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.