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Trans woman says she was harassed by TTC driver

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Trans woman says she was harassed by TTC driver

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Incident leads to questions about diversity training for frontline city staff
Bianca Charles says she broke down in tears recently when a streetcar driver shouted at her and called her a man. 

Charles, a trans woman, says she was on the King streetcar when the driver tried to get her attention in the most insulting way she could have imagined.

“He kept saying, 'Hey you! Man! Man!’” she says. "I kept walking because I look like a girl and I was dressed like a girl, with long hair, nails and lashes, so he must not be talking to me.”

Another man standing nearby turned to the driver: "You mean me?"


"The driver said, 'No, I'm talking about the man dressed in women's clothing,' referring to me," Charles says. "He just kept yelling at me, 'Excuse me sir?'

"He was trying to embarrass me. I just started crying. It was so hurtful. I felt sick."

Trans Lobby Group chair Susan Gapka says the driver’s alleged behaviour is in violation of the City of Toronto’s Human Rights and Anti-Harassment policy.

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross says he can’t comment on specifics because the TTC human rights department is investigating the incident.

Gapka thinks the problem may have something to do with the lack of queer-specific training for TTC drivers.

Ross says drivers are given general "sensitivity training.” That includes impressing upon them the importance of being “courteous and respectful” to all people, but the information is not specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, Ross says. "They are trained in the Ontario Human Rights Code: what is acceptable and not acceptable, common courtesy.

"We don't have anything to tell [staff] here's how to deal with transgender people . . . There is no component in the training curriculum dealing specifically with transgender people. I do not believe so.”

There is no citywide standard in Toronto for diversity training for frontline staff.

“Many trans people live in poverty and rely on transit to travel the city, so it’s very important that they are safe places for people,” Gapka says. “Staff has a responsibility to uphold human rights principles. The city has gender identity as a protected ground . . . Trans people have the right to ride transit and feel safe.”


At the Toronto Police Service (TPS), diversity training with a focus on lesbian and gay people has been evolving since the mid-1980s, says diversity management unit manager Andre Goh.

Things began to change after the 1981 Toronto bathhouse raids, in which more than 150 Toronto police descended on the city's gay bathhouses and arrested about 300 innocent men. Legal settlements demanded police step up their knowledge of gay issues, beginning with sensitivity training for officers.

Police training has moved from “a tokenistic approach” to a program with diverse perspectives woven throughout, Goh says. Now, gay and lesbian officers build the curriculum. In recent years police have focused on two main areas – trans issues and building relationships with allies.

Many new police recruits still struggle with transgender issues, he says. “That’s why we now spend a lot of time on trans [issues]. That means we spend time talking about language, pronouns, protocols, hypothetical situations.”

More recently, discrimination and abuse by police during the G20 as reported by queer activists highlighted gaps in the training.

When there are reports of homophobia or transphobia from officers, Goh says, complaints are taken very seriously. “When people feel threatened, officers must put themselves in the shoes of the general public.”

At Toronto Public Health, access and equity manager Ruby Lam says frontline staff receive two full days of anti-oppression training.


“We talk about all the 'isms,' including homophobia and heterosexism.”

The training extends beyond the Toronto Public Health offices. “The training is offered to any health worker looking to better serve the LGBT community.” That could be a school nurse making a presentation to a school’s gay-straight alliance, a nurse from the sexual health clinic with a question on trans issues, or a staff member in a vaccination clinic who wants to be sure they are asking the right questions.

An October workshop and presentation focused on trans health. Lam says it was a chance for staff to get comfortable with seeing a trans person’s body, in the hope of preventing future disrespectful moments with patients.

“One thing I saw as hugely important was when he actually showed the staff images of nude trans bodies . . . If you have a moment where your jaw drops, have that moment then instead of in front of a trans person,” she says. “See the images now and get over the shock before meeting clients or patients. Because that’s not respectful to them.”

Lam says public-health staff are taught that people can self-identify in any way they want. “We hope to capture their gender identity, to be respectful of it, and not do anything that questions or shames them.

“Our ongoing goal is to strengthen our practice, so it’s respectful and inclusive of all different people,” she says.
 
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Comments

Piss off
From the mission statement of PTP

'Gay and lesbian people'
We have chosen as our public lesbians and gay men,
but we bear in mind all those who challenge gender
or bend the borders of desire. So, not up to staff to deviate from that mission, a product of a collective and not an editorial fetish, which is focused on sex and sexuality, not gender identity or transgenderism, though those issues may be addressed from time to time. And they are. I'd say you've done quite well considering you aren't the primary constituency of the press. And as far as I know, the women's movement isn't doing anything about men's shorter life spans. Why don't you ask them about that? I'd love to hear the answer. What a crowd of whiners you've become. I no longer think you are cool. You just complain like a bunch of little bitches. Ta ta.
Trans movement needs to cut the cord
To "The Community" and others - PTP's mission is not an editorial decision made by Ken and Matt, it is a historical product of the board and the mission goes back in some forms or another to the 1960s/1970s. They can't autocratically change it to add in the flavour of the month. And here's a question: why don't you create your own publication/movement instead of piggybacking on ours and complaining constantly about how it doesn't cater to you (no, it doesn't, and it shouldn't and I for one am sick of hearing about you in a gay and lesbian paper, since you seem to have nothing but disappointment in this one, which wasn't created to cater to you in the first place? It makes as much sense as complaining that the NAACP isn't advocating for gay people. Gay people don't have gender identity issues, they have issues of sexual orientation. These are thematically similar but distinct movements and even trans people disagree from one to the next what they want and what they're about. It's a nightmare I want no part of defining or including, because whatever we do, it will be wrong. They don't do animal rights or publish recipes either. Stop kvetching, convene a meeting of your own, and do something. We'll cheer you on, but you have to do this for yourself and not expect others to do it for you. You've made it quite clear that we're not up to the task. So be it - off you go. All the best!
Interesting
What's interesting here is that the TTC has, or at least I know they used to have, a few women born with transsexualism (that transitioned on the job) working for them.

What's sad is that people like Y.T. have the ability to post and spout their idiocy. Though I guess by others seeing such idiocy they will better understand that it important to support through education and protections people born with transsexualism, as well as those that live under the transgender umbrella.

Oh and Y.T, condom or not I wouldn't have you, even in my night mare. So you can use your condom while you play with yourself. Educate yourself and try practicing what you what for yourself from others.
Public transit rage
The problem with packing human beings like sardines into closed spaces like buses, street cars and subways is that people become angry and belligerent - especially if the transit service is running late. This causes transit drivers to also become angry and belligerent. While on public transit, I think people display more rage than they would at home or at work. So, it's not surprising to learn that a group of lesbians allegedly viciously attacked a gay man this week at a subway station in Boston. See http://www.advocate.com/Crime/Lesbians_Charged_in_Alleged_Hate_Crime_Against_Gay_Man/
Hey Your's Truly
You are a bigot. Get over yourself.
"deal"
TC spokesperson Brad Ross said "We don't have anything to tell [staff] here's how to deal with transgender people" You tell them to treat people likePEOPLE. What is there to deal with? Do you have staff guidelines on how to deal with black people or fat people or female people or Jewish people or anything that doesn't fit in their narrow comfort zones? People are people, you asshole. You shouldn't have to train your staff which ones to respect and which ones to trash talk to and if you do - they have no buisness working ina job that requires constant interation with a wide slice of society in a large city like Toronto.
corrected version of part 1 Open your eyes darling
Here it is folks, the fully corrected gremlin-free version of part 1!

Feel free to take pot shots because I’m quite ready for a real gang-bang,
one at a time or all at once, but please be ready to be topped by Yours Truly!

(However I promise to use condoms when I do it to you!)


Open your eyes darling….. (part 1)
to James:- Please open your eyes darling and see what is really there. One of the problems in this field is well-meaning but quite ignorant and apparently dyslexic people like yourself who see a pathetic quirky badly dressed tranny and decide to feel sorry for them and then utter the word when somebody with a bit more knowledge of this field begs to differ with your preferred view of things. Read my first comment carefully because there is nothing venomous about it and it definitely could not originate from Giorgio the Great, King of Pizzastan who knows exactly zip about these issues. (Btw it is “Giorgio” and not “Georgio” so please show some sensitivity to all those highly closeted Italian GLB people in our midst and it might also help if you could learn to spell English properly as well.) It simply describes realities which most GLB people regularly observe and which often offend many of us but we have been keeping our opinions to ourselves for much too long in the name of “inclusion” when such inclusion and tolerance of trannies is not really justified. My missive above is simply a response to the homophobic venom issuing from and the big con job that a bunch of heterosexual crossdressers who have stolen the word “transsexual” to describe themselves have done on the legitimate GLB community in attracting undeserved sympathy for themselves from GLB people while responding with considerable homophobic venom of their own.
Correction to part 1 Open your eyes darling…..
Sorry, but I seem to have been sabotaged by a possible tranny gremlin
hiding in Xtra’s computer system.

The correct version of Part s/b as follows:

Open your eyes darling….. (part 1)
to James:- Please open your eyes darling and see what is really there. One of the problems in this field is well-meaning but quite ignorant and apparently dyslexic people like yourself who see a pathetic quirky badly dressed tranny and decide to feel sorry for them and then utter the word
"VENOM" when somebody with a bit more knowledge of this field begs to differ with your preferred view of things. Read my first comment carefully because there is nothing venomous about it and it definitely could not originate from Giorgio the Great, King of Pizzastan who knows exactly zip about these issues.
(Btw it is "GIORGIO" and not "GEORGIO" and not so please show some sensitivity to all those highly closeted Italian GLB people in our midst and it might also help if you could learn to spell English properly as well.)
Open your eyes darling….. (part 3)
Many of these trannies lack any sense of self-responsibility and seem to go out of their way to make unnecessary problems for themselves
and then expect the GLB community to feel sorry for them and use our scarce political capital to help them deal with problems purely of their own making.

Many GLB people are often quite gender-variant by nature and they often struggle painfully to survive in the straight world and try to avoid unnecessary trouble by compartmentalizing their lives into straight and gay compartments
and try to be socially acceptable.

Many trannies come from completely heterosexual non-gender-variant backgrounds and go out of their way to be visibly quirky and thereby attract unnecessary trouble to themselves but we who have no choice in being different
are expected to feel sorry for them while they never expend an iota of sympathy for us and often direct the most virulent homophobia at us.

Most trannies are actually nothing more than very delusional heterosexual male crossdressers and these can be very homophobic
because a straight guy in a dress can be just as homophobic as a straight guy in pants.

The GLB community must deal with much more serious problems
such as criminalization of HIV exposure and severe limitations on access to fertility treatments intended to frustrate the enjoyment of the right to same-sex marriage and so on and it can no longer afford to fritter away its scarce political capital and emotional energy on a tiny group of very self-centered
and self-entitled and irresponsible and often very quirky and homophobic trannies.

Trannies never fail to wear out their welcome
and they have even reached the point of wearing out the overly generous welcome which the GLB community has given them for far too many years.
Open your eyes darling….. (part 2)
Trannies have a very strong propensity for biting the many kind hands that keep feeding them and paying us all back with endless grief and unpleasantness.

Perhaps it is really time to just cut them loose and let them fend for themselves because they really do not belong in the GLB community.

If you would like to see examples of some real homophobic tranny venom
then search the term “Jessica Freedman” on the Internet
and also search “Gareth Kirkby” on Xtra to see what he has to say about all of this.

Better still perhaps you should visit the resident bully who presides over the biweekly Trans Support Group on Friday nights at 519 and then tell us all about your experiences because it will really open your eyes.

You might also check out the Monday night weekly Meal Trans program at 519
and feel all that toxic negative energy and hostility in the room directed at you
before you leave prematurely for your own safety.

Sometimes they even post signs to request the participants not to beat each other up.

You never see signs like that at any GLB event since GLB people are distinctly non-violent but trannies have a distinct propensity for unladylike behaviour
and people like you just turn and look the other way and pretend it is not so.

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