Toby’s Law is a law enacted by the Ontario Legislature in 2012 to amend the Human Rights Code to ban discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. The Ontario Human Rights Commission, which administers the Human Rights Code and is a strong supporter of over broad gender identity legislation, defines “gender identity” as:
those characteristics that are linked to an individual’s intrinsic sense of self that is based on attributes reflected in the person’s psychological, behavioural and/or cognitive state. Gender identity may also refer to one’s intrinsic sense of manhood or womanhood. It is fundamentally different from, and not determinative of, sexual orientation.
There is no requirement in this definition that “gender identity” requires a medical diagnosis, or even medical intervention.
Barbara Hall, the head of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, is a strong champion of this law, lambasting anyone who raises questions about the open-ended nature of this law as hateful. She sees sex-segregated spaces as antiquated and harmful. In a letter to the Toronto Star in January 2014, she wrote:
We also see continued calls to segregate transgender people into separate bathroom and changing spaces, for the good of the larger majority. This is a practice based on fear and stereotypes, and is exactly opposite the vision of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, which is to build an Ontario based on inclusion, where everyone feels a part of and is able to contribute to the community.
Meet Christopher Hambrook.
Calling himself “Jessica,” Hambrook demanded access to two women’s shelters in Toronto. This is his right under the law Hall advocates. The shelters would have been subjected to a discrimination complaint had they denied him access, or even if they had asked him for medical proof of his gender identity.
In February 2012, a woman living at the shelter went to bed wearing tights, a bathing suit and a lightweight shirt in an attempt to cover herself. She awoke to find Hambrook assaulting her.
“Her tights had been pulled down past her bottom and her bathing suit had been pulled to the side,” court documents state. “She yelled at the accused, demanding to know what he was doing. He simply covered his face with his hands, said ‘Oops!’ and started giggling.”
In a second incident, he stalked a deaf and homeless woman living in the shelter and her on a landing.
“The accused grabbed the complainant’s hand and forcibly placed it on his crotch area while his penis was erect,” court heard.
In prosecuting Hambrook for sexual assault, Crown attorney Danielle Carbonneau told court of the devastating consequences of these attacks.
“Mr. Hambrook’s conduct inflicted severe psychological damage on both victims,” she said. “(They) sought refuge at Toronto women’s shelters at difficult times in their lives. They thought that they would be safe there, but instead, they were further victimized by the accused.”
However, the Ontario law does not require a psychiatric diagnosis to be transgender. To be transgender, all a man has to do is say “I am a woman.”
Hambrook, under Toby’s Law, is transgender – because he said he was.
If elected officials actually want to safeguard Women while also accommodating the “rights” of Men to access women-only space, the least they can do is implement gender identity laws that require objective proof of “gender identity,” such as a medical diagnosis, as advocated in this 2011 letter to the United Nations.