Canada

Man, set to become a woman, poses problem for Quebec prison authorities

A federal prisoner serving a 40-month term in a Quebec jail is posing a problem because the man wants to become a woman.

A federal prisoner serving a 40-month term in a Quebec jail is posing a problem because the man wants to become a woman.

Tania Veilleux, 43,  is legally a woman under Quebec law but is being held in Ste-Anne-des-Plaines federal facility because she's a male under Correctional Service of Canada rules.

Veilleux, formerly Sylvain, is awaiting surgery to change gender, but until that happens, she is treated as a man. Nevertheless, she wants to be sent to a woman's jail.

Her safety may be at risk, said transgendered lawyer Micheline Montreuil: "I'm sure she will be  harassed," and perhaps even raped by other inmates.

Before being sentenced Monday for sexually attacking a young girl in the mid-1990s when she was still known as Sylvain, Veilleux was held in Maison Tanguay, a provincial jail for women.

That was a problem, said Line Boucher, who was at the jail with Veilleux. The women there were not comfortable having Veilleux around because, although legally a woman, she still has men's sexual organs. There were disturbances at the jail because Veilleux was there, Boucher said.

André Boissonneault, a lawyer who has worked for Veilleux, said the situation is bad: "I think he's lost —very lost, sick. He needs help."

Veilleux is set for taxpayer-funded surgery because it has been deemed medically necessary, a spokesman for the Quebec medical insurance agency said.