Visitors to the Law Library will now be greeted by a new display featuring some of the UVic Library’s special collections. The display is focused on Transgender Rights in Canada and British Columbia and features archival material from the UVic Transgender Archives, books from the shelves of the law library, and QR codes leading to some of the online resources that UVic libraries has to offer.
The archival materials on display focus on Vancouver Rape Relief Society vs. Nixon. The case centred on a human rights complaint filed by Kimberley Nixon against Vancouver Rape Relief Society (VRRS) alleging that they discriminated against Nixon and prohibited her from volunteering on the basis of her being a transgender woman. Nixon was represented by barbara findlay, KC, a lesbian-feminist lawyer who has represented LGBTQ+ people in a number of landmark cases. The barbara findlay fonds feature prominently within the display.
Though Nixon ultimately lost her case on appeal, it remains a significant event in the development of transgender rights in British Columbia and Canada. It assisted in establishing that “sex” as defined within the Human Rights Code protects transgender people in British Columbia. It also encouraged women’s groups across Canada to adopt trans-inclusive policies.
Materials regarding the Nixon case are accompanied by materials from the Caroline White fonds. These materials highlight the dialogue that took place amongst transgender advocates and feminists in the late 1990s and early 2000s about the acceptance of transgender women within women’s spaces, including women’s organizations, shelters, and resource centres. Caroline White is a social justice trainer and educator who played a significant role in facilitating dialogue between transgender women and cisgender feminists.
Accompanying the items from special collections featured in the glass display are a number of materials on the display on the wall shelves. These include copies of Vancouver Rape Relief Society vs. Nixon from all levels of the course, as well as copies of the factums featured in the display. The wall also features books from the Law Library and QR codes leading to online materials, all related to the subject of transgender rights in Canada, the United States, and beyond
The Law Library would like to thank work study student Layne Clarke for creating this new display and writing this post!