Mom of Transgender Kid Barred Entry at Canadian Christian Camp Decries Human Rights Case Dismissal

Mom of Transgender Kid Barred Entry at Canadian Christian Camp Decries Human Rights Case Dismissal

Jan Gootjes has first-hand knowledge about the struggles transgender kids have to deal with, even on the simplest matters like entering a kids' camp.

It was because her kid belongs to the LGBTQ, and he fell victim to gender discrimination from an institution that she hoped would welcome her child with open arms.

But, the exact opposite happened.

Christian Camp's Denial of Entry

Caton's Island is a Christian summer camp that accommodates kids who want to engage in different activities.

CBC News reported that in 2020, Jan's son "Luke" requested her mother to let him spend the summer on Caton's Island with his male friends.

Jan wanted to ensure that the camp had a friendly policy for transgender guests and asked the Christian camp if they would let her kid stay in a cabin with Luke's male friends.

The New Brunswick mother decided to be honest with the camp management about her son's gender identity, thinking her request would be granted.

The camp responded to her message more than a week later, informing her they can't accommodate Luke 'with the gender he identified with.'

Perplexed, Jan asked the camp via Messenger for dialogue since she could not think of a logical reason for the denial other than Luke's transgender identification.

The supposed dialogue did not happen outright as Jan told Caton's Island that her son and his friends decided to call off their plan to spend the summer in the camp.

Jan told CBS that the friends made the call given the management's decision to deny Luke entry and to show him their support.

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In her subsequent messages with the camp via Messenger, Jan asked the latter to improve their policy to be "more inclusive." She then agreed to discuss the matter with the camp's management.

The camp management requested Jan to message them back during the fall to finalize the schedule for the talk. 

The news report said that Caton's Island claimed Jan failed to call them when they learned about the latter's human rights complaint against them.

But Jan provided CBS News with evidence showing that the camp has blocked Jan on Messenger, which prevented her from contacting them in the fall of 2020.

Details of the Human Rights Complaint

The CBC News article revealed that Jan decided to issue a human rights complaint against Caton's Island when Luke told her about the emotional and psychological toll of the camp's denial of entry.

The report said that Jan filed the complaint in February last year before the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.

New Brunswick's Human Rights Act offers residents protection against discriminatory acts based on gender identity and other grounds.

Jan's complaint alleged that Caton's Island, despite being a private entity run by the Wesleyan Church, violated Luke's right against gender identity discrimination.

The news outlet bared that despite attempts to reach an agreement through mediation, the talks between the complainants and Caton's Island failed.

While Jan and Luke were hopeful that the commission would favor them, the report revealed that the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission eventually dismissed their complaint.

Jan appealed the dismissal, but the commission also dismissed the appeal with finality, the report said.

Mother Decries Dismissal of Human Rights Complaint

Jan lamented that the double dismissal only occurred because of a technicality.

She explained that the commission pointed to their failure to push through with their application for Luke's entry into the camp. 

With it, the commission reportedly argued that their complaint is moot as there is an absence of denial of a formal request for accommodation based on Luke's gender identity.

Despite the setback, Jan told CBC News she is happy since Luke shows signs of happiness after the dismissal of their complaint.

Jan explained that she pushed through with filing the complaint so Luke could feel that her mother was with him.

"I just wanted [Luke] to know that we would fight for him," CBC News quoted Jan saying.

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