They’ve called her a “he”, and identified her by her legal name, “Jeffrey Allan Dawson”.
Even though Angela Dawson told Vancouver police officers that she’s a transgender female, they didn’t treat her as a woman.
For that, Dawson took the Vancouver police board before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
On Tuesday (March 24), tribunal member Catherine McCreary released a decision finding that Dawson was discriminated against by Vancouver police officers.
“She says she has identified as a woman for a long time, she has gone so far as to have gender-reassignment surgery,” McCreary wrote. “She dresses and lives as a woman. I find that not to be treated as a woman is hurtful to her.”
McCreary ordered the board to pay Dawson $15,000 in damages.
“I find that the manner in which trans people are identified and dealt with concerning their identity amounts to systemic discrimination on the part of VPB,” McCreary also wrote.
In accordance with that finding, she also ordered that VPB adopt within the next year “policies that recognize and prevent discrimination of identification of trans people with whom the VPB deals, such that accommodations be made up to the point of undue hardship”.
The tribunal member also directed that Vancouver police officers be trained to implement these policies.
Dawson is a familiar figure to many, directing traffic at busy intersections like Main and Hastings, Broadway and Commercial, and Broadway and Cambie. She likes to dress in colourful attire, puts on in-line skates, and wears headphones.
In a police report, an officer referred to her as a “male party wearing pink tights and a summer coloured dress”. She was described as a “he”.
A police ticket referred to her by her legal first name “Jeffery”.
One police officer testified before the tribunal to having referred to Dawson as “Jeff” and that he “had probably called her a man”, McCreary said in her decision.
As for Dawson, McCreary noted, she told the tribunal that “when the police give her tickets that use her male birth name and that refer to her as male, it is ‘really messed up’ and she feels dehumanized”.
“I conclude that VPB has no policy with respect to the way to identify trans people, with whom it deals, either as victim, witness, or perpetrator,” McCreary stated.
“There has been no description of the circumstances under which officers should use the name and gender preferred by the trans person,” she continued. “There was no evidence of the VPB weighing the circumstances and identifying to its officers when using other than the legal name would be a reasonable accommodation, short of undue hardship.”