Canada’s first transgender judge has been appointed to provincial court in Manitoba.
Kael McKenzie, a Crown attorney from Winnipeg, was officially designated a judge on Dec. 17 and will begin his new job immediately.
With his appointment to provincial court, Mr. McKenzie becomes the third openly trans judge now practising in North America. The first, Victoria Kolakowski, of Alameda County, Calif., was appointed in 2010.
Many are calling Mr. McKenzie’s appointment “a Canadian milestone.”
Before his promotion, Mr. McKenzie was a Crown prosecutor for five years in family, commercial and civil law. He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2006 and has been an active member of both the legal and LGBTQ communities since, co-chairing the Canadian Bar Association’s sexual-orientation and gender-identity conference from 2012 to 2014.
Mr. McKenzie is also serving as vice-president of the Manitoba Bar Association executive committee, the Manitoba chair of the Canadian Bar Association, and president of the Rainbow Resource Centre – which serves Manitoba’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and two-spirit communities. He also served on the Manitoba Women’s Advisory Council.
Mr. McKenzie was chosen from six candidates by an independent judicial committee that included three community representatives, members of the Law Society of Manitoba and the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Bar Association.