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Toronto Police are searching for a missing person, but their effort to enlist the public’s help may be a tad confusing.
The missing person is identified as Isobella Degrace, 27, who was last seen in the wee hours of June 25. The missing “woman” is described as 5-feet, 10-inches tall with shaggy blonde hair. And a goatee.
“How is this helping?” asked Twitter user Joseph Jones, a self-described gay leftist libertarian. “Seriously, if this person is in danger, misleading the public like this does a massive disservice.
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) June 30, 2022
Degrace was last seen on in the city’s Ryerson Avenue and Bathurst Street area, wearing a black t-shirt and grey pants. It’s no joke, as police say they are concerned for Degrace’s safety.
Twitter users blasted the police department for using apparently preferred pronouns that will do very little to help find the missing person.
“How would you describe this woman on the radio or via text?” wrote MikeyP. “Would you maybe mention that this “woman” looks an awful lot like a conventional man?”
“Could you perhaps use facts for your bulletins, rather than identity preference?” tweeted GrammatonCleric. “That is, if the point is to locate the person, not just virtue signal.
Other Twitter users resorted to pure mockery in response to the Toronto Police tweet.
“I’d appreciate it if everyone could please keep an eye out for my missing cat Bishop Twinkles,” tweeted libeccio, alongside a picture of a racehorse. “He’s 16 hands tall and weighs about 750 lbs.”
The Canadian Human Rights Act has been interpreted by some as carrying potential penalties for not using a person’s preferred pronouns, including mandatory sensitivity training, issuing an apology, or even a publication ban.
Repeated refusal to use the preferred pronouns could theoretically result in criminal penalties and even prison, according to Jared Brown, commercial litigator at Brown Litigation, who often works with corporate clients on employment law and human rights disputes.
“It could happen,” Brown told the CBC. “Is it likely to happen? I don’t think so. But, my opinion on whether or not that’s likely has a lot to do with the particular case that you’re looking at.”
“The path to prison is not straightforward. It’s not easy. But, it’s there. It’s been used before in breach of tribunal orders,” he said.
Anyone with information on Degrace’s whereabouts is asked to contact police at 416-808-1400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or at www.222tips.com.