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Transgender woman aims to change jail policies after BC Human Rights Tribunal win

Lawyer, Dan Soiseth, fought for the rights of a transgender woman forced to stay in a men's jail.
Lawyer, Dan Soiseth, fought for the rights of a transgender woman forced to stay in a men's jail. Rumina Daya | Global BC

VANCOUVER – The lawyer for a transgender woman who was forced to stay in a men’s jail says his client hopes her human rights case against the British Columbia government will change policies for other inmates.

Dan Soiseth says his client Jaris Lovado, who calls herself Bianca, was incarcerated at the Surrey Pretrial Centre for five months last year before being moved to a women’s facility, and only after filing multiple complaints.

The Justice Ministry moved to have Lovado’s complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal dismissed, but the tribunal says the case is worthy of a further hearing.

BC Corrections has a policy of housing inmates according to their self-identified gender unless health and safety concerns can’t be resolved.

The ministry told the tribunal in its application that during a previous stay at Alouette Centre, Lovado had displayed a “male persona,” had engaged in inappropriate relationships with female inmates and posed a safety risk.

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Soiseth, who represents the Community Legal Assistance Society, says Lovado was serving time for fraud-related charges and breaching conditions of release.