U of S changes policy to protect transgender people

The University's board of governnors votes to ammend the school's discrimination and harassment policy.

University amends school's discrimination and harassment policy

Jack Saddleback poses next to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms at the University of Saskatchewan's Pride Centre. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)

The University of Saskatchewan has decided to change the school's discrimination and harassment policy to protect transgender people.

The school's board voted Tuesday to ban discrimination based on a person's gender identity, two-spirit identity or gender expression.

It's a welcome change for U of S student Jack Saddleback, who ​has been working to change the policy since last summer. 

"You're going to be protected for who you are and you're going to be seen for who you are and celebrated for who you are," Saddleback said about the changes. 

Saddleback was born a female, but now identifies as a Cree male who is two-spirited, a term sometimes used by LBGT First Nations people. He came out when he was 13, and said he has been dealing with complications surrounding his dual nature ever since.

"There's bathrooms, having your I.D. checked. I have had issues with my bank ... having someone look at my [card] and see under sex it says female, but my gender expression is quite masculine" Saddleback explained.

You're going to be protected for who you are and you're going to be seen for who you are,- Jack Saddleback

He and a group of like-minded peers and academics approached the University for support in October of 2013.

Barb Daigle, Associate Vice President of Human Resources, said she agreed to support Saddleback and his group in their mission to make policy changes from the start.

"For me, it was actually not a difficult thought process at all," Daigle said. "I am pretty passionate about creating positive work environments."

Saddleback said the old policy only banned discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, and that wasn't enough. 
Jack Saddleback talks with people hanging out at the U of S Pride Centre. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)

"There's our gender identity, what's between our ears. Our gender expression, that's how we express our gender –masculine, feminine. Our birth sex, that's what is between our legs when we were born. And our attraction to, and that's our romantic attraction to other individuals," Saddleback explained. "Those four things are all separate."