August 2, 2021
The Women’s Human Rights Campaign responds to CTVnews.ca article“'Rights aren't a competition': Anti-trans hate is on the rise in Canada, activists and advocates say” by Brooke Taylor, published on July 30, 2021
Our organization is described in this article as an “international anti-trans organization”. As members of the Women’s Human Rights Campaign, we would like to respond to this charge as well as to others made by Brooke Taylor and the trans rights activists she interviewed for her piece. It is true that WHRC is an organization and it is true that it is international. Anyone can read (and sign, if they wish) our Declaration here: https://www.womensdeclaration.com/en/. Almost 20,000 individuals from 138 countries have done so, including 361 organizational signatories (list available here https://www.womensdeclaration.com/en/#supporting-orgs).
It is not true that we are “anti-trans”. What we are opposed to is the substitution of “gender identity” for “sex” in policy and legislation. This substitution does undermine the rights of women and girls. Ms. Taylor’s article is correct in saying that there is “no competition” here: women and girls are simply defeated when their rights are trampled by men identifying as women. Ms. Taylor asserts that we defend “not allowing them to access shelters based on their gender for unfounded fear that they will prey on women and girls using these spaces”. These fears are not unfounded.
Trans-identified male prisoners who are housed in women’s prisons across Canada have committed rape, sexual harassment and assault, and many of these prisoners are violent offenders, including murderers and sex offenders, even of children. Women’s prison advocate Heather Mason put together a twitter thread of some of the violent male offenders who are in women’s prisons in Canada: https://twitter.com/mason134211f/status/1307373520876449792?lang=en
In 2018, Kristi Hannah was kicked out of a women’s shelter in Toronto for complaining about the behaviour of a trans-identified male in the house. https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/kristi-hanna-human-rights-complaint-transgender-woman-toronto-shelter The same thing happened in the Okanagan https://globalnews.ca/news/3300518/concerns-over-transgender-client-at-okanagan-shelter/.
The examples provided in the links below can be multiplied many times over:
Ms. Taylor goes on to say that “it is well documented in Canada that men who are cisgender, a person whose identity and gender align with that which they were assigned at birth, most often perpetrate violence against women.”. What she does not add is that it is also well documented that men identifying as women have exactly the same rate of criminality and predation as do all men:
Ms. Taylor cites the findings of Sebastian Roback to the effect that “The Canadian Anti-Hate Network is tracking anti-trans hate and TERF groups in the country, and one thing that’s come out of their work, is that despite labelling themselves as feminists, these groups often collaborate with conservative and far-right groups, and many of these groups are out of Vancouver.”. We would like to see the study upon which this assertion is based. How is Mr. Roback defining “anti-trans groups”? As we have already shown, this descriptor is not accurate regarding WHRC. What groups are on his list of “anti-trans groups”?
Roback is also, apparently, tracking “TERF groups”. The acronym “TERF” is used throughout the article. It is a term of abuse directed at feminist women who object to gender identity ideology. It is associated with extremely violent, misogynist rhetoric (terfisaslur.com). We are appalled to learn that it is being employed as a category of research analysis by an entity that receives generous federal funding (https://www.cawsbar.ca/post/our-statement-regarding-recent-defamatory-accusations).
We are glad that Ms. Taylor raised the issue of recent changes to the Canadian census when she wrote that “the 2021 census included a new gender question and the data collected will be available next spring”. The new census did not just “include” such a question, which would of course generate important and interesting data about the growing number of Canadians for whom gender identity is spiritually meaningful. Instead, it replaced data gathering on sex and instead asked Canadians with which gender they “identify”. This violates not just the rights of women and girls, but, by obliging every Canadian to affirm for themselves a gender identity of some sort, also violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Gender identity ideology involves questions of spiritual belief about an inner gender essence. While in Canada we respect others’ spiritual beliefs we cannot be compelled by the federal government to adopt or to participate in the spiritual beliefs held by fellow citizens.
Taylor quotes Mr. Roback as saying, ““The version of science that they're advocating for is dating back in the 1970s,” he said. “That biology class in their first year of high school we were taught that you have X chromosomes and Y chromosomes. They're stuck on that very sex essential perspective, and to them anything that's new information has been tainted by what they call ‘gender ideology.’” If Mr. Roback is aware of “new information” about additional sex chromosomes discovered since the 1970s, we urge him to share it with the scientific community and, in time, the rest of us. In the meantime, the fact remains that there are two sexes and data gathering and policy-making must stay grounded in that reality.
We are additionally glad Ms. Taylor raised the issue of Bill C-6. In her article, she says a submission prepared by a WHRC – Canada provincial chapter critical of the bill stated “Bill C-6 will allow healthy bodies to be irrevocably damaged under false claims of a gender identity that has no basis in science.” At no point in the submission do they offer any evidence to their claims.” This is patently false, as anyone who follows the link (not originally provided, but now available in Ms. Taylor’s article) and goes to the well-footnoted submission can see. The submission in question provides ample documentation of the very serious harms of pediatric transition.
Finally, Ms. Taylor includes a quote in her article that belies her headline, again from the Canadian Anti-Hate Network’s Mr. Roback:
“Roback believes that these groups are becoming more desperate, a sign that they are losing the fight. “The more aggressive they get, it’s also a sign that they’re losing,” he said.”
If there is no conflict with the rights of women and girls inherent to trans activism, to what “fight” and to what “losers” could he possibly be referring?
This article fell conspicuously short of both CTV's own editorial guidelines and the eight indicators set out by the Trust Project, of which CTV is a member. It is CTV’s stated ethics policy that "CTV News is committed to producing journalism that is accurate, fair and complete. Our journalists act with honesty, transparency, and independence, including from conflicts of interest.”
This article is neither accurate, nor fair nor complete. The author has made many unfounded claims of WHRC ‘hate’ without providing evidence, including the extremely serious and utterly baseless accusation that women who oppose gender identity ideology are responsible for ‘violence’ against trans-identified people. A cursory look at crime statistics would disprove this and show that men are responsible for violence against trans-identified people. Ms. Taylor could have made an attempt at balance and fairness by contacting WHRC or any other women’s group but she did not do so, rendering this article not news but propaganda. By publishing this, CTV has failed to uphold its own principles.
We ask that CTV either remove the article entirely or to correct it. We would be happy to go through it with CTV’s editorial team, point by point, to ensure all inaccuracies are corrected. Reputable news organizations should provide a right-to-reply to individuals or groups that have been unfairly maligned and we expect CTV to provide one to WHRC. As its own standards state, CTV’s credibility as a news organization depends on providing ‘accurate and balanced’ reporting. It is CTV’s mandate to ‘uphold journalistic integrity and independence under all circumstances and at all times, without exception’. We look forward to working with CTV in the future as it strives to provide evidence-based, accurate and fair reporting of issues relating to women and gender ideology by ensuring that groups campaigning for women’s rights are always represented.
-Kathleen Lowrey, Raine McLeod, and Charlotte Garrett (Canada) and Kath Aiken (UK) for the Women’s Human Rights Campaign
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