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CFRB not trans-friendly

Leslie Forrester was pissed when two CFRB DJs called a transsexual woman “he.” Forrester, a transsexual woman, was listening on Aug 7 when Christina Cherneskey and Randy Taylor took to the airwaves talking about cyclist Michelle Dumaresq. Dumaresq is a member of the Canadian Women’s Cycling Team, but the DJs repeatedly referred to her as he/she. Cherneskey also suggested that countries hungry for medals could send male athletes for a sex change to give them an edge in female sports.

Forrester has filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-Television And Tele-communications Commission (CRTC), the government body which regulates Canadian broadcasters. She has filed two complaints in the past against CFRB and Taylor, both of which were dismissed.

Egale Canada has also filed a complaint against CFRB.

But CFRB is staying mum on the situation.

“Because of a complaint to the CRTC, we cannot comment on any of this,” says operations manager Steve Kowch. “We’ll await the decision from the CRTC to determine whether or not CFRB handled the cycling story properly.”

But the industry itself seems to have no policies on what broadcasters can say about transsexuals.

The code of ethics of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council – a self-regulating industry body to which CFRB doesn’t even belong – doesn’t even discuss the treatment of trans issues, and sexual orientation was only added in mid-July.

“If a transsexual woman is being called in their former gender, or as he/she, I’m not sure if it’s appropriate,” says Ronald Cohen, the CBSC national chair. “It would depend on the context that the comment was said.

“We’ve never received a complaint,” he adds. “I’m not sure if transsexuals would fall into a separate category from homosexuals.”