AGAR: Dress code for a teacher gone viral?

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When does our right to be ourselves conflict with our obligations to others?

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Joe Warmington reported on the case of an Ontario workshop teacher who went viral after photos of the teacher in class wearing oversized breast forms were posted online.

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“Before the transition, the teacher was known to students and faculty as a man and had a man’s name,” Warmington wrote. “But the teacher now identifies as female and is referenced by a female name.”

“This teacher (who teaches the workshop) is an extremely effective teacher,” said HDSB President Margo Shuttleworth.

Protecting the “gender rights” of any person is “the position taken by the school board and it supports the teacher.”

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The school board says they just see her as a good teacher. But the videos have created a lot of comments.

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So what’s the problem ? Shouldn’t a trans person be respected?

Yes, but to call prosthetic breasts large is an understatement. The Teacher presents more like a parody of a woman with breasts the size of a pair of County Fair watermelons, with deliberately protruding nipples pushing against the taut shirt.

It’s more like a stunt, a challenge for the employer to do anything about it.

Can the school board impose a dress restriction? Labor lawyer Sunira Chaudhry of Worklylaw.com says yes.

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“It’s clowning around,” Chaudhry said. “It feels sexist to me, because of how overdone these protruding breasts are. I think a lot of young women at school would not only feel uncomfortable, they would feel teased.

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Chaudhry asks, “What if a teacher showed up with natural breasts, protruding nipples, a low-cut top, and no bra?” Would the board take the same defense of a cis teacher?

“A lot of women think they wouldn’t get that defense, that they would get a stern warning from their employer.”

“I think it creates a divide,” Chaudhry says, “if we’re talking about women’s rights.”

How much latitude does an employer have to tell employees how to dress? Can an employer say to a woman, “You have to put on a bra?”

Yes, says Chaudhry: “Most employers have the ability to dictate some sort of grooming.”

Chaudhry says the presentation of the trans teacher is “beyond what any reasonable employer would expect and no one would be surprised to see an employer step in and say, ‘We need you as a teacher. to come to school and dress professionally”.

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A transitioning teacher coming to work with breast prostheses would be barely noticed, beyond staff and students learning to address the old sir or madam, and the school would be right to defend the teacher.

But in this case, it’s hard to believe there’s a reason for the size of the Triple Z fake boobs other than attention-seeking and mockery from women and the trans community.

Chaudhry calls this incident a rush to the defense of one to the discomfort of many.

If it’s fair to defend the teacher, it would be fair to defend a man, transitioning or not, showing up in tight pants meant to show off a meter-long prosthetic penis.

Trans people should be respected. But we don’t have to host the clown show.

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