A man who questioned the gender of a 9-year-old girl during an athletic event in British Columbia has sparked outrage in Canada after one of the girl’s mothers said the man wrongly insisted his daughter was a male or transgender and asked for proof that he was female.
Heidi Starr said her daughter was participating in a shot put competition in Kelowna, British Columbia, last week when Josef Tesar, the grandfather of another student, suddenly insisted that her daughter was a boy or transgender and that the competition should be disqualified.
“My daughter is a girl, she was born a girl and uses her pronouns. She has a pixie cut,” Ms. Starr said on the phone.
Mr Tesar asked her to provide a certificate proving his daughter was born a girl and refused pleas to leave the event, he said, adding that ‘his wife was shouting that advocates for trans children are groomers and genital mutilators « .
Mr Tesar denied verbally approaching Ms Starr or her daughter, recounting castanets, a local online news website, who was watching her granddaughter compete when she noticed another child, who she thought was a boy, in the competition. You said you then approached an official to ask if the event was mixed.
« I never yelled at the girl, » she told Castanet. « I went to the officer privately and asked just one question if it’s a mixed competition, » she said.
In 2017, the Canadian parliament introduced federal protections for transgender and non-binary citizens by amending Canadian human rights law include « gender identity » or « gender expression » in a list of identifiable groups protected from discrimination.
But some human rights advocates argue that debate in the United States and legislation against transgender people are also fueling transphobia in Canada.
traversesociology professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, who has written a book about transgender children and who has a name, said the incident reflects how transphobia in the United States, fueled by, among other things, laws banning women transgender girls, and women who competed in women’s and girls’ sports, had increasingly crossed the border into Canada.
“Despite Canada’s self-aggrandizing tendencies about being liberal and progressive, transphobia is something trans people experience on a regular basis in Canada,” they said. “If someone doesn’t seem consistent with stereotypes, see this gender check. It’s awful that they do this to a child, » they added.
The episode fueled anger on social media and an outpouring of support for the girl, including from the premier of British Columbia, David Eby, who railed against transphobia.
« This is terrible. This kind of hate is not acceptable or welcome in British Columbia. We keep calling transphobia when we see it, » she said he wrote on Twitter. “Hate hurts everyone. And we stand by this girl and all those who are picked on for just being themselves.
Ms Starr said her daughter had been deeply shaken by what she termed the verbal assault against her.
“My daughter was physically shaking so hard, she sobbed. She has never been exposed to queer or trans hatred before. She rocked our entire family. She is shocking. Who does this to a child?
He added, « Hopefully other people now call out all the hate. »