Tag Archives: trans

PHSA Trans Health Future Directions live broadcast feed – May 2, 2015

TAS received the following letter today from the Provincial Health Services Authority:


Provincial Health Services Authority would like to remind you of the full day session: Trans Health Future Directions happening Saturday May 2nd.  The event is now full, however we would like to invite guests to please join us via our a live broadcast feed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yveUxvVe9w (Note: this seems to be a scrubbed version released on 12 June 2015 and not the original live feed).

This is an opportunity for us to share the provincial service planning recommendations that have been developed, build relationships with other professionals and organizations, and most importantly to engage in meaningful dialogue to improve health services.


  1. Share what work has been completed to date and identify if there are any major gaps
  2. Build shared commitment between the trans community and health care system providers to improve service delivery
  3. Foster the trans community network (creating connections) 

This event will not include any decision-making or announcements regarding services.

 Agenda for the Event Day:

0930 – 1000 Registration
1000 – 1005 Logistics
1005 – 1015 Blessing from First Nations elder
1015 – 1030 Kick off and welcome messages
1030 – 1105 Context, plan and principles
1105 – 1130 Facts and information
1130 – 1300 Working group presentations
1300 – 1425 Lunch and community networking/resource activity
1425 – 1450 Working group presentations continued
1450 – 1610 Question and answer session
1610 – 1620 Conclusion

A website has been developed for this project and can be found at http://www.phsa.ca/about/special-projects/transgender.  Questions regarding the Trans Health Future Directions event or questions in general can be sent to transgender@phsa.ca.  Feedback regarding the recommendations will be accepted until May 9th, 2015.


Arden Krystal
Chief Operating Officer
Provincial Health Services Authority
Vanessa Barron
Consultant, Clinical Transformation
Provincial Health Services Authority

Is Senator Plett’s moral compass broken, or is he just the face of “out of touch” social conservatism?

Senator Plett’s statements regarding transgender women seems to confirm what many already believe: that his moral compass is broken.

March 31 2015 was International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day when everyone seemed to be celebrating transgender  persons. Everyone that is, except the Honorable Senator Plett.

That day, Senator Don Plett, the Senator from Manitoba used anonymous hearsay in an attempt to paint a transgender mother of a young girl as a potential predator. The hearsay came in the form of a letter from an angry ex-partner venting about her transgender ex on the matter of an alleged incident which supposedly occurred when the transgender woman went into a women’s bathroom at a sports facility in order to support her young daughter’s needs.You know, just like every other good mother does as needed when raising a young child – transgender or not.

It’s unfathomable what Mr Plett’s personal reasoning was which justified using this story. It even is unclear from what he says whether there was even a problem. it’s almost like he is making up an incident that didn’t happen – or if he chooses to believe this “45 year old woman” from BC who was clearly speaking about an event she was not at. Reading closely, Senator Plett in fact mentions no actual complaint from anyone who was there. He provides no tangible facts from witnesses and has no evidence whatsoever to back his claim beyond an alleged letter from of an angry ex partner. If this woman does indeed exist who wishes to broadcast her situation on the Senate floor, Mr Plett should produce her name – or the name of the other parent – so that the validity of his claims can be examined. Is it not customary, in fact, to limit ones speeches to facts in the house of Parliament?

One wonders whose imagination conjured this Dangerous Transgender Woman boogey-man cliche: Was it the angry ex or Senator Plett’s overzealous imagination? Did anyone else also see this?

In spite of talking about events without actual factual evidence, Senator Plett believes he is tasked with offering moral judgement about a transgender parent’s parenting methods in his own crass and sexist style. It wasn’t that a trans woman was misbehaving that bothers Mr Plett and the author of the letter. It is the supposed size of the hardware. What does Mr Plett think of the other women who do not, in fact, meet his aesthetic test for entry to a restroom? Should we ban intersex women for example? How about transsexuals? What, exactly is Mr Plett’s definition of a sufficiently “female” woman for access to the appropriate bathrooms? What about this genetic male who gave birth today to twins? Is he a man? Is she a woman? How will poor Mr Plett decide? Is 5% genetic female enough to enter your ladies room, Mr Plett?

Senator Plett’s March 31 statements on this transgender woman is simply not what one expects from the Senate in 2015. It seems simply unbelievable that a Senator, a member of this venerable sober chamber of second thought , do this. One simply does not speak about a specific, real, living person’s genitals on the senate floor unchecked and for no reason except to extend his offensively discriminatory and wrong perspective on what constitutes a woman good enough for his standards. This is beyond defamation. Not only Senator Plett shows an incredible lack of tact, judgement, and manners,but his words sound like sexual harassment.

Judging from his actions and statements over the last years, Senator Plett seems to believe only his own counsel. On the subject of gender identity, he surrounds himself with fear and disbelief and unsurprisingly only gives those voices credibility. Senator Plett certainly does not appear to believe the Canadian Association of Social Workers and the Canadian Association of Social Work Education when they say that

“Gender diversity must be respected as an expression of human diversity.”

Nor does he believe their urging in their january 2015 position paper that:

“Restrictive gender roles are a reflection of sexist, racist, heteronormative and cisnormative assumptions, and are harmful for all people regardless of gender identity. Social workers should engage in ongoing learning to recognize and eliminate these assumptions in the profession.”

So far behind current Canadian thinking about gender identity as he is, Mr Plett does not seem to be aware of the broad support shown by the majority of Canadians such as for example, the Safer Schools Coalition and their fellow supporters of the Vancouver Board of Education SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) policy, for policies already in place in Canada such as those of the Archdioceseces of Vancouver and the Vancouver Parks Board to name the ones in the home city of TAS.

All of these social policy changes were accomplished without incident beyond fear-based panic-mongering from social conservatives of the Senator Plett’s ilk. In fact, Senator Plett’s proposed amendment to transgender protection bill C-279 sound like a giant leap back to the 1980s when hearing of them from Vancouver.

In the end, one simply wonders how could come to be that a Senator appointed by the Conservative Party‘s  Stephen Harper, would come to read this letter. It seems like it would require too many errors of judgement to get to see the light of day.

One further wonders why this member of the Conservative Party of Canada finds himself advocating for someone’s views which are in fact contrary to the law of British Columbia. and as a consequence, one wonders why Senator Plett chose to harass an innocent person he has never even met.

What kind of moral compass is this social conservative crusader relying on when deciding to echo an angry ex’s sexist and discriminatory venom?

As a close friend, long time associate, and apointee, does Senator Plett reflect the views of Prime Minister Harper on gender identity? Is he speaking his own mind and straying foolishly into the forest on matters he does not grasp or is he acting on orders from his boss?

Were his actions and statements as measured as they appeared? Did the Senator from Manitoba really not know that it took only a few minutes to identify the family he is speaking of? Surely Senator Plett is aware of the rates of violence against transgender persons and their loved ones.

Maybe this was not what it looks like. Perhaps this was not simply Senator Plett’s  warning to transgender parents and to other transgender persons that their family troubles might get amplified on the Senate floor if they get too uppidy and forget their place at the back of the bus, away from the respectable cis ladies? Perhaps this was not Senator Plett’s own twisted analogy to a cross burning: “we know who you are and we can go even further than this” This feels like an extension of the Conservative party bag of dirty tricks against political opponents, except that its being used on a transgender mom in Vancouver.

But in vancouver, we don’t let bullies tell us what to do. Nor do we let the likes of Plett scare us by throwing his horrible amendments meant to take away our rights.

More than mean, was this legal?

But this is about more than hateful behaviour. This is also about how Senator Plett, speaking for his party, gave a derisive and detailed description of a transgender person’s most intimate and vulnerable features on the floor of the Senate. And that is more than just mean and creepy. It is also a violation of the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms.

Thanks to Senator Plett’s rough debate tactics, sexual harassment can now be added to the the already the rich quiver of skills prevalent on a 2009 cohort Conservative Senator’s CV, along with fraud, deceit, and sexual assault.

A federal election is apparently overdue so we can clean house and get new blood to appoint people into the senate.

Are the amendment to C-279 as widely supported as claimed by Senator Plett

Senator Plett wants to protect women from transgender women – at any cost. Read here for a detailed explanation of what he is proposing.

Central to Mr Plett’s argument in justifying rolling back existing implicit and explicit protection that transgender persons currently enjoy in Canada is his strong belief that Canada must create a law which “…will no longer allow biological males to self-identify as female and gain unrestricted access to sex-specific facilities“. it is important that under current law, what he is trying to do is currently implicitly human rights violation under federal law and all provincial and territorial law in Canada  and an explicit violation of human rights under the law of  Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Price Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Northwest Territories.

In addition, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) wrote a letter to the Senate in response to the amendments which were passed in in this sitting of the committee, urging the Senate to “Reject Amendment to Bill C-279“.

As part of their position, the CBA noted that  the amendment:

  • “undermines the Bill’s intent” (is a deliberate poison pill injected by a government attempting to ignore the will of the people),

  • “threatens the human rights of all people using sex or gender specific services, spaces and institutions in federal jurisdiction” (risks being abused in all kinds of terrible ways against us all),

  • “appears to rest primarily on a misapprehension of existing human rights law and criminal provisions” ( opponents fear mongering and do not seem to understand)

…Yet Senator Plett claims in a letter to the editors of the Montreal Gazette chiding them for criticizing his position and claiming that he is in fact NOT excluding transgender persons from gendered space:

“As for the amendment that I assume Ms. Page is referring to when she mistakenly writes about a bathroom “ban”. This misunderstood amendment deals with section 15.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which speaks to exceptions (or where “it is not a discriminatory practice”). This amendment addressed the widespread concern that this bill would have, in fact, allowed any individual to self-identify as the opposite sex and gain unrestricted access to sex-specific facilities on federal jurisdiction (Abused women’s shelters, change rooms, shower rooms, etc.).”

This is in stark contrast with the response that TAS recieved when we asked leading womens organziations for their opinion on the subject:

Trans Alliance Society Chair Morgane oger asked Canadian Women’s Foundation, a prominent Canadian charity working to end violence against women to clarify their position on transgender women in women-only shelters and the answer was affirming and supportive of transgender women:

This exchange is in stark contrast to Senator Plett’s claims that women’s shelters are demanding protection from the apparent deluge of transgender women.

A similar conversation with YWCA Canada, after a wonderful meeting with YWCA Metro Vancouver CEO Janet Austin also provided clear affirmation of the desire by service providers serving women to continue to support transgender women..

Senator Plett has found one witness who actually works in gender-specific support services to support his position.

Is this really enough to represent women?

Certainly not.