Whitehorse Daily Star

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A CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION – Chase Blodgett (left) and NDP MLA Lois Moorcroft (right) celebrate Wednesday afternoon’s passing of a motion to amend the Yukon Human Rights Act to explicitly protect the rights of transgender, transsexual and trans-variant citizens. Photo by DEBORAH TURNER-DAVIS

Trans Yukoner isn’t one to retreat from a fight

“You have two spirits.”

By Aimee O'Connor on May 15, 2015

“You have two spirits.”

It is a look of pride that takes over Chase Blodgett’s face when he recounts what one of his co-workers said to him when he returned to work in Mayo after coming out to the public of his intentions to transition from a female to male.

Blodgett, 29, started his transitionary journey when he made the decision to post a “coming out” video on his personal Youtube channel in September 2014.

He was nervous about what people’s reactions would be, especially the hockey community, which was akin to a family to him.

“But I thought, ‘Telling them is not going to be worse than torturing yourself,’” he said in an interview Thursday afternoon.

And just like that, change in all sorts of forms was in the air.

A couple of months later in December, the Women’s Hockey Association (WWHA) drafted a board policy permitting transgendered players to participate in the league.

Blodgett began carrying a petition in his back pocket, looking to gain support in a motion to amend the Yukon Human Rights Act to explicitly include “gender identity” and “gender expression” under section 7 as prohibited grounds for discrimination.

The motion also calls for the use of public education and support for full equality and respect for the transgendered population.

The petition had about 130 signatures when it was brought to the legislature last month.

Shaun LaDue, a transgendered man from Ross River, had voiced his concerns about the human rights act to NDP justice critic Lois Moorcroft, who put the motion forward to the assembly.

MLAs held a debate to discuss the motion to amend the act on Wednesday afternoon.

Although all sides seemed to be in favour of the motion, Justice Minister Brad Cathers presented an amendment to the first part of the motion.

It read that the government would “consider” making amendments to the act “the next time it is reviewed.”

After the debate, a subamendment passed unanimously—the word “considered” was removed from Cathers’ amendment.

However, the phrase indicating that the act might be amended “the next time it is reviewed” was also passed unanimously.

There is no specific date set by the Cabinet to review the act before the end of the Yukon Party’s five-year mandate in 2016, or beyond.

“We’ve seen this government move with great haste when reviewing other acts, and we’ve seen molasses in February in other cases,” said NDP MLA Kate White.

The government does not appear to be in any sort of a hurry with this issue.

“The government’s position is that these rights, although not explicitly listed in the Human Rights Act, are already protected, as they should be,” said Cathers.

Here, the minister is referring to Section 7’s “sexual orientation” as grounds for discrimination.

Blodgett argues that sexual orientation does not protect him and others in the transgendered community, as it is defined by whom one is attracted to.

He said that trans is as diverse as the rest of the cisgendered population—that is, those who identify with their gender assigned at birth.

If Blodgett were to ever go to court to file a complaint for discrimination, he told the Star, “There’s an underlying fear that the litigation will get lost and clouded over in defining whether my rights are protected or not.”

While the motion passing may seem like a step in the right direction, that sense of vulnerability will dissolve only once the gender identity rights are legislated.

He indicates the next step in the fight would be to determine a timeline with the government for the act to be reviewed.

Although Blodgett admits that pushing for these rights already feels like a full-time job, he isn’t one to back down from a fight.

“When I see an injustice, I can choose to let it go, walk past and complain about it. Or, I can choose to pick it up, look at it and think, ‘What can I do to fix this?’”

Since the government is already in full support of explicitly listing the rights for persons who are transsexual, transgender or gender-variant, it is simply a question of when this might occur.

Until then, Blodgett continues to educate others about the challenges trans Yukoners face.

He is motivated by children in the school systems who are starting to identify as transgendered.

“Knowing that these kids are coming behind, I just want it to be easier for them.”

Comments (16)

Up 45 Down 10

Max Mack on May 19, 2015 at 5:38 pm

This is one of those issues where politicians cannot say anything other than the politically correct thing to say.

But, I think it is interesting that the cost of this woman's sexual reassignment surgery and expensive hormone therapy (etc) is being picked up by YTG. Yet, I can't even get a referral to see a specialist for a one-time examination.

Up 40 Down 16

not today on May 19, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Look at me. Look at me. I'm special. And I need special rights. Are you still looking?

Up 28 Down 3

June Jackson on May 19, 2015 at 11:26 am

In theory, we should all share the same rights and freedoms under the Charter Bill of Rights. The Charter is broken down into sections; Fundamental, Mobility, Democratic, Legal, Equality, Languages etc. No rights or freedoms in Canada are " inalienable ". Which means they can all or any be amended or changed under Section 32 at the whim of Government.

Equality Rights as written:
Marginal note: Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

It would seem to me that this covers the sexual orientation issue as well as employment opportunities through affirmative action.
Given Chase is already protected federally.. I don't understand what additional protections he is looking for, or indeed, what 'fight' he is anticipating.

Mr. Robinson: How will anything get anyone a seat on a plane if they don't look like their id? It would be incumbent on the traveller to ensure adequate identification. Words on a piece of paper will never prevent suicide from anyone regardless of their sexual preference. Suicide for Inuit youth are 11 times the national average and they have special status.

All this being said, personally, I do not care who another person chooses to love. It is no one's business. No one would even know if special interest groups did not go out into public and make an issue.

Mr. Lowell: special rights are being asked for. You don't see "straight white male" selected for protection under the human rights bill. "Every individual means every individual".
And yes, I know people who are transgender, and people who are gay and you know what? They, get up in the morning, go to work, pay their bills, have a barbecue, play ball on Saturdays..and they live their lives, raise their kids...


Up 17 Down 2

ProScience Greenie on May 19, 2015 at 11:13 am

Object 1 (1) (c) to promote recognition of the inherent dignity and worth and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family…
Section 7 (f) sex, including pregnancy, and pregnancy related conditions;
Chase looks like a member of the ‘human family’ to me.
Doesn't ‘sex’ mean male or female (gender) which any thinking Yukoner would assume includes any gender in between.

It’s a simple job to open up a document and insert ‘gender’ or ‘gender spectrum’ or something similar into the Act and that’s that. Till then, like we do with other Yukon Acts, issue an amendment and then Moorcroft and White can get back to work on major issues like wagging their fingers at someone having a light beer on an ATV out in the bush and in general tilting at windmills that do not exist.

Anyways Chase, until that small change is made, I think you’re covered by the Act and the Canadian Charter.
Carry on everybody and try to be nice to each other, pull your weight as best you can and live and let live. And remember everyone has a right to an opinion. You can teach an old dog new tricks if you're gentle and patient.

Up 32 Down 12

pedroferrero on May 17, 2015 at 10:15 pm

Hey , live and let live right ! Trans , Bi, Tri ( I'll tri anything once ) , lesbo-quadra-unassigned , metamorphosing-hetero-umbilically-uncategorisable , etc etc. We are all equal under law. Frankly I'd break bread with anyone of any orientation rather than have to sit through another of Josey's meandering blatherings. Peace !

Up 22 Down 3

Yukon 56 on May 17, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Why is this news? 10% of all are 'CONFUSED"

Up 19 Down 29

Mike Robinson on May 17, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Groucho, Brian, Julia, J Elloit and Josey, I am curious, do you know any transgender people? Have you ever talked to one? Are you aware that most bathrooms are gendered? That in order to book an airline flight you must enter gender and if your gender on your ID doesn't match your gender presentation you can be denied flights - for vacation, for medical, to visit family. Educate yourself before you decide to be an expert on a topic. I suspect you are cisgender people (do you know what this term means? If you don't you are not even an expert on yourself, much less others).

Brian, weak argument. I know several heterosexual couples who cannot reproduce because they are infertile. I guess that makes them "un-reproducible", which by the way is very poor grammar. I can't help but wonder what would happen if one of your children were transgender or gender non conforming. Would you love them no matter what? Would you worry for their safety and value above all else their happiness? Or would you be embarrassed and ashamed because you don't understand it and have them be one of the 43% of transgender people who attempt suicide? (Stat form PFLAG Canada- goggle it and maybe some other things on this topic)

I am glad a variety of options are represented, because it really highlights why and how important it is to have conversations to protect transgender and gender variant people. This issue is not just for them either, it's for all people to have the right to express themselves. For a cisgender woman to wear a pant uniform if that is her preference in a workplace that forces female identified people to wear skirts. It is a right for kids to go to cubs or brownies, regardless of their gender expression so they can be amongst peers in activities that they love.

I think one of the commenters nailed it when they said we are all equal. As such should be afforded the same protection under law. Yes we shouldn't require any of these law in the first place if there was accountable citizens everywhere. Based on very opinionated people like Groucho who won't even attach a name to a post - I think it is pretty clear that our societies lacks accountability from the grassroots to the policy makers Randall citizens in between.

Up 35 Down 5

Real Reasons for Redundant Rules on May 17, 2015 at 12:20 pm

The real reason is shown on the right side of the headline photo. It's aptly called political posturing. The safest way to garner positive political attention is to pass yet another redundant law for a right that's already fully guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of expression are part of the Fundamental Freedoms in Section 2. However it makes for great 'human interest' photo ops and seeks to create the impression that something meaningful was accomplished.

We can get ahead of the inevitable 'washroom controversy' that's cropped up in other jurisdictions, by labeling the doors of washrooms in public buildings with stylized genitalia symbols. Anyone who remains confused after checking their knickers can use the unisex handicap washroom.

Up 13 Down 14

Josey Wales on May 17, 2015 at 11:30 am

hmmm..." There will NEVER be a time when they have rights to pedophiles because they ruin other peoples' (children and teens) lives."

True statement in the ideal, but this country is far from ideal.
Guess you never heard of Graham James?
His crimes destroyed many left one at least DEAD, his sentence?
Well it feeds folks like me, to educate folks as you.
Google that predating monster and tell me no special considerations were granted?
He is just one, there are many.
Oh yeah...since the "gender wars"? Ol' Josey decided to use whatever bathroom is next open. Ladies I'm just trying to get with the times and be all inclusive, so please spare me the fem' hysteria when I stand to pee in the gender free bathrooms
and "remember" the crusade...nnnnKay?

Up 17 Down 24

Josey Wales on May 17, 2015 at 9:10 am

Hey Groucho..."If we as Canadians are all the same and we share the same rights and freedoms, why do we need all these amendments and alterations to the human rights laws?"

...and Brian...you make valid points. Please keep doing so despite the zealots attacking you when they return from their walk to the cottage to eat grasses and use their stone tools to fix the place up.

That...is a GREAT question!
One that will never get an answer is these post Trudutopian times.
My opinion? Says things as this are a direct result of the PC Crusade and fringe worship. There has been a classifying of Canada's people since 1982 and one need not look too far to see the epic...EPIC mess it is making.

Those who read my comments know where I stand on the PC Crusade and the asinine nature of its growth. So no point in droning on, hope ya understand.
In todays socially engineered Canada is an empire imploding fed well and enabled by the PC Crusade and its minions.
Zealots are well represented in the left's fringe cause, and the mere mention of disagreement will result in vilification and name calling by said zealots...an age old tactic.
In short the "tolerance and inclusion crowds? Are often THE most intolerant of those whom do not share the love of the "crusade" the same way.
Wonder when Trans parking will show up in town?
When it does arrive, and we park in "those" spots?
Will it result in a huge fine, a trip to the YHRT to fend off hate charges?

Yes a ridiculous example indeed, but hopefully the point was not lost?
Give Lois's team the keys...and the stupid we deal with will most certainly reach levels not seen in awhile.

When is heterosexual pride day? Certain there are a few couples who wish to dry hump each other on a grand decorated float in town dressed like the village people.
That Brian...is stirring the pot, word on the street is...I'm kinda good at it.

Up 24 Down 14

Likethewater on May 16, 2015 at 8:50 pm

@brian How is Chase opening up the door for pedophiles? Pedophiles are people who take advantage of other people (children, teens) who have no control over the situation. There will NEVER be a time when they have rights to pedophiles because they ruin other peoples' (children and teens) lives. Chase will never hurt anybody....he's speaking out for a community that needs to be recognized. There's more trans people out there than you care to realize.....

Up 18 Down 10

julia on May 16, 2015 at 8:09 pm

This 'news journal' seems biased. This is the third attempt to post my agreement with Brian and d' north.

Up 19 Down 31

Lowell on May 16, 2015 at 6:44 pm

Commenters reducing this to a case of "asking for special rights" ought to re-read the article and ask questions if you don't understand. No special rights are being asked for or granted - just explicit protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity! Which, by the way, isn't the same as sexual orientation if it isn't obvious

Up 29 Down 5

j Elliott on May 16, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Brian and Groucho D'North-was going make the same PR similar observations. It seems everyone demands explicit recognition as to their own existence & 'lifestyle' - beyond being fully recognised as a fellow human.

I don't understand this either. I venture to say all of us humans - who aren't politicians - have brunted so many challenges. Tough ones, hard ones, life loss ones etc., yet going to any government for relief of any kind is the bottom of the barrel to do.

And now along with transgender - comes 'transverse'... Makes no sense. To those of you who are what you are or about to become - don't you consider yourself human?

You aren't special above anyone else. You are you and already full members in good standing (until you do something stupid & get caught) - just like all of us 'outsiders' as you are pushing us to be.

Up 45 Down 37

Brian on May 16, 2015 at 7:15 am

I wish I could add something positive, but my wife and I don't see it the same as a Trans. I don't agree with allowing 6-7 different types of sexual identification. Their is 2 kinds. 1-Natural Reproducing couple, 2-Un-Reporductive paired couple. I don't support this type of equality, you're already an equal in the eyes of the Human rights as a human, now you need a special sub title that's your Trans.
Good on you people for stiring the pot. Hopefully you find a person with the same mental capacity to spend the rest of your life paired up with.
I don't hate or care to sympathize. I just don't agree to see this kind of activity in the courts. You by Law will open the door for pedophiles to use the "I was born this way" as the gays and every other group has insisted is why they're different. We as a society do not accept this from that group of mentally imbalanced persons. Why is it acceptable from the other non traditional sexual orientations?

Up 41 Down 18

Groucho d'North on May 15, 2015 at 5:54 pm

These cases baffle me. If we as Canadians are all the same and we share the same rights and freedoms, why do we need all these amendments and alterations to the human rights laws? I am probably wrong in this but I was under the impression that we are Canadians first and we all benefit from the same application of the law, regardless of our gender, ethnicity, economic status or geographic location. So then why are all these amendments being introduced for some particular Canadians with a unique aspect to their lives? Are the existing rights and freedoms inadequate where these people need some special considerations? If so, why? If not, why?
Our society is already being corrupted with the introduction of two-tiered legal system for native Canadians and the rest of us. How many other factions do we need to split our society into before everybody feels they are equal too? Or is it about something more than just being equal?

I’d really like the conversation to move from citizen rights to citizen responsibilities and how we can begin to enforce those.

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