Scroll To Top

Transgender woman
loses discrimination appeal

Transgender woman
loses discrimination appeal

Appellate court rules that rejected transgender volunteer cannot claim discrimination

A transgender woman in Vancouver, Canada, who was expelled as a volunteer for the Vancouver Rape Relief Society has lost her appeal of a decision overturning her human rights award, the National Post reports. Kimberly Nixon said she now plans to take her case to Canada's highest court.

The British Columbia court of appeal on Wednesday found that while the society had discriminated against her, it was shielded from being held accountable under the province's Human Rights Code. Nixon, 48, told the Post she was "disappointed" but added she is "completely resolved" to see the case to its full conclusion and has always known it would end up in the supreme court of Canada. "We are both disappointed and heartened," said Nixon's attorney, Barbara Findlay. "The court of appeal decided that Rape Relief did indeed discriminate against Kimberly Nixon. That was something that the court below had said otherwise. From our point of view the battle is half won and we're on our way to the supreme court."

Suzanne Jay of Vancouver Rape Relief said she had not read the full appeals court decision but was pleased nonetheless. "The decision of the appeal court is a great victory," she told the Post. "It's confirmed our right to determine our membership."

In August 1995, Nixon was denied the chance to train and serve as a volunteer peer counselor for the nonprofit organization. They rejected her after discovering she had been born a man but in 1990 had undergone sex-reassignment surgery. Nixon filed a human-rights complaint, saying she'd been devastated and humiliated by the decision, and a British Columbia human rights tribunal found that she had been discriminated against, awarding her $7,500 in damages, at the time the highest amount ever awarded in such a case.

The society appealed, and British Columbia supreme court justice Robert Edwards found Nixon had not been discriminated against, setting aside the award. Nixon then appealed the ruling, but a three-member panel of the appeals court ruled that the society was protected in its discrimination by the so-called group-rights section of the code. (

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff