Tag Archives: gender identity

Clothes & Hair, Race & Gender Identity: HR/judicial complaints arise out of Montreal Rental Board hearing

A Montreal woman has filed a complaint with the Administrative Judicial Council against a Rental Board judge she says repeatedly referred to her as a man.


While in court with a witness, a friend who was also a former tenant of the same building, Sojourner said in a news conference late Wednesday morning that the presiding judge, Luce De Palma, consistently referred to her with male pronouns.

“I was referred to as ‘monsieur,’ ‘il,’ ‘lui,’ and ‘mr.’ over twelve times” said Sojourner, “and each time she referred to me, I corrected her. Including the landlord, I was there over a landlord case, and the landlord’s representative would, every time he was spoken to in French, would correct the judge and say ‘madame Sojourner.'”

Sojourner, who is not transgender, identifies herself as a black lesbian woman, and says the experience left her dignity “in tatters.”

From Montreal CJAD800AM blog

You can hear Tomee describe what happened and how it affected her on this CBC radio program: Human rights complaint – Homerun – CBC PlayerFo Niemi, of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, joins the discussion.  You need to hear the story to understand more about how race may figure in.  Hot tip: Hair.  Here’s the TV story.

Along with all the other emotions, I felt relieved to see that the landlord’s representative also engaged in an effort to correct the judge. What would you have done?

h/t to Osgoode’s Njeri Damali Campbell who sent me info on this case.

ICJ publication: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Justice- A Comparative Law Casebook

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Justice- A Comparative Law Casebook. (yes, this link takes you to the whole book, available for download).

This is pretty marvelous — many chapters each collecting case summaries on a particular topic from around the work.

From the Forward by The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG:

This is a remarkable book. It tells an extraordinary tale. It collects more than 100 court decisions of comparatively recent years in which judges of many lands have had to grapple with decisions about the legal rights of members of sexual minorities (homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, intersex and other ‘queer’ people).
The collection is remarkable, in that it shows the extraordinary progress that has been made in a couple of decades, when measured against the hostility and inequality that marked this topic of the law over hundreds of years previously. The hostility and inequality are by no means over. The cases recorded in this book come from diverse countries. But most of them are from the courts of developed nations. In many countries of Africa, the Caribbean and Asia, inequality and injustice continue to prevail with legal backing and societal support. Still, the very publication of this book, with its clear message of parliamentary and judicial progress in the cause of equality and basic rights, will itself contribute to the global process that is underway. Judges and lawyers will read the book. They will take heart and courage to press forward in their own lands until the last remnants of ignorance and prejudice are finally removed from the face of the law

From the Introduction:

In 2009 the International Commission of Jurists began to gather together national court decisions that addressed questions concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. It did so because it had become evident that battles over some of the most controversial issues of the day were being waged in domestic courts. A very small number of cases can be brought before international human rights bodies – such as the regional human rights commissions and courts and UN treaty bodies – but increasingly international human rights arguments were being heard at the domestic level. What you have before you is the result of this research.

The fourteen chapters are organised by topic. Each chapter begins with a general introduction to that particular field of law, followed by case summaries. The latter set forth the legal issue and the relevant domestic, comparative and international law, and then summarise the arguments, reasoning, and result. Cases that are summarised in the Casebook are bold-faced throughout the text. Altogether, the Casebook consists of 108 cases, from 41 countries across a variety of regions, covering a span of more than forty years. The vast majority of decisions, nevertheless, date from the past decade. The pace of change is clearly accelerating.

Another H/T to the amazing list serv from the Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme at U of T: REPROHEALTHLAW-L