The Press Complaints Commission has issued its ruling following an inquiry into the Julie Burchill article. Transgenders called for the criminalization and censorship of Burchill when she described trans activists who use threats of rape and murder against feminists as “bedwetters in bad wigs”. The title of the article “Transsexuals should cut it out” referred to the ubiquitous harassment, violent threats, and bullying against feminists by transgender activists. You can read her censored article in full HERE.
Commission’s decision in the case of
Two Complainants v The Observer / The Daily Telegraph
The complainants were concerned about a comment article which responded to criticism of another columnist on social networking sites. The article had first been published by The Observer. Following The Observer’s decision to remove the article from its website, it had been republished on the website of The Daily Telegraph. The Commission received over 800 complaints about the article, which it investigated in correspondence with two lead complainants, one for each newspaper.
The complainants considered that the article contained a number of prejudicial and pejorative references to transgender people in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. They also raised concerns under Clause 1 (Accuracy) that language used by the columnist was inaccurate as well as offensive, and, furthermore that the article misleadingly suggested that the term “cis-gendered” was insulting. Additionally, concerns had been raised that the repeated use of terms of offence had breached Clause 4 (Harassment) of the Code.
The Commission first considered the complaints, framed under Clause 12, that the article had contained a number of remarks about transgender people that were pejorative and discriminatory. It noted that the Observer had accepted that these remarks were offensive, and that it had made the decision to remove the article on the basis that the language used fell outside the scope of what it considered reasonable; however, the Observer denied a breach of Clause 12 because the article had not made reference to any specific individual. Clause 12 states that newspapers “must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”. However, the clause does not cover references to groups or categories of people. The language used in the article did not refer to any identifiable individual, but to transgender people generally. While the Commission acknowledged the depth of the complainants’ concerns about the terminology used, in the absence of reference to a particular individual, there was no breach of Clause 12.
The Commission also considered the complaint under the terms of Clause 1, which states that “the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures”. Complainants had suggested that the terms used in the article to refer to transgender people were inaccurate or misleading. Whilst the Commission acknowledged this concern, it was clear from the tone of the article that these terms were being used to express an opinion. Whilst many people had found this opinion deeply distasteful and upsetting, the columnist was entitled to express her views under the terms of Clause 1(iii), so long as the statements were clearly distinguished from fact. The same was true in relation to the columnist’s assertion that the term “cis-gendered” is offensive. Viewed in the context of the article as a whole, particularly in light of the fact that the article had been deliberately identified as a comment piece, this was clearly distinguishable as an expression of her opinion about the term rather than a statement of fact about how it is perceived more broadly. This did not constitute a failure to take care over the accuracy of the article, for the purposes of Clause 1(i), and neither was there any significant inaccuracy requiring correction under the terms of Clause 1(ii). There was no breach of Clause 1.
The Commission turned to consider those concerns raised under Clause 4, which states that “journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit”. It made clear, however, that the publication of a single comment piece was not conduct which would engage the terms of Clause 4. There was no breach of the Code.
The Commission acknowledged that the complainants found much of the article offensive. Nonetheless, the terms of the Editors’ Code of Practice do not address issues of taste and offence. The Code is designed to address the potentially competing rights of freedom of expression and other rights of individuals, such as privacy. Newspapers and magazines have editorial freedom to publish what they consider to be appropriate provided that the rights of individuals – enshrined in the terms of the Code which specifically defines and protects these rights – are not compromised. It could not, therefore, comment on this aspect of the complaint further.
Too bad, bedwetters.
[bolding by me-GM]
‘Transilience’ – Joelle Ruby Ryan University of New Hampshire Harassment Campaign Against Women : Call For Action
March 11, 2013
I am writing this today out of a deep concern for the rights of women, feminists and lesbians to speak publicly about issues that effect us. Specifically, I would like to address the actions of Dr. Joelle Ruby Ryan and his ongoing attempts to harass, bully, censor and silence women and feminists on the internet, and the University of New Hampshire’s apparent complicity in his outrageous and illegal actions which Ryan claims to perform under authority of UNH.
You may notice that this week’s post -where we discussed ‘Transilience’, Joelle Ruby Ryan’s new University of New Hampshire Health sponsored video- is no longer visible. Also missing are your comments in the discussion that followed. The reason for this is that UNH’s Dr. Ryan has filed a false, perjured, harassing copyright claim that he apparently hopes will re-write all previous first amendment rights. Here is a screen cap of the post in question:
Here is the entire text of that post, none of which Dr. Ryan had a problem with. It was succinctly titled “Transilience – Hilar!” and read:
“Joelle Ruby Ryan’s new autobiographical spoken word/stand-up routine.
Joe is the guy who teaches Women’s Studies at the University of New Hampshire who claims the word “female” is outdated and offensive, that there is no shared experience of oppression among women, and thus no class basis for a feminist movement. Joelle believes all female gatherings and spaces should be outlawed as discriminatory against males. More about Joe here:http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/?s=joelle+ruby+ryan
In this looong monologue, the 6 foot 6, 350 lb Ryan shares his youthful experiences being called a “fag” which somehow translates into discovering the sexxay of pantyhose on his shaved legs and a love of stilettos. He shares tales of blowing chunks of sushi all over during drunken binges, and reveals the peace he achieves taking long 4am walks around town alone.
Excerpt: “Mother Nature is a great teacher. I am continually amazed at the kindness and cruelty of the natural world. And by the breadth of diversity to be found within it. When I gaze at flowers I see so many different colors. When I look at trees I see so many different leaves and barks. When I look at stones, I see many different shapes and sizes. Some smooth, some rough. At the ocean, I marvel at the teeming life to be found in it’s depths. Each individual creature so unique, diverse, and crucial, to the well-being of the whole eco-system. Human beings come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes too. They also come in many different sexes, genders, and sexualities. And yet, the very vibrant diversity we can see so easily in the natural world, becomes much harder to see when it comes to human gender. Black or white. Either/Or. One or the other. Why can’t we transpose the brilliant hues we see in flowers to the myriad of genders we know exists in humans? I am an audacious orange flower blooming in the sun and delighting in the soft summer rain. I am also a person who demands the right to be ambiguous, fluid, and defiantly, boldly, queer. I almost never for instance wear breast prostheses. And while I wholeheartedly support the choice to do so, made by many of my sisters, I do not wish to wear silicone mounds on my chest to make others feel more comfortable.”
FORTY MINUTES of this, folks! ENJOY!
Posted by GallusMag
Here is a copy of the University of New Hampshire’s Dr. Ryan’s false DMCA claim [sic]:
Email Address: Joelle.Ryan@unh.edu
Location of copyrighted work (where your original material is located):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ7eeRCdX9k
First Name: Dr. Joelle Ruby
Last Name: Ryan
Company Name: Univesity of New Hampshire (UNH)
Address Line 1: 73 Main Street
Address Line 2: 203 Huddleston Hall
Zip/Postal Code: 03820
Telephone Number: 603-862-0272
Copyright holder you represent (if other than yourself): Self and UNH
Please describe the copyrighted work so that it may be easily identified: The film itself is embedded without my or the university’s permission, along with a copyrighted still from the film, and both are placed on a vicious hate blog which has a long history of defamation, hate-mongering, bigotry and threats against members of the transgender and transsexual community. I would never give permission for my film or stills from said film to be used on a hate site. Please remove the blog entry immediately.
Location (URL) of the unauthorized material on a WordPress.com site (NOT simply the primary URL of the site – example.wordpress.com; you must provide the full and exact permalink of the post, page, or image where the content appears, one per line) :http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/transilience-hilar/
If the infringement described above is represented by a third-party link to a downloadable file (e.g. http://rapidshare.com/files/…), please provide the URL of the file (one per line):
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.: Yes
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.: Yes
Signed on this date of (today’s date, MM/DD/YYYY): 03/09/2013
Signature (your digital signature is legally binding): Dr. Joelle Ruby Ryan
You will immediately note a few things.
- Joelle Ruby Ryan identifies himself as a designated representative of the University of New Hampshire who is acting on authority of that institution.
- Ryan claims that using the “embed” function on YouTube videos is a form of copyright infringement. That is simply false. Not only false, but absurd. When University of New Hampshire Health (or anyone else) posts an embeddable public video: anyone, anywhere can embed that video on any site for any reason. You can read about that in an article titled “Court Rules That Embedding A Video Isn’t Copyright Violation” here: http://www.geekosystem.com/embedding-video-copyright-infringement/
- Dr. Ryan also claims that a still image from a public video, used for purposes of critique and discussion of that public media, is a form of copyright infringement. Again, an absurd claim that runs in opposition to all known First Amendment law. You can read about that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
You can also read YouTube’s standard terms of service which state:
Section 6 (C)
6. Your Content and Conduct
You also hereby grant each user of the Service a non-exclusive license to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such Content as permitted through the functionality of the Service and under these Terms of Service.
I know, I know. You’re thinking “even a twelve year old knows these things Gallus”. And I agree. They do. We all do. We don’t need a PHD to know that folks- even those we disagree with- are allowed to post about and discuss public media campaigns issued by University of New Hampshire Health, or any other entity. Even your uncle sam’s wedding video could end up “going viral” once he authorizes it’s publication- it happens all the time. Free Speech!
So why is a self-declared agent of the University of New Hampshire filing perjurous, false, ABSURD legal documents against a small Lesbian Feminist blog?
The only conclusion I can reach is that Dr. Joelle Ruby Ryan may be falsely representing himself as an agent of the University of New Hampshire. I reach this conclusion because I think UNH attorneys would not authorize false and frivilous, perjurous claims against Lesbian Feminist bloggers. They might, wisely, consider such actions a form of stalking and harassment- actions which the University of New Hampshire may well be liable for.
I look forward to the impending legal proceedings which were initiated by an agent of the University of New Hampshire on the basis of their claim that posting a YouTube video on a blog is an actionable copyright infringement. I also look forward to the upcoming legal proceedings initiated by the University of New Hampshire against a Lesbian feminist blogger for publishing a still from a UNH Health video for purposes of critique and discussion.
When a publicly funded university mounts such an incredible First Amendment challenge to the rights of bloggers to embed, screen-cap, write about, discuss, and critique the media campaigns published by them one can only wonder in awe which of the University of New Hampshire attorneys authorized such an action. This promises to be a fascinating – even surreal- legal exercise. One which I suspect will not end in favor of the civil liberties restrictions being litigated by the University of New Hampshire and it’s agents.
In the meantime, while the attorneys do their work, I would like to ask for your help.
I would like your help in celebrating our most basic first amendment rights: as bloggers, as women, as feminists and feminist allies, as lesbians and as gays.
I call on you to protest the University of New Hampshire sanctioned harassment of GenderTrender and all other feminist, lesbian, and gender critical bloggers and blog readers by making a post that includes either the video ‘Transilience’ or a screencap of such.
Feel free to copy and paste this post on your own blog or tumblr blog. Feel free to make your own post sharing your thoughts and impressions of Joelle Ruby Ryan’s UNH Health video. Feel free to create amusing and charming memes featuring these materials. The key words here are “Feel Free”. Because it is legal, it is our right to do so, it is protected speech (University of New Hampshire claims notwithstanding). Let’s enjoy and EXERCISE our free speech rights as Feminists and Women and say NO to infringements of our civil liberties.
Thank you for your support.
The link to the fully and legally embedable ‘Transilience’ is here:
January 26, 2013
When WordPress.com moves to censor your feminist speech and posts they DO NOT send you an email notification. Instead, they post the notification on the Dashboard of that particular blog when you log in. I would encourage feminist bloggers who have not recently logged into your account to do so and check your Dash for such a notice (like the one I received here at GenderTrender).
Otherwise your blog will be deleted seemingly “out of the blue”. Please check all your blogs at your earliest convenience so that a public campaign can be mounted to save your blog as was done for GenderTrender. Thank you.
January 23, 2013
December 6, 2012
The following essay was posted on the Jewish parenting site Kveller on Dec 3 2012. Within hours, the author’s ex-husband apparently started a campaign on Facebook to bully the author, and the website, into removing her writing. The essay is a holiday time reflection from a woman sharing her thoughts and feelings about remaining in the same small town as her ex-husband and some of the challenges this presents for her. Nothing in the piece is particularly critical of her ex. It is more of a personal reflection of some of her thoughts and experiences.
Nonetheless, within hours, her ex-husband was able to mobilize hundreds of people to complain about the publishing of his ex-wife’s writing.
On what basis?
Her ex-husband is a powerful man. He is a tenured college professor at Yeshiva University, and an author. He has a lot of friends. But more importantly, he is a transgender male who believes a woman never has the right to publicly share her thoughts and feelings about life after divorce if the man she was married to is transgender. Apparently HE is allowed to write and publish and do book readings on the topic of his life changes, but SHE is not.
You can read the hundreds of nasty comments left by his friends, and transgender activists – including Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland calling for censorship of this author. But you will have to read them via Google Cache HERE (before it expires) because, unbelievably, her ex-husband was successful in having her essay pulled from the site after a two-day campaign.
Was there something objectionable about the piece? Was it a personal attack against her ex-husband? Did it contain “dirty laundry”? Was it libelous? Was it discriminatory against transgender people? No. Her husband’s censorship campaign rested on the fact that she referred in her essay to her husband of twenty years with the pronoun “He” and “him”, because she had been married to A MAN.
Do you find it hard to believe that an ex-husband could so effectively censor and harass his ex-wife?
Not only is Joy Ladin harassing his ex-wife online but last week his friends prevented her from doing a local book reading by reportedly showing up and shouting profanity and threatening violence until the police had to be called. You can read about that HERE.
So. It’s time to make up your own mind. Did Christine Benvenuto write an essay that warranted censorship, or is her ex-husband Joy Ladin conducting a vicious campaign of harassment against her with the intent of destroying her ability to continue making a living as a writer?
Brought to you by GenderTrender: the site where readers get to make up their OWN minds:
The following is a re-print of the censored article, followed by a copy of the Kveller website’s censorship notice. Reprinted unedited under Fair Use.
Dec 3 2012
By Christine Benvenuto at 9:54 am
Recently, one of my children was referred to a new doctor. Somewhat unusually, my ex came along to the appointment.
The doctor entered the room where we sat waiting, introduced herself, and greeted my child. I introduced myself as my child’s mother. “And who are you?” the doctor asked my ex. “I’m the other parent,” my ex replied stiffly. “The other parent,” the doctor echoed, laughing and nodding. I could see her assessing the situation, making the obvious assumption about our family composition: I had given birth to my child. Her “other parent” was my former lesbian partner. Half right. Sketching in our child’s medical profile the doctor asked some questions about her brother and sister, and we provided the necessary information.
“But do they have the same father?” the doctor inquired. What she meant but didn’t say was, “Do they have the same sperm donor?”
“Yes,” we said in unison. What we meant but didn’t say was, “Yes, and you are looking at him.”
A funny thing happened on the way to my becoming a single mom.
My husband and I got together in our teens. More than 20 years and three children later, he decided to live the rest of his life as a woman. Our marriage melted along with his masculinity. I went through the anguish any woman might over the unexpected demise of a long and happy marriage. I faced the usual potpourri of dread–of penury, isolation–when I contemplated raising three children alone, the youngest still in diapers. Worse, I felt crushed by a sense that the reason for my marriage’s demise said something so terrible about me it would be intolerable to remain in a place in which it was public knowledge. Exactly what it said, I wasn’t sure. Maybe that was part of what made it so awful.
Everything was changing. I thought that where my children and I lived would have to change right along with it. But I love where I live. More importantly, my children are fiercely attached to it. They like that when my friends spot them in town without me, they want to know who they are with and what they are up to. They like knowing the trees that are tapped for our syrup and the chickens providing our eggs. They like noticing the way the flocks of turkeys who usually tie up traffic on our roads seem to go into hiding just before Thanksgiving each year only to reappear when it’s safely over.
Still. Weren’t we fighting a losing battle, hanging onto a place just because it was where we had once been happy? I couldn’t go, but how could I stay?
Finally someone offered the most profound insight into my situation I have heard to date, uttering the words that set me free from this stalemate: “You aren’t the first woman to marry a jerk, and you won’t be the last.”
She was saying I had nothing to be ashamed of. My ex’s choices didn’t reflect badly on me. When a guy dumps a wife and young children for another woman, people–the wife in question, certainly–are more likely to think, “What a jerk!” than, “What a hero!” Why should it be any different just because the other woman is the guy?
I’ve stayed–so far. As long I remain I can’t ever get entirely away from my past, but then maybe I don’t want to. It’s mine, after all. Everything my eyes rest on, every Fall Foliage banner, every coffee shop and playground, recalls some moment of my children’s lives, some treasure I never want to lose. I was happy before. I’m happy now. I’ve made a new life without leaving. Astoundingly, I’ve moved on without leaving home.
On the other hand, I also can’t get entirely away from my ex’s presence. There’s no upside to that one. I can’t know when, not if but when, my ex will pop up somewhere or sometime I least expect him.
Last December I was behind the wheel of a pickup truck, a little before 9 in the morning, after delivering my children to their schools. I was headed downhill on a narrow winding road, a horse pasture on the other side of the fence on my left. There is an entrance to the pasture at the bottom of the hill but few vehicles stop there. I was expecting a 40 mile an hour shot down the hill, through the tiny town center and up another hill to where I live, what National Public Radio calls my local member station muttering sedately at the outskirts of my attention all the while. Then two things happened.
My former husband was in the truck. That is, his voice was in the truck. His odd, grown-male-straining-for-the-uppermost-register-of-his-voice voice. Saying his name. Saying, “What the holidays mean to me is–.”
I reached the knob in time to spare myself anything further. I didn’t learn what the holidays mean to my ex. Presumably not celebrating with his family. Not the intention, unfulfilled yearly, to make it to the lighting of the town menorah. Not the intention, always fulfilled, to light every menorah we own at least one night of Hanukkah. Not the turns around a frozen pond in skates bought long ago for other feet. Not New Year’s Eve in front of the fire, at least one child struggling to remain head up and eyes open. Not these things he isn’t around for.
The radio station was engaged in a December campaign, trite but previously benign, of playing the voices of area residents saying Feliz Navidad or Happy Solstice. I was engaged in a December campaign of tuning them out. Why my former husband? How did they choose him? In their efforts to be inclusive did they feel that merely by airing his voice, regardless of what he said, they could have a demographic covered? I couldn’t think about it right then. I was too busy stomping on the brake, trying not to rear-end the truck in front of me that had, in the split second I was devoting to my radio knob, stopped at the pasture gate. I just made it.
Usually the omnipresence of Bing Crosby and the Chipmunks is enough reason to avoid the radio this time of year. Now I had another. In subsequent days I had several opportunities to lunge for the dial. Friends caught the spot and shared their unique takes on it. “My husband said he heard your ex on the radio advertising himself,” one reported. “Why would he be advertising himself?” she wondered. “My husband said whatever the reason was, if he gets any money out of it he hopes he will give some of it to his family.”
So yes, my ex recurs like Christmas carols. But I don’t have to let him drown out the rest of my life. I knew the holidays would soon be over, and the echoes of his voice along with them.
The following is the notice of censorship published by the Kveller website:
Dec 5 2012
By Kveller at 12:07 pm
Kveller has always prided itself on being a place where people can discuss the most challenging parts of life and parenting—infertility, death, and yes, divorce.
We have seen how much support, encouragement, and affirmation people feel when their voices are heard and their deepest disappointments and difficulties are shared and discussed.
The honesty and courage of our writers are what have made Kveller such a compelling and valuable website.
At the same time, the social utility of our articles is something we take seriously. We want Kveller to help people feel more confident, more secure, more understood. Unfortunately, our decision to publish “Staying in the Same Town as My Ex” in the form that it was in has undermined that effort, and thus we have decided to remove it from the website.
When it comes to issues that impact a historically (and currently) persecuted community it is our responsibility as editors to be extra sensitive to the exact language being used. Kveller and its parent organization MyJewishLearning are committed to honoring the identities and life experience of all people, including transgender people. We do not believe that this article was meant to be transphobic, but we do believe that our failures in the editing process created an article that could be read that way, which is not good for the writer, Kveller, and most importantly, the LGBT community, which Kveller and MyJewishLearning are dedicated to supporting and working with to create a more inclusive Jewish community.
December 6, 2012
This is a follow-up to THIS post.
A book reading by Christine Benvenuto, from her memoir “Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On” was disrupted by transgender activists who took issue with the author’s right to share her experiences as the wife of a transgendering partner. Although her ex-husband is never identified in her memoir he has since been publicly identified as Yeshiva University professor Jay, now “Joy” Ladin. Ladin, who notified the Orthodox Jewish university of his intention to adopt a “female” persona 48 hours after being granted tenure at the institution, himself published a memoir this year called “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders”. Ladin has referred to his transgenderism as his own “private concentration camp“. Ladin’s friends were reportedly among the activists who disrupted the reading, shouting obscenities and threatening violence until police were summoned.
One of the activists was Hampshire College “Queer Studies” professor Margaret Cerullo. From today’s Amherst Bulletin:
“While Benvenuto says her story can help families in which a member has gender issues, not everyone agrees. It has sparked a local protest which included Margaret Cerullo, a Hampshire College professor of sociology, who admits she hasn’t read the book, but nevertheless calls it hurtful, containing negative stereotypes about transgender people based on excerpts she read online. “These kind of portrayals are very damaging, especially for young trans people, who are already struggling with self-image … it seemed unnecessarily cruel,” she said in a phone interview.
“Last month Cerullo, a group of Hampshire students and others — including friends of Benvenuto’s ex-husband — showed up at Benvenuto’s reading at Amherst Books to voice their objections, an episode that ended with police being called. Cerullo said the group was attempting to have “a dialogue” with Benvenuto. Benvenuto, however, said the protesters shouted obscenities, even though children were present at the bookstore, and seemed to be seeking “a violent encounter.”
Benvenuto has also left the Jewish Community of Amherst Synagogue that she and her children have attended for years due to lack of support from some members.
From the same article:
“[Benvenuto] was also disturbed by what she calls “an anti-feminist element” among some people, primarily women, whose attitude appeared to be “we’re going to support your husband — you’re the wife and you’ve got to shut up and back him and sacrifice, and if your kids aren’t on board with this, get them on board.”
Read more from today’s Amherst Bulletin article here:
You can support Benvenuto’s right to free speech by purchasing her book here:
Makes a nice Holiday gift!
[bolding by me- GM]
August 15, 2012
Better watch this one quick. This 2009 video archive of the 16×9 news program featuring the John Fulton case was only uploaded yesterday but trans are already trying to censor it and prevent it from being viewed- by reporting it to YouTube as “promoting hatred and violence” (!) :
Fulton was the owner of an Ontario women-only gym (which had only one open shower and change area) who was dragged before the Ontario Human Rights Commission three years ago by man with a penis, Lisa MacDonald- who insisted it was his human right to parade his dick into the open women’s shower. Fulton lost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees before MacDonald suddenly dropped his complaint. Since the Commission could not rule on the withdrawn complaint, Fulton had no resolution and no way to recoup his legal fees.
Case against John Fulton
In 2006, a transgendered woman (now known as Lisa MacDonald) visited Downtown Health Club for Women in St. Catharines, Ontario and asked owner John Fulton for Membership. MacDonald explained that she was actually a pre-operative Male-to-Female transsexual who was in the process of undergoing as sex-change operation, but for the time being, still possessed male gentalia. Fulton explained his concern that with only one change room and shower room in the club, admitting this individual would have meant allowing a man to observe the other patrons—all female—in various stages of undress. Approximately one week later, the individual filed a human rights complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) alleging discrimination.
Fulton, and his lawyer Andrew Roman, argued that the Ontario Human Rights Code specifically permits facilities to serve a single sex on the grounds of public decency, and ordains that such restrictions do not constitute illegal discrimination. They also argued that that admitting the complainant would violate the rights of club members to freedom of association under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Fulton also questioned how he was supposed to distinguish the applicant from a voyeur or an exhibitionist.
Fulton stated that he received calls from his members threatening to quit if the transgendered individual was allowed to join before the sex-change operation was completed. Fulton also claimed that the OHRC told him he had to let the transgendered individual use the women’s facilities but refused to provide him with a clear answer on what his rights and the rights of his female clients were in this situation. Fulton also stated he never denied membership to the applicant and that she was welcome to use club once the sex-change operation was completed.
The case was scheduled for a hearing in late 2009. However, the individual then withdrew the complaint without explanation. As a result, Fulton was left with legal bills of roughly $150,000 and argued that he had been wrongly accused of being a discriminatory without being given a chance to respond. The Tribunal refused to compensate Fulton for any costs, stating that it lacked the authority to do so. In an interview with the St. Catharines Standard, Fulton stated that “They put me through hell for three years and at the 11th hour, they dropped it. There really was no resolution … and my costs with this are huge.”
In declining to provide award any costs to Fulton, The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario’s Alternate Chair Kaye Joachim wrote that:
- the HRTO had no authority to award costs;
- no costs against could be awarded against the complainant because Alternate Chair Joachim ruled that there was no abuse the complaint process;
- the complainant had “raised important and novel questions about the scope of the Code and its application to transgendered individuals.”;
- Fulton and his lawyers “may have caused unnecessary legal costs by raising spurious preliminary issues,” including constitutional arguments that were later dropped;
- Fulton party’s request that MacDonald produce her entire medical history was, in part, “completely irrelevant to the issues raised in the application.
Fulton’s lawyer, Andrew Roman disargeed with Joachim’s comments, adding that “I’ll be taking steps to deal with that…The way the tribunal is set up now, the complainant is rewarded for taking a risk-free grab at a big bag of money. Roman claimed that at the mediation stage, the “typical payoff” is often around $20,000 and that if a person “can’t work out a settlement at mediation, you go to a hearing and have to pay many times that.” Fulton also claimed that the Commission pushed him to pay MacDonald, stating that “They told me that I had to pay her legal fees, write a letter of apology admitting guilt and I could make it go away,” but he refused, stating that ” I didn’t know what to do and I wanted … a tribunal decision. I’m stubborn.” He also stated that “They’re picking on the wrong guy. The OHRC needs to be rejigged … before other people end up being in a situation where they feel like they’re being extorted.”
Karen Selick, the litigation director for the Canadian Constitution Foundation which supported Mr. Fulton, sharply criticized the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and the process by which it handles complaints, writing in the National Post that:
“For complainants, the process is virtually risk-free. It costs them nothing to file a complaint, and the tribunal mediator will help explain the shakedown. If they want some legal help filing their complaint, they can get it gratis, at the taxpayer-funded Human Rights Legal Support Centre. And they never have to risk paying costs, no matter how ill-conceived or unjustified their complaint was. Heads, the complainant wins; tails, the accused loses.”
In February 2009, Afroze Edwards, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) expressed support for the applicant, arguing that:
“The [Ontario Human Rights] code does not distinguish between transsexuals who are at different stages of transition.. I think the important thing to remember there is how they identify themselves; what their sense is, that they are living as a man or living as a woman. Regardless of whether they’re preop or postop, it’s their lived gender that’s important.”
Interestingly, Kristen Worley- a male athlete and genderist who occupies a female slot in women’s cyclist rankings despite his male body – is interviewed in the program and comes out AGAINST the rights of males to inflict their penises on females in gym showers and change rooms.
Like I said: Watch it while you can!
June 1, 2012
In a stunning announcement by UK’s Conway Hall, once a bastion of free speech, intellectual diversity and controversial views (hell, they even rented space to the fricken National Front for many years) Conway Hall has announced that all female-only gatherings are henceforth banned from the venue:
Statement Regarding RadFem 2012
In consultation with the organisers of RadFem 2012 and our legal advisors, Conway Hall has decided not to allow the booking in July 2012 to proceed. This is because it does not conform to our Terms and Conditions for hiring rooms at Conway Hall. In addition, we are not satisfied it conforms with the Equality Act (2010), or reflects our ethos regarding issues of discrimination.
We had sought assurances that the organisers would allow access to all, in order to enable the event to proceed at the venue. We also expressed concern that particular speakers would need to be made aware that whilst welcoming progressive thinking and debate, Conway Hall seeks to uphold inclusivity in respect of both legal obligations and as a principle.
In the absence of the assurances we sought, the event in its proposed form could not proceed at Conway Hall.
That said, we recognise the breadth of debate to be had amongst the feminist and transgender communities and it is our sincere hope that there will be constructive and positive dialogue on these matters going forward.
In response to Sheila Jeffreys’ online Guardian article in their ‘Comment is free’ section, dated 29th May 2012, we would like it to be known that Conway Hall has in the past made clear that speakers / attendees at events for other hirers will not be permitted where we have felt that these individuals have expressed and may express (on our premises) views which conflict with our ethos, principles, and culture; the reference to David Irving was simply one of the examples given.
January 20, 2012
As a result of pressure applied by women and lesbian activists- many of you readers of this site- the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has responded to the outcry over the lack of representation for lesbians and has agreed to host a 60-minute Lesbian Caucus on Saturday January 28 at 6:30 pm.
If you are attending the 2012 Creating Change conference in Baltimore please add this event to your schedule and attend this important session. This newly added one hour session remains the ONLY event at Creating Change 2012 that addresses the needs, concerns and future of specifically female and lesbian activism.
Please attend, support, and participate in this caucus. Please distribute this update in your Lesbian networks as soon as possible.
GenderTrender continues to compile a list of women’s and lesbian workshops which were rejected from this year’s Creating Change conference. Please continue to contact me with information about rejected workshops and events. As always, your information and comments will not be published if you wish to share this information privately. Thank You.
Was your workshop rejected from the 2012 Creating Change Conference?
Creating Change is (from their website): “Only the premier annual organizing and skills-building event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their allies”.
“The conference is run by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and attracts more than 2,500 people from all over the country every year. Presenters and participants come from all walks of life and include members of the business community, elected officials, students, faith leaders and staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations. Our five-day program features over 250 workshops and training sessions, four plenary sessions, and tons of networking opportunities.”
The 24th National Creating Change Conference is being held in Baltimore, Maryland on January 25-29, 2012. This year’s conference features 350 workshops and is notable for it’s TOTAL ABSENCE OF LESBIAN, female, or sexism programming. Out of 350 accepted workshops, there is a zero percentile representation (0.28%) of programming directed to Lesbian/Women/Sexism concerns. Out of 350 accepted workshops, only ONE (“Lesbian 60 and over caucus”) deals with Lesbian issues and concerns. There are NO workshops addressing sexism. There are NO workshops addressing women’s issues. ZERO. As in NONE.
In contrast, there are at least 29 workshops on transgender issues, 20 on issues of race and racism, and 32 on religion. There are ZERO on sex and sexism. There are ZERO on women’s issues. There are ZERO on feminism. There is only ONE MENTION of Lesbians in the accepted 350 workshop schedule of this “LGBT” conference.
Are you a woman whose Creating Change workshop was rejected?
The National Gay “and Lesbian” Task Force refuses to release a listing of rejected workshops. We know some of these were specifically directed to female and Lesbian issues, because we know the women who submitted the rejected workshops. If you are a woman whose workshop on Lesbian or female-specific concerns was rejected by Creating Change 2012 please post the details in a comment to this post. Your anonymous comment will not be published. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
Please spread the word.
The following is a color-coded list of the accepted Creating Change 2012 workshops: Read the rest of this entry »