A complaint filed by the vice-president of the B.C. NDP has entered the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
Beginning today (December 11) and scheduled to run through the rest of this week, the tribunal will hear arguments of whether or not Morgane Oger was a victim of discrimination.
In May 2017, Oger ran as an NDP candidate for the provincial legislature. She narrowly missed becoming the first transgender MLA in B.C. history when she was defeated by incumbent Liberal MLA Sam Sullivan. Sullivan won with 10,370 votes over Oger’s 9,955.
During the campaign, Bill Whatcott distributed fliers that made various claims about Oger as a person who identifies as transgender. Whatcott describes himself on social media as a “conservative Christian” who is currently based in Saskatchewan.
The documents carried a title reading, “Transgenderism vs. Truth in Vancouver–False Creek,” and used verses from the Bible and other religious language to argue that “homosexuality and transvestitism” are wrong. “The truth is there are only two genders, male and female and they are God given and unchangeable,” the pamphlet continued.
According to a December 11 media release issued by West Coast LEAF, an intervenor in Oger’s case, the documents distributed by Whatcott constitute a breach of section 7 of the B.C. Human Rights Code.
Section 7 of the code states that, “A person must not publish, issue or display…any statement, publication, notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate against a person or a group or class of persons…because of the…sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression…of that person or that group or class of persons.”
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has not made any decision on the case and none of the allegations have been proven.
A statement that Whatcott published online, dated November 20, 2018, provides his own summary of the case. It repeatedly uses Oger’s previous name that she used before publicly identifying as a woman. Whatcott's statement describes Oger as “a transvestite activist who has publicly stated people should be criminally prosecuted for calling him a man and that Christian parents should lose their kids if they disagree with their children being force fed SOGI [sexual orientation and gender identity] propaganda in their schools and getting sex change operations if the little one is brainwashed (after a SOGI session it can happen) into thinking he is a girl.”
The West Coast LEAF media release states that the pamphlets that Whatcott distributed are “harmful” to Oger and expose “other trans people to discrimination, hatred, and contempt”.
“The rights of transgender people to safety and dignity are essential human rights,” says Raji Mangat, West Coast LEAF’s director of litigation, quoted there. “Hate speech directed at transgender people is aimed at vilifying them and erasing their identity. All people, including public figures like Ms. Oger, have the right to be free from discriminatory, hateful public comment.”More