Toronto
1 min

Crown questions trans presence at Pussy Palace

With only the closing arguments left in their constitutional challenge against liquor licence charges, the Pussy Palace grrrls are back to playing the waiting game.



But for the witnesses and the two charged women, Rachel Aitcheson and JP Hornick, the hard part is over for now.



“I think that it was the most difficult for the two women who are charged,” says committee member Loralee Gillis. “But they were great. All of our witnesses were.”



Gillis believes that there is still a chance that the charges will be stayed. Otherwise the trial will proceed, probably in the spring.



Aitcheson and Hornick are charged with three counts each of permitting disorderly conduct in licensed premises, one count each of serving alcohol after hours, one count each of allowing liquor outside the proscribed area and one count each of failing to provide sufficient security. Their names appeared on the Special Occasion Permit for the Sep 14, 2000 event.



The case to have the charges stayed, though, focussed not on the liquor service, but what motivated the police investigation and how they responded.



“We’re feeling pretty good about it,” Gillis says. “We think the testimony has really highlighted the issues that we’ve been pushing for the last year.”



Gillis says she was surprised by the testimony of the officers.



“They made a huge issue out of the fact that the event was trans positive. It was like they were trying to get our witnesses to say ‘Oh yeah, there were men there. Gee, I forgot!'” The event welcomed both female-to-male and male-to-female transsexuals.



By arguing that men were already present in the bathhouse, Gillis says the prosecution tried to downplay the offensiveness of having sent male cops into the women-only event.



“They seem to feel that if there were trans men there, then clearly that’s no different than having five male cops there staring at our naked bodies. They want to define trans people as outside of the community without even a rudimentary idea of who they are or how they’re part of our community.”



The committee is asking supporters to come out for the final day of the trial on Thu, Nov 29. Committee member Carlyle Jansen will be meeting people at 10am in the lobby of Old City Hall (at Queen and Bay streets) and leading them to the courtroom.