Fired transgendered teacher launches human rights complaint

Catholic school board says gender reassignment will 'confuse' students, parents
||Last Updated: 10/06/2009

A transgendered substitute teacher, fired by a Catholic school board in Alberta last year, has filed a human rights complaint against the board seeking reinstatement.

Jan Buterman taught social studies, German and French to students in Grades 7 to 12 in St. Albert, north of Edmonton.

After he told the Greater St. Albert Catholic School Board he has a gender identity disorder and was undergoing gender reassignment from woman to man, he received a letter notifying him he was being removed from the list of substitute teachers on Oct. 9, 2008.

While the letter praised his teaching abilities, it said his gender change was not aligned with the teachings of the Catholic church and would confuse students and their parents.

"The reason for removing you from the substitute teacher list follows a conversation we shared in which you indicated that you had been diagnosed with a gender identity medical condition and that you were undergoing physical gender changes from the female gender to the male gender," wrote Steve Bayus, deputy superintendent of schools.

"In discussions with the Archbishop of the Edmonton Diocese, the teaching of the Catholic church is that persons cannot change their gender. One's gender is considered what God created it to be."

Buterman, who has the backing of the Alberta Teachers' Association, filed the complaint last week before the time limit ran out.

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