A Canadian woman has filed a human rights complaint alleging she had to share a room in a shelter for recovering women addicts with a biological man “transitioning” to a woman.
To make matters worse, when she sought advice on her legal rights, Kristi Hanna was told by Ontario’s Human Rights Legal Support Centre she was potentially violating the law by referring to the “trans” woman as a man, the National Post reported Thursday.
Hanna launched a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario complaint against the Jean Tweed Center, which runs Palmerston House, after allegedly spending two nights in the same room as a biological man.
The 37-year-old former paramedic has “been struggling with the lingering effects of sexual abuse and resulting problems with addiction to alcohol and cocaine,” reported the National Post’s Joseph Brean.
Hanna alleges in her complaint the shelter “admitted a male bodied transgender into the safety of my home, bedroom and safe spaces,” and this caused her “stress, anxiety, rape flashbacks, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep deprivation.”
She had been living at Palmerston House for seven months when on July 20, the “trans woman” was assigned to her room, which has two beds about five feet apart, Hanna told the Post.
She described the “trans woman” as in his late 20s, with facial hair, chest hair, and large combat boots, and told the Post he spoke at a community dinner of having a former wife, a pregnant fiancée, and was overheard describing some unidentified women as “hot” and his preference for Latina women.
Hanna, who says she’s an “active ally in the LGBTQ community,” said the other residents were upset as well.
“All of us were completely upset and flabbergasted, pretty much, and instantly all full of fear. They won’t even allow a man on the property without permission by the staff and all the residents. And we had no pre-warning of any of this. There was never any discussions. It was never mentioned. We were all just blindsided,” Hanna said.
“Everyone in the house has had at some point male-enforced trauma. This is not about discrimination, this is about the safety of male-enforced trauma victims.”
Hanna said staff told her: “We’re all about inclusion and it’s unfortunate that you feel this way… Deal with it or leave.”
After two nights that “were hell for me,” Hanna left the shelter indefinitely and has been staying with friends since then.
Moreover, an advisor with the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, which advises potential human rights complainants, told Hanna she could be illegally discriminating by using male pronouns to refer to the trans “woman.”
“What you’ve told me is potentially discriminatory and potentially a violation of the law, and that individual may file against you in the future, and our role is to keep those conflicts of interest in mind,” the advisor said, before ending the call.
Lucy Hume, outgoing executive director of the Jean Tweed Centre, told the National Post in a statement the center is “fully aware of the requirements under the Ontario Human Rights Code.”
“With respect to accommodating trans women, we do not discriminate; nor do we impose modifications with respect to accommodation,” Hume wrote.