A family in Ontario, Canada recently filed a human rights complaint against a school on behalf of their 6-year-old daughter, whom they claim was discriminated against based on her gender and gender identity. The family claims that their daughter — referred to simply as “N” — was subject to a lesson plan that made her doubt her gender identity.
The Post Millennial reports that the controversial case involves Jason and Pamela Buffone, who claim that their daughter experienced the discrimination at Devonshire Community Public School in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board network. According to the Buffones, N was shown YouTube videos with statements that claim “some people aren’t boys or girls,” and thus might not have a gender. In addition, N told her parents that her teacher taught the children that “there is no such thing as girls and boys” and “girls are not real and boys are not real.”
The Buffones claim that after about two months of the lessons, their daughter began to ask them why her gender identity as a girl was “not real,” and asked to “go to a doctor” about her identity. They claim that they were disturbed by their daughter’s confusion and discontent about her gender. Although the Buffones claim they met with the teacher in question, the school principal, the superintendent of the school board and the curriculum superintendent, they were reportedly stonewalled.
Eventually, the Buffones moved their daughter to another school and filed a human rights complaint against Devonshire with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The complaint claims that the school “subjected N to ongoing discrimination on the basis of gender and gender identity, by a series of lessons that denied the existence of the female gender and biological sex and undermined the value of identifying as a female.”
The parents also accused the principal and school board of perpetuating and reinforcing “the discrimination that N experienced in her Grade One classroom.”
Approaching issues of gender identity has become a fairly controversial issue in many circles. As The Inquisitr reported, a recent survey by Verizon Media claims that two-thirds of LGBTQ individuals remain in the closet at work, suggesting that discrimination against members of this group must be addressed. But in the case of the Buffones, their experience seems to suggest that attempts to create LGBTQ understanding and reduce such discrimination was handled poorly and ended up causing a new form of harm.
As of now, the school board claims that while the Buffones’ account of N’s experience is true, it is irrelevant. This “letter of the law” approach means that they don’t deny that N was adversely psychologically affected by their classroom, but claim the experience is not legal grounds for a human rights complaint.