Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to promote equality for the transgender community could soon result in Fallon Aubee being moved to a women’s prison, CBC News reports. If so, he will be the first transgender person in Canada serving time to be transferred in a federal prison, since penitentiary selection is based on “gender identity” and not the person’s sex at birth.
Canada’s penal system is now operating with an ad hoc policy for transgender inmates that was forced upon them when Trudeau was at a town hall meeting in Kingston, Ontario and he decided to make transgender prison rights a social policy issue for his Liberal government. Now Correctional Services Canada (CSC) has to decide on an individual basis if transgender prisoners should be placed in an institution on the basis of their sexual organs or on the basis of what gender they assume.
CSC is conducting a broader review of all its transgender policies to ensure they comply with human rights legislation.
“The Correctional Service of Canada is committed to ensuring that inmates who identify as transgender are given the same protection, dignity and treatment as others,” said spokeswoman Lori Halpern.
Aubee is serving a life sentence at B.C.’s Mission Institution and has applied to be moved to a women’s facility because of Trudeau’s blanket approval of transgender issues.
“It’s an opportunity to make some history, I suppose, but it’s more so other transgenders can have their needs met and that’s my goal,” Aubee told CBC News in a telephone interview. “I will be the first one in Canada who goes from a prison for men to a prison for women.”
Aubee was named Jean-Paul at birth and is serving time for first degree murder. He was first incarcerated in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, where he was locked up in solitary for six months after telling the prison authorities that he was actually female. Aubee described the experience as feeling like a “junkyard dog.”
Aubee said he endured insults and name-calling over the years and claims to have been threatened with with being killed if he didn’t commit suicide.
“It’s horrifying to be told to go kill yourself because you’re different,” he said.
In 2016, Ontario was the first province in Canada to allow convicted criminals to serve their time in an institution that reflects their “gender identity” and to be called by their chosen names. The provincial government proudly called their initiative “the most progressive policy on the treatment of trans inmates in North America.”
It is not known exactly how many offenders this policy affects.
British Columbia was the second province to change its penal policy.
Aubee plans to have sexual reassignment surgery eventually, but is hoping for a decision on transfer in coming weeks. He is grateful the prime minister did the “proper and pro-active thing” by pushing for human rights for transgender Canadians, even those who are incarcerated.