I should be happy: a cause I championed as an LGBTQ advocate for a long time in my old newspaper blog and beyond has finally been won. Transgender people have won civil rights protections at the federal level. Coupled with all the gains made by lesbian and gay people, that should pretty much wrap up my LGBTQ advocacy work in Canada, right?
Well, maybe not.
The problem with Bill C-16 is it appears, in theory, to compromise the rights of women, particularly lesbians.
As Senator Linda Frum points out in an opinion piece on the Toronto Sun site, it “creates protections for gender identity and gender expression: vague concepts with no precise legal definitions.” It doesn’t even mention the word “transgender,” and hence has opened a Pandora’s box of sorts.
It may even be the end of the gender binary as we knew it — and there is no doubt that is the goal of some advocates, and it seems some politicians are willing to go along with it in the interests of being politically correct. Including Linda Frum, who decried Bill C-16 for how it compromises women’s rights, but voted for it, anyway. Transgender rights were too important not to vote for it, I suppose, even if it meant sacrificing the rights of others.
Putting it simply, it appears to be enough for someone to say they identify as female to gain entrance to women-only spaces, such as health spas where women are often naked. So, like it or not, it is possible that women will be forced to see a penis or two or three in those places — or simply stop going there.
Such a case is under review now in Canada: a women-only health spa in Toronto has sought legal advice after a transwoman with a penis complained that she was denied entrance there. The club does allow fully transitioned trans women, i.e. women who have had sexual reassignment surgery, to participate there. But no dicks.
As you would expect, feminists are crying foul. One feminist publication has this heading over a piece about the affair: It shouldn’t be controversial to maintain women-only spaces.
Of course, the real issue here is, what is a woman? With Bill C-16, anyone can claim to be a woman, and challenging that claim can lead to expensive litigation, as Ms. Frum points out.
You would think that transwomen with male parts would be sensitive to the needs of natural-born women who don’t want to see dicks swinging around in their spas and such. And no doubt, most transwomen are. I bet most would be gracious enough to go to another spa.
But there are some activists who seem prepared to stomp all over women, particularly lesbians, and subjugate them to their will — and, in the process, come across like testosterone-fuelled jerks
Witness the social media entries of one Danielle Muscato, shared by feminist Lavender Blue on Twitter (her commentary is included):
As other feminists are pointing out, some trans activists are making all trans people look bad.
It must be noted here that transgender people — with or without male bits — shouldn’t be blamed for the vague terminology of Bill C-16 that seems to now infringe upon women’s rights. The politicians got it wrong: Justin Trudeau, the so-called feminist prime minister, is directly to blame, since he holds the highest office of the land and supported the bill. Every politician who voted for it is responsible.
Still, it remains to be seen what impact C-16 will have on women’s rights beyond the occasional spa having to admit transwomen with male bits. There may be only isolated cases of issues like this, and I suspect politicians took all this into consideration when they weighed the pros and cons of Bill C-16.
Did they sell out some women, i.e. lesbians and other women who want to be free of penis views in sex-segregated spaces?
Time will tell.
Meanwhile, my advocacy work in Canada will switch to women’s rights, but I will still help my LGBTQ friends in the U.S. in their fight for equal civil rights.
Photo credit: mattbuck4950 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA