Management at the Trails End Farmer’s Market in London, Ontario, is facing possible human-rights charges for telling a vendor she had to fire a transgendered employee because “those people” were ruining the market’s family friendly atmosphere.
Karen Clarke, owner of True 2 You, which sells candles and aromatherapy oils, left her stall at the Dundas Street market on a recent Saturday afternoon with Dani Dominick, a trans woman and one of her best workers, in charge. That evening, Clarke received a call from market manager Ed Kikkert, who told her, “if I was going to have ‘those people’ there anymore I’m invited to take my business elsewhere.”
“He said it made everyone uncomfortable and it just wasn’t right. This is a family place, a family market and this just isn’t right. I just kept insisting what happened that was wrong and he said you walk up to the person and they’re dressed like a woman and they’ve got big hands, a deep voice and tattoos and it’s just not right. It’s just not a family place he kept repeating that over and over again. And I kept trying to get from him what was wrong, what was so not right, what was it that people were complaining about and there was no details forthcoming that way. He called them ‘those people’ several times.”
“She was asked if she could not look after her booth, if she was not able, then she was asked to leave it because of the people she had running it. The issue was there was three men in that booth dressed up as women… I’m not discriminating at all. I’m just asking which washroom would they use? How can you go into a men’s washroom dressed as a lady, how can you go into ladies washroom when you’re a man. That’s the difficulty I have. If they go to the women’s washroom, they’re men so the women would get excited. If they go the men’s washroom the men would get excited because they’re dressed as women so which washroom would they use in my market? Would I have to have a third washroom?”
Does anyone else get the feeling that Kikkert is a little obsessed with washrooms?
Dominick is understandably upset about the whole situation.
“This has destroyed me, it’s pushed me back in my shell. The last couple of weeks, I’ve been depressed… I feel responsible for this. It hits home and for everything she’s done for me, and to have this happen to her. It just rips me apart. Because of this, having me work for her has pretty much destroyed the business she had there.”
Clarke says she’ll never return to Trail’s End and, since the incident, a petition has been created to encourage others to boycott the venue. We’d never do business there now but it’s a shame the other vendors will have to suffer because of a few rotten apples at the top.