog post on shifting our mandate from focusing only on women to one that includes all people who are disempowered and oppressed by patriarchy.