Human rights complaint launched against N.W.T. minister
Transgender woman claims minister asked her to leave, re-routed Governor General’s route to avoid her
The Northwest Territories’ Finance Minister Michael Miltenberger is facing a human rights complaint.
A woman in Fort Smith, N.W.T., says Miltenberger discriminated against her during the Governor General's visit to the Aurora College campus on Dec. 9 because she is transgender.
The way transgender people self-identify does not necessarily match their biological sex. Landrie was born male but identifies and dresses as a female.
Governor General David Johnston was in the territory December 9th for a tour.
Gabrielle Landrie, who is a math and business student at the college, said Miltenberger asked her to leave when she was standing near a computer lab with a friend.
"Mr. Miltenberger walked up to us, looked at me directly, and said ‘You have to leave’," said Landrie. "And I said, ‘oh?’, and he said ‘You spooked the governor general so you have to leave’."
Landrie said she dismissed the minister’s comments, and he then walked away in anger. She said he came back a few minutes later and told her the route has been changed because the Governor General didn’t want to see Landrie. He also told Landrie she had to leave the premises.
She said she was about to leave, but remembered that she had school work to finish. As she was finishing up in the computer lab, she said Miltenberger came up to her a third time.
"He came into the lab and he goes, looking at me, ‘I thought I told you to leave’," said Landrie.
Landrie says she told him her homework comes first, and that Miltenberger left.
"The amount of anger… you could basically almost taste it," said Landrie.
She says when she was done her work, she left. By that time, the ceremony had started with the Governor General. Landrie says she went out of her way to leave the building by a route which would not pass by Johnston or Miltenberger.
Landrie is filing the complaint with the Northwest Territories Human Rights Commission because she said what happened was uncalled for.
"The way it was done, the way it was handled, that wasn’t right," she said.
Landrie said the incident was extremely hurtful.
The Governor General's Office says it did re-route his exit from the building, but because the event at the college went longer than expected and not because of Landrie.
Miltenberger refused to comment because the complaint is before the Human Rights Commission.