Moose Jaw Pride Receives $20,000 from Human Rights Settlement
Above: Moose Jaw Pride volunteers pose with the donation, flanked by transgender and genderqueer flags.
For Immediate Release
A 2014 human rights complaint regarding gender markers was settled this week with a donation of $20,000 to Moose Jaw Pride.
Joe Wickenhauser, Executive Director for Moose Jaw Pride, said the settlement sends a clear message that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is not acceptable in the province.
“We are glad to see this complaint resolved and know that this donation will go a long way in providing education to organizations looking to avoid similar human rights violations in the province,” Wickenhauser said.
In 2013, Laura Budd was told by Saskatchewan Health that without proof of undergoing a sterilizing surgery, she would not be able to correct the gender marker on her identification documents to match her gender identity. For years, advocates for transgender and gender diverse people in Canada have argued that incorrect gender markers on identification documents leave individuals open to discrimination, humiliation, harassment and danger.
While Budd’s repeated requests to have her gender markers corrected were denied by Saskatchewan Health, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario had already issued a decision in 2012 that found the practice of requiring individuals to undergo “transsexual surgery” to change their gender markers was “substantively discriminatory.”
According to Wickenhauser, Budd’s case highlighted an extremely unfair situation in which those not wanting to have sex-reassignment surgery were being coerced in order to attain proper identification. “Ironically, access to gender-confirming surgeries continues to be extremely limited in Saskatchewan by appalling wait times and a broad lack of coverage,” Wickenhauser said.
The standards of care outlined by The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) assert that while not every transgender or gender diverse individual wants or needs surgery, for others it is “essential and medically necessary to alleviate their gender dysphoria.”
Budd’s Human Rights complaint eventually led to a consent order from the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench in February this year that allowed her and other Saskatchewan-born persons over age 18 to correct their gender markers on government identification. Legislative changes for gender markers have yet to be introduced in Saskatchewan.
According to Budd, a settlement was negotiated with Saskatchewan Health which would provide funding to an organization working to reduce discrimination towards transgender persons in Saskatchewan. “I chose Moose Jaw Pride to be the recipient of the grant feeling that they have a plan in place to create a more inclusive society for gender diverse persons,” Budd said.
In addition to its diversity training initiative, Moose Jaw Pride plans to use the money to support community development for LGBT+ people in smaller centres and rural areas across Saskatchewan.
To learn more about the issues facing LGBT+ people in Saskatchewan or to show support, consider attending Moose Jaw Pride Week, happening May 29 – June 4.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Executive Director, Moose Jaw Pride