I have been at my organization since 2009, and began front line in the shelter. Our shelter is an emergency shelter for women victims of domestic violence.
Maybe 7 years ago, give or take, I was told at shift exchange that an intake would be arriving from out of town later that evening. As a side note, we are single-staffed.
All I knew was the general gist of the womens crisis call, her name, and the city she was fleeing.
She arrived later that shift and what I saw on our security camera was a man with long blond hair. The individual at the door claimed they had in fact recently had twins apprehended by local children's services and that her "abuser" was a Police officer in her community, hence the reason for leaving her community.
By all accounts, I was to accept this individual, as they identified as female.
Now as a worker, at the shelter, I have never been scared during an intake. I have never been scared for the women in shelter and their children and I was told she had to be accepted.
While I was alone, the only staff member within in the shelter, the individual seeking a safe place showed me a photo album with the two twins that had been apprehended. It was disturbing as they were not actual photos - they were taken from some online source - everything from ultrasound photos to a woman's pregnant body and newborn photos.
The individual infront of me was wearing black leggings that left nothing to hide. Sitting in front of me, this person stated that they were in the early stages of pregnancy again - half way through the conversation, this person stated her stomach/abdomen was painful, like a knife being thrust into it. The individual presented a driver's licence to me that had been tampered to state that the sex was female and the name was Jessica.
I knew within a few minutes into the conversation that I could not allow this individual into the shelter. This is when I called our Executive Director. I felt little to no support with my concerns and was told that, the individual should be accepted but provided their own single room, for their safety. I asked about the safety of the other women and children in shelter. The answer I got was that, if they are uncomfortable, they can relocate to a new shelter. I was told that we have to follow Ministry guidelines.
Of course, my instinct told me this was wrong.
I eventually called a second staff member in as I knew nothing made sense and this was a security and safety issue and it was getting beyond what I can manage. I also felt that I wanted a second staff member's judgement.
To keep it brief. I made the decision that I would not accept this person into our shelter. This was with the support of the staff members that I called as back up.
I did later have to speak with the Executive Director about my decision. Her concern was largely based around this individual going to the press and saying she had been denied access to our shelter.
A few weeks later it was brought to my attention that in our province's shelter system, a man using the name of Jessica had been entering violence against women shelters. In some cases, women had been raped.
After this happened, our Management team decided that we all required to have trans awareness training. For myself, I was never told that I dealt with this situation appropriately or handled it well based on the challenges presented.
This individual claimed that we had denied her medical care. She stated that she had miscarried in our entrance way.
This is one article I could find. This was provided to me by a co-worker weeks after the incident. I felt sick to my stomach - and that is an understatement. This is the exact individual who was in our shelter. We did show many news articles to our Director, all of which she stated we were exaggerating and she felt no connection could be made.