Gender identity and gender expression is a controversial topic around the world. In some countries, it is supported by federal and/or regional laws, while in others it is not. A transgender teacher in Canada has recently gone viral for how she is expressing their chosen gender identity in the classroom. Conservative groups all over North America and around the world are in outrage.
Transgender Teacher Under Fire On Social Media For How She Expresses Her Gender Identity In The Classroom
A transgender teacher at a high school in Ontario, Canada, has recently gone viral online after students posted photos and videos of her appearance at school. In the photos, the teacher can be seen wearing very large massive prosthetic breasts while teaching students. It’s not just the size of her breasts that are making headlines, however, but also the way in which she wears them. She has form-fitting tops stretched over top with the outline of the nipples prominently showing through the fabric. (1)
The teacher in question is Kayla Lemieux, a manufacturing technology teacher at Oakville Trafalgar High School in Oakville, Ontario, just outside of Toronto. Lemieux began her transition to female last year. In Canada, both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and provincial laws such as the Ontario Human Rights Code provide legal protection for people to express their chosen identity in whichever way they choose. This hasn’t prevented people both in Canada and around the world from expressing their emotions and opinions about the teacher’s appearance choices. (2)
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The High School’s Response
The school has responded in defense of the transgender teacher. They released a statement reminding people that it is her right as a resident of Canada and Ontario to express her gender identity in whatever way she chooses. It also appears as though the photos and videos were both taken and posted online without Lemieux’s knowledge or consent. The school released the following statement to students and parents:
Dear Oakville Trafalgar High School Families,
We are aware of discussion on social media and in the media regarding Oakville Trafalgar High School. We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate to our community that we are committed to establishing and maintaining a safe, caring, inclusive, equitable, and welcoming learning and working environment for all students and staff.
As a school within the Halton District School Board (HDSB), Oakville Trafalgar High School recognizes the rights of students, staff, parents/guardians and community members to equitable treatment without discrimination based upon gender identity and gender expression. Gender identity and gender expression are protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
We strive to promote a positive learning environment in schools consistent with the values of the HDSB and to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all students, staff and the community, regardless of race, age, ability, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, socioeconomic circumstances or body type/size. (3)
The school is preparing for extra security for Lemieux in the coming weeks. They are aware that there will likely be protests outside of the school, as well as anti-protests in support of Lemieux and her gender expression.
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The Internet’s Response
The responses on Twitter have ranged from finding it funny to complete disgust and outrage. There are those, particularly those who live in the region, who are planning protests to express their concern over the students’ wellbeing. Still, there are others who think people are making a big deal of something that, they say, even the students don’t seem to care much about. (4)