by Christina Blizzard. January 29, 2014.
TORONTO – The older I get, the more particular I am about who I get naked with.
It’s not that I’m a prude.
As one ages, things tend to sag and bag and, well, the bits you used to flaunt you tend to want to keep to yourself.
Apparently, I’m not alone.
A recent letter to an ethics columnist in the Toronto Star from an older woman complained she had to share a gym changeroom recently with a man who claimed to be transgendered and was therefore entitled to use the women’s changeroom.
The “woman” had a penis. The penis had an erection and the person it was attached to asked her if she “came here often.”
Don’t get me wrong. I hate to sound insensitive to people who may be having a crisis about their sexuality, but common sense dictates there should be limits to their behaviour.
Apparently not, according to Ontario Human Rights commissioner Barbara Hall.
In a letter on the OHRC website, Hall slams the woman who complained, saying there is no documented case of a heterosexual man gaining access to a women’s changeroom by “posing as a transgender.”
In such situations, “transgender persons are more at risk than anyone else of being harassed, abused, assaulted, or even killed,” Hall said.
“For more than 15 years, transgender people in Ontario have had the legal right to use the washroom — or changeroom — according to their lived gender identity,” she said.
Hall slams those who call for segregation of transgender people into separate bathrooms and changing spaces.
“This is a practice based on fear and stereotypes, and is exactly opposite the vision of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, which is to build an Ontario based on inclusion, where everyone feels a part of and is able to contribute to the community.”
“Fear and stereotypes” have nothing to do with it.
Modesty and the expectation that you’re sharing a changeroom with a person of the same gender is more realistic.
I am sure we’re all sympthetic to transgendered people, but it’s unrealistic for them to expect to be accepted by the mainstream of women in a changeroom if they still have male parts.
If they don’t want to undress in the men’s changeroom, then the gym should set aside a private place where they can change without embarrassment.
At the same time, we have women-only swim times at an aquatic centre in Regent Park in order to accommodate certain religious and cultural minorities for whom communal bathing is a no-no. And the OHRC supports that.
It begs the question: If a transgendered woman with a penis busts a female Islamic swim class in downtown Toronto, whose human rights take precedence?
It was a question I wanted to ask Hall. Sadly, though, she did not want to be interviewed for my column Tuesday.
A call to her office elicited the response that Hall said everything she wanted to in her letter.
But I can’t remember the last time Hall had a news conference.
Her predecessor, the late, great Keith Norton, did more to champion gay rights and promote accessibility for people with disabilities than she has done.
More importantly, Norton always held a news conference when he put out his often controversial annual reports.
He enjoyed parrying questions from reporters and cheerfully defended his stands.
Not Hall. She only offers to make herself available to reporters who request an interview when her report is tabled.
I’m tired of being told my rights don’t count — especially when the person who does so won’t defend that stand.
When political correctness trumps common sense, you know your province is headed to a very odd place indeed.
Source: Ottawa Sun