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Crossfit Discriminates Against Trans Women, While ‘Top Chef Canada’ Discriminates Against All Women

Sarah Ratchford is back for another rundown of this week's highlights and lowlights in the world of gender politics.
March 14, 2014, 8:01pm

This week, as per usual, there was some truly horrible sexist shit in the news. But I also noticed a very clear silver thread of decency and bravery stretching through the mire—people aren't having it. Activists in Toronto protested Harper's refusal to conduct an inquiry into all of our missing and murdered Indigenous women. Students at St. Thomas University in Fredericton are sick of the fact that abortions are out of reach for so many in New Brunswick, so they started a petition to change it. And trans women in the spotlight are fighting all out wars for one another's rights to be successful and awesome. Change is in the winds, and it's because people are standing up and denying systems designed to ensure their oppression. Let’s choose to share in a bit of hope this week, friends.

Screenshot of the website of New Brunswick's sole abortion provider.

Need an abortion in New Brunswick? Too bad!


In my home province of New Brunswick, it’s next to impossible for many women to get an abortion. Women can only get health care coverage for abortions done at a hospital by an ObGyn. And the abortion has to be approved by not one, but two doctors, in writing, as medically sound. Because, you know, a woman’s choice is apparently moot in this scenario. Further, only one hospital in the province will perform them. As a result, many who go through with abortions in New Brunswick wind up having to pay between $700 and $850 at the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton. And they often have to fight through throngs of anti-choicers to do it.

These strict stipulations, which have been in place for 25 years, violate the Canada Health Act, which mandates full funding of abortions at clinics and hospitals. They also violate the Morgentaler Supreme Court decision of 1988. That decision ruled that enforcing this kind of bullshit on a woman’s choice violates women’s rights. What a novel idea!

If this concerns you, there’s a

petition that’s gaining steam on started by a group of students at St. Thomas University, to fully fund abortions at the Morgentaler Clinic and repeal the provincial law that restricts abortion payment. Sign if you give a fuck!

Photo via Facebook.

Justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women

On the somewhat brighter side of things, I’m pleased to see a resurgence of activism, as our government becomes less and less caring toward the aboriginal people of Canada. This week, activists in Toronto formed a blockade over the tracks at DuPont and Spadina in protest of the government’s refusal to conduct an inquiry into the cases of over 800 missing and murdered Indigenous women in this country. The Harper government refused to do so last week, so these wonderful folk are not taking that negligence and hate sitting down.


By refusing to conduct an inquiry, the government has sent a message that it does not matter if these women went missing or were murdered. If they were white women, I bet the message would be different. For the government to stubbornly ignore the murders and disappearances of 800 human beings within its own country is truly alarming, and goes right along with

the rape culture that’s poisoned so many other factions of Canadian society. It makes me ashamed to be Canadian.

Screenshot via YouTube.

Shut up and let Chloie Jonsson compete

Transwoman Chloie Jonsson has sued Crossfit for telling her she can’t compete in its annual competition, and trans model Carmen Carrera (who I was lucky enough to interview for VICE) has jumped in to stand up for her. All I can say is: Get it girls.

At this stage, I honestly don’t know what people are thinking when they make a discriminatory move like this. One look at Jonsson and it’s clear she’s a woman. Carmen Carrera made that perfectly clear to the utterly stunned interviewers on TMZ

Carmen explained that after taking steps to physically transition, it’s hard to tone up again, and you lose muscle mass. So, if anything, it could be harder for Jonsson to bulk up and compete to the best of her ability. She elaborated further on her Facebook page: “I know from experience how the body changes once you transition and given that Chloie is only 5’4” and has worked so hard on her body, she deserves to be treated equal.”


Even if she wasn’t only 5’4”, she should still be treated equal! I don’t care if she’s seven feet tall. She’s obviously not a man, but if Crossfit won’t see her as a woman, she can’t compete at all.

The company claims people have to compete according to their “birth gender.” Which begs the question: Why are we still even defining people by only two genders? It’s so unnecessarily restrictive and basic.

To top it all off, the TMZ bros told Carrera they “know she was born as a male,” which is untrue. She was born a woman who just happened to look differently from the way we think women should look. Further, they asked if Victoria’s Secret was open to having her model. Her response makes me adore her even more than I already did: “Well, yeah. They haven’t told me they’re not open to it. We’ll see when I come knocking on the door.”

God I love you Carmen Carrera. And Chloie: Don’t worry. I’ve got your awesome, superfit back.

Photo via Facebook.

Women: Psych! Now, you’re not allowed in the kitchen

I have to say, these gender wars are becoming quite wearisome. This week, Top Chef Canada ran this sexist ad.

The imagery suggests that the kitchen is too fierce, too dangerous, too competitive for a woman. She better stay out, where it’s safe!

What kind of trickery is this? Are they trying to play a reverse psychology tactic? Also, who the hell is vetting this shit? Does the Food Network not have PR people? HR people?


Gender segregation: not cool.

for this information to trickle down to the lowest common denominator? Will I be dead by the time that finally happens? Fucking probably, due to either drinking away my sorrows surrounding this very issue, or being shot by a rogue male supremacist.

Screenshot of the Circles and Support Accountability website.

It’s OK. Keep sexually assaulting women!

The feds have cut funding for a successful Edmonton program dealing with high-risk Canadian sex offenders. At the end of the month, the funding will be swept from under the program’s feet, even though there’s a 70 to 83 percent reduction in sex crimes committed by those who complete it. The funding dries up completely in September.

That government cash would have helped rehabilitate future, high-risk offenders once they’re let out of jail. Andrew McWhinnie is a Corrections Services Canada special advisor to the group, which is called Circles of Support and Accountability. He told the Edmonton Journal: “The community can assume they are less safe on April 1 than they were March 31.”

“The community” can be loosely summed up as “women.” Shocking. We’ve got to write our MPs and MPPs and say this isn’t cool. We’ve got to do things like camp out on Parliament Hill, letting our wandering wombs take over and make us get all crazy until they cease these shenanigans. Wandering wombs, for the record, were coined by one of the first sexist assholes, Aristotle, who philosophized that women behaved irrationally because their wombs would travel to different parts of their bodies and confuse them.

“Hysteria” sound familiar? Yeah, thank Aristotle.

Goodnight. @sarratch