A Canadian woman seeking help in an abuse shelter fled the facility after she was placed in a room for two nights with a man who says he’s a woman.
They were assigned to the double room by the managers of the Palmerston House, run by the Jean Tweed Center.
The National Post reported Kristi Hanna has filed a formal complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario after the Ontario Human Rights Legal Support Center warned that her description of the roommate as a “man” might be considered illegal discrimination.
Since fleeing the facility, she’s been sleeping on friends’ couches.
The two nights at the abuse shelter “were hell for me,” she said.
“It’s affecting everyone in the house. This can completely ruin your recovery, let alone your safety, let alone your life,” she told the Post.
The center is for women who are recovering addicts, and she claimed the staff “forced her” to share a small double room with a “pre-operative male-to-female transgender person.”
The report explained Hanna, 37, is a former paramedic who has been battling the after-effects of sexual abuse and addiction to alcohol and cocaine.
She said she supports the LGBTQ community but now is conflicted because of the government curbing her speech.
The Post said that in her formal complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Hanna alleges the shelter “admitted a male bodied transgender into the safety of my home, bedroom and safe spaces.”
The experience, she said, has caused her stress, anxiety, rape flashbacks, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep deprivation.
“We were all choked by our own anxiety, our crippling PTSD symptoms. You could cut the tension in the house,” she told the newspaper.
A spokeswoman for the center said managers are aware of the requirements under the Ontario Human Rights Code and are known for their work in providing care.
“With respect to accommodating trans women, we do not discriminate; nor do we impose modifications with respect to accommodation,” Hume said in a written statement to the National Post.
The report described the scenario: “Hanna said the woman is in her late 20s, has facial hair, chest hair, and wears large black combat boots that ‘trigger’ her with their thumping. She said at one communal dinner, the roommate talked about having had a wife in the past, and a pregnant fiancée, and was overheard talking about some unidentified women as ‘hot’ and expressing her preference for Latina women. Hanna said her mannerisms came across as ‘piggish’ and inappropriate.”
She said the staff told her, among other things, “Deal with it or leave.”
Renu Mandhane of the Ontario Human Rights Commission told the Post: “A trans person should have access to the shelter that matches their lived gender identity. However, this does not necessarily require that a cis and trans woman share the same bedroom. An appropriate balancing of the rights of both women may require that one of the women be provided with non-shared accommodation.”