Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Micheline Anne Hélène Montreuil, a Quebec lawyer, teacher, writer, radio host, trade unionist and politician. Hello Micheline!
So, it was a long fight, from 1997 to 2011 before I have gained the right to become Micheline Anne Hélène Montreuil. I was obliged to gain one by one all my first names: Micheline in 2002, Anne in 2008 and Hélène in 2011. Think about it; it is totally ridiculous that I needed 14 years to change my name.
After being defeated many times in court, the government has realized that its legal position cannot be supported in front of the courts. I may add that my fight has gone up to the Supreme Court of Canada.
So, the government of Quebec decided to change the law to facilitate the change of name for any one older than 18.
In 2013, The Government of Quebec has adopted an Act, Bill 35, entitled: An act to amend the Civil Code as regards civil status, successions and the publications of rights, to modify section 71 of the Civil Code that will be in force in 2016; the new section 71 will be read that way:
"71. Every person whose sexual identity does not correspond to the designation of sex that appears in that person’s act of birth may, if the conditions prescribed by this Code and by government regulation have been met, have that designation and, if necessary, the person’s given names changed."
These changes may in no case be made dependent on the requirement to have undergone any medical treatment or surgical operation whatsoever.
Subject to article 3084.1, only a person of full age who has been domiciled in Québec for at least one year and is a Canadian citizen may obtain such changes.
At the same time, I was obliged to sue some employers for discrimination in employment. Being a transgender is a source of many problems. I thought honestly that there would be less discrimination than the discrimination I have faced up but I have challenged any one who has decided to do discrimination against me.
On that point, you may check these two decisions ruled by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal:
- Montreuil v. National Bank of Canada - 2004 CHRT 7 - 2004-02-05
- Montreuil v. Canadian Forces Grievance Board - 2007 CHRT 53 - 2007-11-20.
Monika: Your journey to womanhood was gradual. As you write on your website: “In 1965, at the age of 13, I put on my first bra… In 1968, at the age of 16, for the first time, I dressed myself fully as a woman… In 1975, at the age of 23, I have done my first make-up and my first outing…”
For a transgender, it is a long path that may never end; she is not in such hurry because she is discovering herself step by step. So, like me, a transgender may change slowly, year after year, as long as she wishes it. I still have not ended my path; I am a transgender with some alterations to my body. Some transgenders have more alterations and some have less.
Unfortunately, the Registrar of civil status forced me to do it in public in denying me the right to do it quietly. Usually, a transgender does not wish to do her change in public to avoid many problems. In being stubborn, the Registrar of civil status forces people to do it openly and at the same time, forces the transgender to sue him in front of the courts.
Second, I have lost my job, I have lost my spouse, I have lost many “friends”, it was very hard to find a new job, and so on. I thought that people would be more open mind. I have had to change my opinion about the level of tolerance of people about transgender.
|Micheline Anne and Michèle in the Park Jeanne D'Arc.|
|Standing in front of her fireplace.|
Anklets: I have two anklets that I wear during summer only and from time to time.
However, for my next step on professional level, I intend to continue to teach at university, to be the vice-president of my union, to continue to manage the retirement funds of other teachers at university, to continue to practice law as a lawyer, to continue to travel all around the world and to continue to state that transgender people are just ordinary people who only wish to leave peacefully. We are kind people.
|San Diego, California - July 1997.|
All the photos: courtesy of Micheline Montreuil.