B.C. dad accused of publicizing transgender son's personal details jailed pending trial
VANCOUVER -- A B.C. dad accused of violating a court order by publicizing personal information about his underage son, who is transgender, is being kept behind bars pending his trial next month.
Last week, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Michael Tammen ordered that the father, who can only be identified as C.D., be held without bail until his criminal contempt case is heard.
“He’s been sitting out in a government-supplied bed cot, in a small cement cubicle with iron bars, for speaking his mind, and he will stay there until the trial starts at 2 p.m. on the 12th of April,” said Carey Linde, defence lawyer for the accused.
Trans rights activists argue the father made his own jailhouse bed, and they would ultimately like to see a stiff punishment handed down for alleged behaviour they see as outright "dangerous."
“What he’s doing is bad for his child, it’s bad for everybody who has won a court order – and I totally support the courts bringing in a criminal penalty for his conduct," Morgane Oger told CTV News.
The father’s current legal trouble stems from a family law case he launched in 2018, when he tried to use the province’s court system to prevent his son, who was 14 at the time, from accessing gender-affirming hormone treatments. The teenager had identified as male for several years at that point, according to court documents, and the treatments were supported by his mother and doctors.
C.D. lost, in a ruling that upheld the right of minors under the B.C. Infants Act to make medical decisions independently of either of their parents if certain conditions are met, including that they have the approval of health-care professionals.
The teen’s father, who had by then spoken out in a number of alternative media outlets, was also ordered to stop giving interviews or publicly sharing information that could expose his underage child to damaging and potentially violent online backlash, or that would identify the teen's health team. He’s since been accused of breaching that order on more than one occasion, including in an online interview last summer.
In another alleged incident, C.D. is accused of publishing material that could expose his son's identity in an online fundraiser he set up in December. His lawyer told CTV News such material would have been included accidentally.
But Linde also said that if his client is ultimately found guilty, “he will not say that it was a mistake, or he had a gun to his head.”
“He will say, in classic civil disobedience fashion, that he’s lost his child, and his criticism is that the mainstream media has not covered his story,” Linde said.
Oger noted that it’s common for family law matters to be sealed in order to protect the privacy of the children involved.
She also argued the kinds of opinions expressed by C.D., who believes that his son’s transition is a mistake, are already very well-represented on the internet without the family's story. That’s the reason that respecting the anonymity of C.D.’s underage son is so vitally important, she said.
“There are people who have very strong beliefs, and who think that people who exemplify opposition to their beliefs should be hounded everywhere they go, in all situations, and should have their lives ruined because of who they are,” Oger said.
“This is extremely harmful. And inevitably, the people doing this really believe that they’re on the right side. But they’re not.”
Oger was an adult when her identity as a trans woman made her the target of an online mob, and said no minor should be thrust into that kind of toxic culture war environment against their will, particularly if a court has granted them explicit protections.
“We can’t have a society where people don’t obey the courts,” she said. “If the courts don’t have severe penalties for contempt of their orders, then we don’t have courts. All we have is opinion.”