Bill Whatcott's harassment campaign never seems to end

It’s the hatred and the harassment, stupid

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It’s not the name calling that gets anti-transgender activists in trouble, it’s the harassment. It’s the incitement of hatred. It’s the acts of prohibited discrimination.

Bill Whatcott, Meghan Murphy, Kari Simpson, Laura-Lynn Thompson, or Jordan Peterson calling people names has never been illegal. 

Big meanies

Taken individually, Bill Whatcott’s awful statements about me were never the basis of the March 27 BC Human Rights Tribunal ruling ordering him to stop. Since April 2017, he has been engaged in a transphobic and derogatory harassment campaign against me but the tribunal’s order is only about the content of that first flyer.

The reason Bill Whatcott was found guilty on March 27 2019 of prohibited discrimination under Section 7 of the BC Human Rights Code was simple: he published material declaring his intention to discriminate against me specifically on the grounds that I am transgender and because he urged others to do the same on those grounds. His saying awful things about me in public for two years since was submitted as evidence of a pattern of behaviour to illustrate his intentions and the harm that he was causing.

There is no legislation in Canada stopping someone from claiming a woman is a man or preventing their being deeply disrespectful to a person. The only context in which we prescribe statements is when we take an oath and there is no law governing expression online since the Harper Government revoked section 13 of Canada’s Human Rights Act. Section 13 covered communications. The only tools available are tort and criminal law.

Today. Laws don’t stop people from acting inappropriately in public. Social norms do. We call these manners.

Nonetheless, some laws did have to be written to deal with members of our community who go so far that they become more than nuisances. Society writes laws to protect itself from people who cause damage – because people such as Bill Whatcott and his club of antagonizing meanies exist – people who go too far.

Publishing

Anti-transgender publication: A woman displays a discriminatory sign at the 2018 March on Vancouver inciting discrimination against transgender women. Publishing such material was ruled to illegally incite anti-transgender sentiment in a BC Human Rights Tribunal March 27 decision that it constitutes prohibited discrimination –
The sign reads “Trans women are menThere is no ethical or moral reason to lie to soothe the male ego.
Related image
Anti-semitic publication: signage
Front cover of a book depicting anti-semitic signage in Canada: A History of Anti-Semitism in Canada – Ira Robinson – Wilfred Laurier Press

Kari Simpson or Laura-Lynn Thompson could most likely stand on a street corner and yell that Meghan Murphy is an abomination who should be driven away without any consequences. However, nobody can publish material declaring their intention to discriminate or inciting others to do so on prohibited grounds. Publishing a tract saying it is illegal.

The same protection applies on the basis of all prohibited grounds of discrimination.

When a woman displayed an anti-transgender sign at the January 2018 March On Vancouver, she deliberately wrote it to attack the validity of transgender women. She called transgender women a stereotype, said transgender women are men, and wrote that there is no ethical or moral duty to “LIE to soothe a male EGO” as she told people not to believe “the hype“.

The woman called for society to treat women who are transgender differently than women who are not. This is a prohibited act of discrimination

When Meghan Murphy calls transgender women men or claims laws protecting transgender persons from discrimination harm women, she is doing the same thing.

Excluding transgender women on the basis of gender identity is prohibited, without exception. Advocating for this discrimination is a prohibited act if published.

When Your Ward News was hit with a permanent postal ban in 2018 for targeting women and Jews, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) wrote that “Your Ward News promotes disgusting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, misogyny, homophobia, and racism. Our taxpayer-funded mail service should not be used to distribute such hateful content to hundreds of thousands of households. It is shocking that such vile messages are being peddled here in Canada in 2018. Just think about a Holocaust Survivor picking up their mail only to find neo-Nazi propaganda on their doorstep. This is totally unacceptable.


The first time in Ontario’s history that a charge of wilful promotion of hatred against women had been laid, according to the Office of the Attorney General.

Failure to maintain a safe and inclusive workplace

Worksafe BC sets workplace safety standards in British Columbia. The BC Human Rights Commission sets inclusion standards for the province In Canada, each province or territory has equivalents to these. Among other roles, these organizations enforce provisions that address bullying and harassment at work, as well as working conditions that cause mental health injuries such as anxiety or depression by enforcing applicable legislation.

This enforcement is embodied with employers through employment contracts and compulsory codes of conduct employees must adhere to. These protect workers from situations of harassment, bullying, or discrimination. When Jordan Peterson stated he would refuse to treat an employee with dignity by using chosen pronouns in 2015, he was given an opportunity to access training on the matter. Were peterson to actually be disrespectful to a student or colleagues in the fulfillment of his job as he promised to do, Peterson would face disciplinary action by the University of Toronto.

Failing to act on anti-transgender harassment or any other form of prohibited discrimination would expose the University to legal liability.

Discrimination in the delivery of a service

People are entitled to the reasonable expectation to access services safely and without being exposed to discrimination.

Irony: Vancouver Rape Relief banner advocating for all women despite its admitted discriminatory policies towards women who are transgender and history of refusing service to Lesbians who were victims of domestice sexual assault

For example, a Francophone family whose children attend a daycare at a cultural centre that rents meeting space for public events would be reasonably entitled to expect that the facility never be used for hosting a public event that organizes discrimination against them or makes them feel unsafe – for example instructing people how to pressure local organizations and businesses to only provide services in English.

As another example, a child accessing a service is entitled never to face discrimination or harassment there because she is transgender or has a transgender parent. She is entitled to not be exposed to anti-transgender propaganda.

Organizations that provide services to the public have responsibilities and must adhere to standards set out by legislation. Accommodation requirements set out by Canadian and provincial human rights laws require a reasonable effort to accommodate people against discrimination on prohibited grounds wherever feasibly possible. The jurisprudence takes into account how sophisticated and large the provider is and whether there is a reasonable expectation for the accommodation to be made. For example, a professional service provider on the upper floor of a building without an elevator may not be required to be wheelchair accessible, a University may not be required to have baby-changing tables in each washroom of every building, or a very small one-person waxing salon may not have all the staff needed to provide every service or a specialized service a large salon chain might be expected to deliver to its clients free of discrimination.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal provides clear guidance about what discrimination in the delivery of a service means in British Columbia.

Not a blank cheque 

Meghan Murphy or Bill Whatcott’s charter right to free expression does not convey any right to say whatever they want to say wherever or whenever they choose  – or to hold down a job when doing it.

Bill Whatcott’s harassment campaign never seems to end

We put limits on free expression in Canada because of people like Bill Whatcott, Meghan Murphy, Kari Simpson, Barbara Kay, and Jordan Peterson who have deliberately incited prohibited discrimination. It is sad that we need to do this because people who do not know how to comport themselves decently in a society need to be managed because some people seek outcomes that we all agree are harmful.

8 comments

  1. In Canada, surrogacy is legal and considered a gift. No payment is allowed For the gift as far as I know.

    The question you raised about customer preferences in a business providing a service is a complex one. We certainly would never allow racial discrimination or language based discrimination, and under the same logic sex-based or gender-based discrimination is abhorrent. That said, I’m aware of instances where a clothing designer at discriminated against customers by selecting all to provide a product that the customer would like. This is what Lululemon does when deliberately limiting its size options. However, that’s in a product being delivered rather than in a service being delivered. A business owner is allowed to provide only a certain kind of service but it’s not allowed to discriminate on who accesses that service for whatever legal reason they choose.

    Then again, we have this case law in front of us that shows a tribunal sidestepping the issue completely by ruling it to be on Bad Intentions rather than ruling what the just thing to do would be. People seeking clarification are left dangling in the Wind with a protection denied to them.

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  2. Interesting site you have here.
    Congratulations for your recent victory against Whalcott.

    However I’m still not convinced that services reserved to women-only, excluding men, are totally lawful – for sure they’re morally wrong.
    Including all women is just a very little step in the right direction, but it doesn’t suffice, it’s not even close to suffice.
    http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/human-rights-duties/services.htm
    It says that services cannot exclude persons due their sex, and that sex is a protected characteristic. Last time I checked males were a sex, so it’s unlawful for a service to exclude someone on the grounds of “being male”.
    The elephant is still in the room: as long as you ignore it for tactical puposes, that’s a thing, it could be useful as short-term tactic, but I suggest to always keep in mind the actual presence of the elephant in the room (to make it clear: “the elephant in the rom” is the discrimination against about 48% population on the basis of their sex, a characteristic protected by the law).

    I wish you a good day and more victories in the future.

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    1. Thank you for your feedback Eric.

      There is an exception to the prohibition from discrimination in the BC Human Rights Code which allows for nonprofits to provide a targeted service for people who need it when it is in the public interest.

      For example for women or for females, for newcomers, for Mandarin or French speakers.

      I feel it is important to note that transgender women have been protected as women since 1999 in British Columbia through legal precedent. As a result of this precedent, the group of women who are transgender can not be discriminated against on the basis of sex in our province when delivering services, housing, or employment. This group can also not be targeted in incitement to hate or discriminate in a publication. That door closed in 1999, locked a number of times, and was firmly re-locked in 2019 in Oger v Whatcott, the case you mentioned.

      Going further, British Columbia AND Canada recognize that the sex of people can be changed and allow facilities to do this. It is thanks to this facility that for example I am female. Furthermore, because gender (identity or expression) is explicitly protected in the enumerated list of explicit prohibitions from discrimination, all past case law for all the enumerated protections is applicable to every enumerated protection.

      In other words and tying it all together for the specific case of Vancouver Rape Relief, if they were allowed to discriminate against women who are transgender in their programs for “all women” which are provided for (and funded for by taxpayers), then EVERY Canadian organization would instantly be permitted to discriminate on EVERY other explicitly prohibited ground (race, place of origin, indigenous status) AGAINST women that they wish to discriminate against. As is self-evident, this would be disastrous.

      VRR *could* segregate its program by gender identity (trans women and cis women) on the basis of specific documented need if there is such a need, but they COULD NOT refuse to support the more marginalized women in order to focus on less marginalized women. Doing this is grounds for losing charity status, so is advocating for discrimination on prohibited grounds.

      VRR could change its mandate from “all women” to “cisgender women who were not raped by women and are not employed in sex work” (yes, it is documented to discriminate against more women than transgender women). It could then apply to CRA for charity status under that mandate and for funding clearly specifying that this is their mandate.

      What they can not do however is lie about their supporting “all women” when applying for funding when in fact they proudly discriminate against transgender women on the disinformation that transgender women are men. Doing THAT is engaging in fraud.

      Under Canadian law the door for discriminating against women because they are transgender has closed and would be exceedingly dangerous to re-open for any other group protected under the enumerated list of explicit protections.

      All this, I humbly suggest.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Your knowledge about Candian law is very wide, that’s why you’re a major threat for terfs.
      If I understand, for-profit women-only gyms may be unlawful according Canadian law, right?
      The definition “cisgender women who were not raped by women and are not employed in sex work” did make me laugh but you forgot a detail, their full definition should be “cisgender women who were not raped by women and are not employed in sex work and don’t do surrogacy” 😀
      I wish you a good day.

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    3. Thank you for the very kind words. I am not sure what you mean by surrogacy in this context. As you know I am not a lawyer and lack the depth of expertise to give legal advice.

      Most services normally available to the public fall under provincial jurisdiction. Each province prohibits the denial of services on prohibited grounds of discrimination.

      The BC Human Rights Code specifically prohibits discrimination on explicitly prohibited grounds by any for-profit service provider. However, it does allow targeting services to communities when there is a demonstrated demand for the service. That said, discrimination on prohibited grounds is only allowed for non-profit services when it is demonstrably needed. That said, case law has move into including targeted services as valid, such as services marketed for women or for men. One BCHRT ruling, cited below, has also supported the for-profit selling of services specifically marketed on the basis of excluding specific groups of persons (men).

      Stopps v. Just Ladies Fitness (Metrotown) and D. (No. 3), 2006 BCHRT 557 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/h06xb>

      Because men are recognized to be the least-oppressed class under protection from discrimination on the basis of sex, I accept that marketing products that protect everyone else from men has value to society and does not automatically cause unjustified discrimination. Keeping men out of some spaces is not the same as keeping women out or as keeping immigrants or indigenous persons out.

      Here is some case law in which the complainant’s claim of discrimination on the basis of sex. The complainant, a man, was refused a gym membership in a gym marketing to women. His application was ultimately rejected on the basis that the Tribunal did not believe that he had acted with the real intent to make use of the facilities for its intended use.

      This DOES cause illustrate a paradox: A man, as illustrated in the cited case, should inherently know that a service for women is not for him so his complaint for refusal of a service will ALWAYS be in bad faith because it is intended in tearing down a protection.

      I believe it could be put forward that setting up any service specifically geared for one group – for example women in trades, for english-language learners with a specific starting language, or a technology training program geared for indigenous persons, may intend to provide a specialized service and be protected under this intention, despite being prohibited from discriminating against persons who do not qualify.

      There is a vast difference between a for-profit service aimed at addressing a known problem (shitty men in gyms keeping women away from gyms) and a for-profit service aimed at making things worse (a white-supremacist-men-only restaurant). Maybe one day some of us will not need to rely on the protection of the courts from the damaging actions of others, but the day has not yet arrived.

      Referring to specific paragraphs in the cited case I believe are improtant (emphasis mine):

      [111] In this case, the evidence substantiated that women sought out a women’s only facility because of issues arising from their disadvantage in society, namely to be free from the male gaze and feelings of poor body image. This evidence was not seriously challenged by Mr. Stopps. Because some women may prefer co-ed facilities, does not undermine the need for some women to have the option of working-out in a women only facility, a fact that is supported by the increasing number of women who seek out women-only fitness facilities. In the circumstances of this case, treating Mr. Stopps the same as these women would actually result in an adverse consequence for these women. Seen in this context, such a result would not further the purposes of the Code.

      [112] I am unable to find, based on this evidence, that Mr. Stopps’ human dignity, viewed subjectively, was adversely affected by the denial of a membership at Just Ladies. Mr. Stopps did not present or appear to have been adversely affected by the denial of the membership. He asked to be denied a membership, he pursued this complaint, discussed it with the media and, despite his stated desire to be more physically fit, he did nothing else. Had he wanted to pursue a fitness program, he would have taken further steps to do so. He did not.

      [113] Viewed objectively, I am unable to find that Mr. Stopps’ human dignity was adversely affected by the policy of Just Ladies. He had available to him a number of other options, but he pursued none of these. He gave no credible reason why he failed to so in the face of the reasons he went to Just Ladies initially. In my view, Mr. Stopps went to Just Ladies seeking a service that he knew would be denied; he fully intended to pursue a human right complaint. The human rights system is not to be used to make a point; it is to be used to address discrimination and to further the purposes of the Code so that all can participate in the activities of British Columbia without fear of adverse treatment based on a prohibited ground of discrimination. Allowing Mr. Stopps’ complaint would undermine the purposes of the Code and minimize the real and daily discrimination faced by many in our society, including men.

      [114] Further, in most, if not all, human rights complaints, complainants file complaints because they have faced discrimination contrary to the Code and have been denied a service that they truly believed they were entitled to. In this case, Mr. Stopps had many options available to him; none of which he acted upon. He did not truly want to belong to a fitness facility. He wanted to make a point. I accept that there are times when a person may file a complaint challenging a policy or practice that, on its face, appears not to be discriminatory, and in doing so expose discrimination. However, I am unable to conclude that this is one of those cases. Mr. Stopps pursued this complaint for reasons unrelated to his human rights.

      [115] I have no difficulty in finding that Mr. Stopps has failed to establish that his human dignity was adversely affected by the decision of Just Ladies, viewed subjectively or objectively. I do so regardless of whether I apply the traditional human rights analysis or the Law analysis.

      [116] Mr. Stopps suggested that Ms. Davis treated him in a discriminatory manner; I find that she did not. She was presented with a difficult situation and dealt with it the best she could. I accept her evidence that Mr. Stopps continually tried to have her deny him a membership, wanted her to use specific language and raised human rights issues with her. He was also, by his own admission, anxious and raising his voice. In these circumstances, I accept that she treated him with respect, tried to de-escalate the situation, and followed Just Ladies’ procedures. It is unclear to me why someone from Just Ladies did not contact Mr. Stopps following his visit there as Ms. Davis said they would. As a result Mr. Stopps called several times on the Monday. Although, I accept that Mr. Stopps would have been upset by this treatment, I do not find that it suggests that Ms. Davis discriminated against him contrary to the Code.

      [117] In summary, I find that Mr. Stopps was not adversely treated when he was denied a service by Just Ladies nor was he adversely treated in his interactions with Just Ladies and its staff. For these reasons, I find that Mr. Stopps has failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination, and his complaint is dismissed.

      This is admittedly the outcome that JY should have faced in JY’s 14 complaints of discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression when JY sought a slew of services with the apparent hope of getting denied a service.

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    4. This is surrogacy
      https://surrogacy.ca
      TERFs hate surrogacy, they call it “womb renting”.
      Have you noticed that TERFs are always even SWERFs and anti-surrogacy?

      “A man, as illustrated in the cited case, should inherently know that a service for women is not for him so his complaint for refusal of a service will ALWAYS be in bad faith because it is intended in tearing down a protection.”

      This part is actually a self-defeating argument, since its rationale could be applied to everyone who is excluded by a facility specifically discriminating against her/his race/gender/sex/religion etc.
      So basically, it’s a rationale meant to justify every form of discrimination.

      Thank you for the rest, it’s a very complete explanation.
      In other words, if I understood well the rationale, there would be a proved need, and, particularly, it should be something that the specifical group it’s gonna enjoy more in absence of the “discriminated” group.
      So, in example, I’m just inventing, a facility with advanced sex dolls reserved to male customers excluding female customers due a reason like “female presence is likely to cause embarassment in male customers who could be afraid to be judged by the women” should be legal. Especially if combined with a rationale saying something like that generally in sexual selection it’s women who are the final judges therefore a lot of men, especially insecure men (more likely to be customers in such venue), are used to see women as judging them. It coud be even cite the old saying “men are afraid to be derided by women”.
      Such kind of discriminatory venue would be extremely likely to be legal, right?

      I don’t want to waste your time, however it’s amazing to see how deep is your legal knowledge on such matters.

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    5. Thank you for clarifying. I do under how people concerned with the commodification of women’s bodies would have concerns about surrogacy as a business model.

      I agree, basing an argument around ” bad faith” is awful.

      Transgender people have had to complain to access services knowing they would be likely to be turned away and the argument could be made it was in bad faith, although the point would also be made it is in the best interest of society to allow a complaint to go forward.

      Like with surrogacy, I think it’s best for me to let experts in ethics and gender studies address the questions you raise about cybernetic sex toys.

      The law is a reflection of our wants, after all…

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    6. In my country even surrogacy for free, like a woman doing it for her sister, is forbidden. And surrogacy is opposed by most “gender feminists” (here is called “difference feminism”) aka TERFs.

      My question wasn’t about cybernetic sex toys, it was about the rationale to forbid a group to access to a public venue, like a gym or a brothel with advanced sex toys.
      The main point, it seems to me, is that there must be a need of the group and that such need would be better satisfied in absence of the other group: women better enjoying a gym without men watching them too much, commenting, etc, hetero and bi men better enjoying cybersex without being judged by women, or, another example, a gay club not admitting women. It seems to me that all those three cases have the same rationale, they follow the same logic. Especially the last two cases, they’re very similar: in both cases we have men doing sexual things and better enjoying such sexual things in absence of women.

      Regarding transgenders my opinion is:
      It’s terrible that someone who have already legally transitioned and is legally a woman had to face issues. That’s inherently unlawful and it’s a shame. The public force should take action, and the venue rejecting persons who are women should be closed or, better, take over by the state. What it counts is the law, if the law says that someone is a woman then no exceptions against her should be made, never.
      But that’s just my opinion.

      Like

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