Rohit Singh Peace and Colin Peace got married in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on April 29.
It was wonderful, a big wedding.But it is not as if nobody tried to ruin it. No indeed. Events leading up to the wedding were definitely not ideal.
Singh Peace is a native of India who came to Saskatoon to attend graduate school in biotechnology. On April 21 she and Colin went to Jenny's Bridal Boutique to look at wedding dresses. Rohit was not allowed to try on dresses though…because, she was told, she was a man.
[The owner] said, 'Oh, I don't allow men to wear dresses in my store.' I explained to her that I'm not a man, I'm a transgender and my sex-change procedure is going on.Rohit left the store in tears.
"She told me, 'It doesn't matter to me.' And then she snatched that dress from my hand.
The unidentified owner blamed her reaction on her customers, as usual.
To me it doesn't matter. He looked like a man. There were quite a few brides in the store. If you see a man trying on dresses, you're going to feel uncomfortable.
No, Ms. Owner. I would not. Nor, I think would I insist a transwoman was a man and even when your error is pointed out, refer to her with male pronouns.
I was pretty angry to be brushed off like that.She and her fiancé went to several other shops and encountered no difficulty, finally selecting a gown from Mylynh Bridal and Sew.
Colin Peace said that he was totally surprised by the refusal of service by Jenny's.
If it’s a transgender person and she has dreams for her wedding, they should be understanding.There was a rally in front of Jenny's this past Saturday. Almost 100 people gathered together to support the bride.
I am damn glad to see all these people here supporting me.
--Rohit Singh Peace
Things have changed exponentially here in Saskatoon over the last few years. There was acceptance of gay and lesbian people, and now transgender.The store was closed on the day of the rally, unfortunately. Nobody from the store could be reached for comment.
It was festive. It was fun. The store owner left. She closed her store quite early.
--Miki Mappin, Gender Equality Society of Saskatchewan
We are humans. We deserve to be treated like humans.The crowd cheered at the approach of the newlyweds.
I am damn happier than the day of my wedding. I never thought this kind of crowd would come to support me here in Saskatoon.Signs carried by people in the crowd read "Transgender rights are human rights" and "Support transgender rights." There was also a Petition circulated calling for the provincial government to enact more human rights protection for transpeople.
Everybody came to me, to shake hands with me, to take pictures with me. I was so happy.
Miki Mappen said that Saskatchewan's human rights law is too vague when it comes to the case of transgender people.
I lost my job. I wanted to go to human rights, but I was told I had to choose one of the acceptable grounds to file a human rights complaint — I didn't want to accuse my colleagues of sexual harassment because that is not what they had been doing.Protester's also called for a boycott of Jenny's. Peter Garden held a sign that read,
Garden owns a Saskatoon bookstore, Turning the Tide.
You know, I think that people make mistakes. I think they have a chance to recognize them and apologize for them. I don't think that is what the owner of this business has done.Singh Peace plans to file a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission over the incident.
It might happen to some other transgender that might come to the store and she will hurt the same. It so embarrassed me and my husband.
I like to say Canada is so acceptable [with] equal rights for everyone. At least they should learn a lesson, so after seeing this no other bridal store — or any store — will do this in the future like they did with me.
We live in a multicultural, multidimensional Saskatchewan and these cases are increasing. We are noticing more and more transgender cases, particularly cases of bullying of at the high school level. We also are aware that Transgender Saskatchewan is very concerned about this. We have met with them.There is more video here.
--David Arnot, Saskatchewan's human rights commissioner