My voice

During the BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing, I gave hours and hours of testimony under oath including 4 1/2 hours under cross-examination by Bill Whatcott’s lawyer Dr. Charles Lugosi . These are the excerpts from the ruling.

This tribunal hearing was an awful experience. I think only people who have testified and been cross-examined in court know how awful it can be. Unlike in Provincial Court, we were seated across from Bill Whatcott and his allies who glared at my lawyer and me from four, maybe six feet away. It was profoundly hostile. Bill sat in the first row of the audience. The lawyer and Kari Simpson sat across from us. Kari Simpson was seated directly across me, boiling away with hatred and rage. Simpson has since filed a complaint against the tribunal for their “allowing” me to pee in the women’s washrooms.

The email from my lawyer announcing the news

I assembled my statements from the ruling because I think they need to be public and accessible. What Bill Whatcott did and is still doing is awful and should not be hidden away. Someone who does this in the name of his religion teaches our children that faith is used to cause harm, and that’s not right.

This is my voice

[227] The effects of this flyer are ongoing. The last piece of hate literature I read happened from this courtroom, while we were here. This isn’t ending. This is never going to end. The truth is what Mr. Whatcott has done is never going to go away.

[228] …you live or die by staying on the message and keeping the message under control and this completely threw my team upside down.

[229] I was afraid because these flyers were appearing everywhere. And we didn’t know if it was one person or multiple people doing this. But what we did know was these people were really, really, really driven and [had] very, very, very strong negative feelings against me. And I’m a transgender woman. People kill transgender women because of who we are. And they start with this. This is where they start. And it’s impossible to tell whether this is the ramblings of a person who’s likely to do that, or if it’s not. And at the time, I lived in a home and my face and my name was plastered in every window. All of my neighbours for a number of blocks knew that I lived there, they knew I was a candidate. I was very easy to find and I was very scared, and my team was very scared, that this was not actually the end result – that it was a prelude to something else … I mean violence. … After this flyer came out, I had to worry about what Mr. Whatcott looked like but I also had to worry about other people who maybe gave him credibility. Who were they? How much did I have to worry about someone attacking me while I’m going around knocking on doors by myself at night? This was, you know, it’s a vulnerable place already to be a candidate. And to be a transgender candidate is really vulnerable. Because people listen to outrageous things like this. Even though maybe my friends don’t listen, the people who I associate with don’t take this very seriously, they still in the back of their head, there’s a little bit of an impact. But more importantly is that people that are likely to be triggered by this are enraged by it.

[232] I have two children. And I had to tell my children to be careful. And I had to ask them… to keep an eye out for strangers. I had to explain to them why. And… no mum wants to have to sit her children down and say to them that someone might want to hurt her or her children because [of] who she is. I had to tell my children that somebody hates me because of who I am.

[233] … I hate that people have taken my birth name, Ronan, and used it as a weapon against me… It’s a beautiful name. It’s a name I had to change because of people like that … because of the harassment, because I would have had to deal with even more harassment and so I made this pragmatic decision. Also, it’s a name that my parents gave me.

[236] … it made me ask myself if it was too dangerous, that maybe our society wasn’t ready to have a transgender candidate because – not because they wouldn’t elect me, that’s a different story, whether they elect me or not‐ but there are still people in our society that would do me violence because of who I am because I run for office. And that’s a terrible lesson that I now have to pass on to the other people I give advice to.  Be careful: you’ll attract people who are violent or have unpredictable responses. … … what this flyer is, is a reminder to the transgender community … that “we’re gonna get you”. That’s what this flyer says. The experience lived by me and every trans person, especially trans women, because this kind of hatred is specifically targeted at trans woman, it’s the reminder that we’ll come after you. That’s what this flyer does. And me, it’s true, I have some resilience, I have some protections.

When I call the police, I have access to a police officer’s cell phone and they believe me. But if I call 911, I don’t get that. And I know I can’t count on a response still today because I’m transgender. And this is what this flyer is trying to do. It’s trying to amplify that problem by calling me all kinds of names, saying that the nature of gender identity is disease and moral trespass. This was even mentioned in this room by lawyers. This is what this flyer is to me.


Not only is this a win for our client, it is a groundbreaking decision that exhaustively, clearly, and eloquently sets out the enshrinement of trans equality in law. – Alevado, Quail, & Roy

Click here for more about the case…and here to access the 7 pulished rulings on CANLII. There were a total of 13 rulings, 6 of which are not published.

2 thoughts on “My voice

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