London, Ontario Farmer’s Market Asks Trans Worker to Leave

by | September 25, 2011
filed under Can-Con, Feminism, LGBT

The management of London, Ontario’s Trail’s End Farmers Market is drawing bad press and facing a potential human rights complaint after they told a vendor she had to fire a transgender employee because “those people” aren’t part of their “family-friendly” atmosphere.

Via Queerty:

Karen Clarke, owner of True 2 You, which sells candles and aromatherapy oils, left her stall at the Dundas Street market on a recent Saturday afternoon with Dani Dominick, a trans woman and one of her best workers, in charge….“He said it made everyone uncomfortable and it just wasn’t right. This is a family place, a family market and this just isn’t right. I just kept insisting what happened that was wrong and he said you walk up to the person and they’re dressed like a woman and they’ve got big hands, a deep voice and tattoos and it’s just not right. It’s just not a family place he kept repeating that over and over again. And I kept trying to get from him what was wrong, what was so not right, what was it that people were complaining about and there was no details forthcoming that way. He called them ‘those people’ several times.”

Manager Ed Kikkert says he wasn’t being discriminatory, but his attempt at a defence to AM980 only dug him in deeper (You can listen to AM 980s full interviews with Dominick, Clarke, and Kikkert here).

“The issue was there was three men in that booth dressed up as women,” he said, “Why would I be discriminating? I’m not discriminating at all. I’m just asking which washroom would they use? How can you go into a men’s washroom dressed as a lady, how can you go into ladies washroom when you’re a man. That’s the difficulty I have. It’s not discriminating at all.” What is it with “these people” (by that I mean transphobic business owners and politicians) and their fixation on bathrooms?

Ok. Let’s take a look at the definition of “discriminate” and make a ruling on that. According to Merriam-Webster, to discriminate is to “to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit.” Clearly Kikkert did discriminate. His objection against Dominick was based on her identity as a trans person, not on an individual characteristic.

Right now Dominick and Clarke are the ones paying the price – both emotionally and financially – for Kikkert’s bigotry. Dominick is in no way a man dressed as a woman; she is a woman and has the right to use public women’s washrooms just like any cis-woman at the farmers market. This incident is exactly the kind of reason we need a law that will put trans people’s human rights protection on the books.


Photo via Flickr by Juicyverve

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  • josh

    If you read the Bible, Yes Jesus preached also to the low of the low, but never did he preach about acceptance of sin. God is loving but he also Hates sin and will never accept it as “normal”. Sin is sin. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10″Or do you not know that the unrightous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be decieved: Neither the sexualy immoral, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”Yes God preached to them but never would he “accept” their sin. He wanted them to turn from there sin and follow him. That is the only way to eternal life and true happiness. We are all sinners and in need of Gods forgiveness, which he gave to us by sending His Son Christ Jesus to die for all of us-This is available to all of us if we TURN away from our sins and follow him. This requires us giving up our sinful lifestyles. This means putting away sinful lusts and desires, not giving in to them. Why can’t Ed Kikkert have a right to ask the three Men to dress accordingly-When they are running a booth dressed as women and are trying to get everyone to accept there sexual agenda. We don’t have to accept there lifestyles as normal. I think Mr Kikkert had every right to ask them to dress accordingly to prevent causing people to feel uncomfortable? If they would have been dressed accordingly, and would have been there to sell there products, rather than there sexual agenda, I am sure there would never have been this issue.

    • Nazanin

      The issues is, Josh, that they are dressing accordingly to their identity. They are dressed as women when they are women. One of the ‘sins’ of Jeanne d’Arc was wearing pants. In this day, no one deserves to be scrutinized or discriminated against based on what they choose to wear.

  • Dressing a particular way in no way determines one’s sexual orientation. Just because these men were dressed as women, does not indiciate that they also like men, the only thing it indicates is that they like that particular kind of clothing.

  • jarrahpenguin

    @Josh – I was really close to deleting your post because I think it has no foundation in understanding of what it means to be transgender, or in basic respect for people different than what you see as “normal”.

    The people at the market were not men, they identify as women. Dressing in the clothing of the gender they identify with has absolutely nothing to do with pushing a “sexual agenda” – it is dressing to express their true identities. I heard absolutely no one at the market imply that they were attempting to proselytize, unlike you are attempting to do here.

    Being trans is not a lust or desire or choice – it’s a biological and psychological imperative. While not all trans people choose to express themselves similarly, each one has and deserves the right to express themselves through clothing choice in public just like any cis person.

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