Teacher, Dismissed from Catholic School After “Sex Change,” Files Human Rights Complaint

Mon Oct 5, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By Patrick B. Craine

EDMONTON, Alberta, October 5, 2009 ( - An Alberta substitute teacher, dismissed by a Catholic school board because she was undergoing a sex change, has filed a human rights complaint against the board, and is demanding to be reinstated.

Janet Buterman, 39, was told by the Greater St. Albert Catholic School Board in a letter last October that the procedures she was undergoing in an attempt to become a man were in conflict with the Catholic values espoused by the board.

"In discussions with the Archbishop of the Edmonton Diocese, the teaching of the Catholic Church is that persons cannot change their gender," wrote Steve Bayus, deputy superintendent of schools.  "One's gender is considered what God created us to be."

"Your gender change is not aligned with the teachings of the Church," he continued, "and would create confusion and complexity with students and parents as a model and witness to Catholic faith values."

Buterman, who taught social studies, German, and French to grade 7 to 12 students, filed the complaint last Thursday.  She contends that the board has discriminated against her based on her gender identity disorder.

"I do actually have a real medical condition," she told the Edmonton Sun.  "I really didn't know this sort of thing could happen anymore. ... It doesn't feel very good. If [sic] feels pretty horrifying."

"I don't think that someone's medical condition is really fodder for your employer," she told the Canadian Press.  "It should not be any of their business. I respect people's beliefs, I do. That doesn't mean they get to ignore the laws we have around equality."

The board's letter, however, does not indicate that her termination was due to such a psychological disorder.  Rather, Bayus indicated that the problem was with the disorder in connection with Buterman's decision to change her gender.

"The reason for removing you from the substitute teacher list follows a conversation we shared in which you indicated that you had been diagnosed with a gender identity medical condition and that you were undergoing physical gender changes from the female gender to the male gender," he wrote.

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from the school board by press time.  The Archdiocese of Edmonton told LSN that they have no comment on the issue.

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