Activist accused of misgendering political candidate stands his ground before human rights tribunal
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, December 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) ― A Christian activist is currently on trial before a so-called “Human Rights Tribunal” for having revealed that a “transgender” political candidate was born a biological male.
Bill Whatcott’s hearing began December 11 and will continue until December 14.
The complainant, a businessman named Morgane Oger who was born Ronan Oger, ran as the New Democrat Party (NDP) candidate for the Vancouver-False Creek riding in the province’s May 2017 elections. Oger alleges Whatcott distributed two flyers during the campaign that were discriminatory and exposed him to “hatred and contempt” under Section 7 of British Columbia’s Human Rights Code.
Apparently the first “transgendered” candidate to seek election as a member of B.C.’s legislative assembly, Oger lost by 560 votes.
Whatcott’s flyer, which asserts that Oger “is a biological male who has renamed himself ‘Morgane Oger’ after he embraced a transvestite lifestyle,” can be found here.
Initially, Whatcott reported from his hearing, stepping outside the courtroom to keep friends and fellow activists updated. The Tribunal ordered him to stop his Facebook updates after lunch-time complaints by Oger’s lawyer, Suzanna Quail.
Shortly before his trial began, Whatcott published a short film in which he explained what he hopes to accomplish.
“Hello, this is Bill Whatcott. I am now in front of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal,” he said. “I am on trial today for properly gendering an NDP political candidate who thinks he’s a woman but was indeed born a biological male.”
“I expect today will be acrimonious, unfortunately. It’s sad that this kind of tyranny, fascism and gender confusion can be imposed on tax-paying Canadians,” he continued.
“I do see it as my duty today to stand for the truth, to stand against coercion and trying to force us to use the pronouns that are fake, to call men ‘women,’ and to call women ‘men,’ so please pray for me. Please pray for those who are here supporting me.”
According to Whatcott’s own “Free North America” blog, his lawyer, Charles Lugosi, began the hearing by arguing that everyone must be free to criticize all aspects of a political candidate’s life for “a functioning democracy to work.”
Susanna Quail, representing Oger, held that Whatcott’s words could lead to violence and prevented Oger from participating in “political discourse.”
A lawyer from the West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) argued that people with non-standard “gender expression” need human rights protection. According to Whatcott, she rejected the notion that speaking “in a way that is grounded in reality” is a human right.
The LEAF lawyer also accused Whatcott of wanting to prevent Oger from participating in political life, which Whatcott says is untrue.
“She didn't understand (that I believe) Ronan could run for office just fine, but in a democracy (he) would have to deal with the fact I don't agree he is a woman,“ he wrote.
Both a lawyer for the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, which is intervening in the case in favor of Ogen, and a lawyer for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom (JCCF), an intervenor for Whatcott, stated that this case will set a national precedent. The JCCF lawyer said it would have implications for election freedom and freedom of speech.
At one point, the proceedings seemed to veer toward comedy when Quail’s objections to Whatcott’s lawyer “misgendering” Oger during cross-examination were followed by one Tribunal member, Norman Trerise, himself referring to Oger as “he.”
Trerise promptly apologized.
Nevertheless, the proceedings seem to have been rancorous.
“When my lawyer was cross-examining Mr. Oger about his subjective experiences, Oger's lawyer repeatedly objected to my lawyer's line of questioning and the Tribunal upheld all of her objections,” Whatcott reported.
“My lawyer found it hard to question, and while he tried to stay neutral with pronouns and mostly referred to Ronan as ‘The Complainant,’ a couple times he slipped up and called Ronan ‘he,’ thereby eliciting the wrath of all three Tribunal members,” he continued.
When Cousineau “berated” Lugosi for having “misgendered” Oger five times, Whatcott demanded that the tribunal stop bullying his lawyer and shouted, “The Emperor has no clothes; even Norman accidently called Roman what he is: a guy.”
In response, Trerise allegedly told Whatcott to shut up, and Juricevic allegedly warned Whatcott that if he had an “outburst” like that again, he would be removed from his own hearing and ordered to pay costs.