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10 March 2017

Jennifer Pallister (1959- 2007) software developer, artist

Pallister, from Tweed, Ontario, worked as a software engineer at Delrina in Toronto. He devised printer drivers and was part of the team that developed the award-winning product WinFax.

In September 1994 Pallister, as Jennifer, was accepted on the gender program at Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, and started transition. This was generally accepted by co-workers, but had not been pre-arranged with management. Two months later she was let go with a claim that her productivity had declined. In 1995 Delrina was acquired by the Californian software company Symantec.

By 1998 Jennifer had grown impatient with the program at the Clarke Institute (which was about to be merged with other institutions and become the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and to lose public funding for transgender surgery as promised by the recently elected Progressive Conservative government). She obtained the required psychiatric letters and had transgender surgery with Dr Eugene Schrang in Wisconsin. She financed this by selling her condo apartment for $50,000 and putting the balance on her credit card.

She never again worked in software development. She was able, somehow, to get disability benefits.

Jennifer met Eugene Pichler through Walk on the Wildside, a shop/hotel in Toronto for trans persons still somewhat in the closet, run by cis woman Patricia Aldridge. Pichler interviewed her in February 2000, and a few years later put up a page on his web site featuring Jennifer whom he described as
“an individual who arguably failed to benefit from gender transition and genital surgery”.
He even included a photograph of the women’s homeless shelter where she had stayed at one time, and included details of psychiatric diagnoses.

Jennifer retrained as an artist, and had a few local showings. She was upset by Pichler’s webpage and filed suit. She obtained court orders prohibiting Pichler from publishing about her, but he ignored the orders.

Jennifer took her own life at age 48.

Patricia Aldridge circulated an email, stating that Pichler’s online page about Pallister states that
“she was not a transsexual, but instead was a sexual pervert who defrauded the Ontario Health Insurance Program”.
Pichler launched a defamation action in response. He featured Jennifer in his 2009 book, and put her photograph on its cover.

* not the New South Wales actor
  • G Eugene Pichler. “Acceptable losses”., Jul 10, 2005. Online.
  • Patricia Aldridge. “Transsexual Painter Dies: Local artist in struggle against Internet defamation”. Email August 30, 2007., Online.
  • G Eugene Pichler. (Un)acceptable Losses: The Man & Women Who transgress Gender Norms., 2009: 10-12.
  • G Eugene Pichler. “Jennifer Pallister—A Case Study”., (Undated). Online
  • Kitchen Wych. “This, My Friend, Died”. Amazon Dec 14, 2014 review of Pichler. Review.

As per losing her job at Delrina, Pichler (2005) writes: “Pallister's energies were focused more on her transition than work. Pallister reported that her productivity declined. She was no longer effective at her job.” Maybe. However readers of this encyclopedia know that it is often the case that when one announces transition, tolerance of low productivity suddenly drops, and management is looking for a reason to get rid of one.

Pichler (2009:11) writes: “When Jennifer abandoned the CAMH, he (sic) effectively also abandoned any chance of receiving public funds towards the procedure through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).” This is the same Pichler who had just spent a few years campaigning that OHIP funding for transgender surgery not be restored. It was 1998 when Jennifer decided to go to Dr Shrang. The Ontario Progressive Conservative government had promised to get rid of transgender surgery funding in their election manifesto, and the bill to effect that was already introduced in the Ontario Parliament. Jennifer had little to lose by going private.

Aldridge’s email states that Pichler states that Jennifer “was not a transsexual, but instead was a sexual pervert who defrauded the Ontario Health Insurance Program”. If the article being referred to is that by Pallister dated 2005, this is not the case. The article, while not specifying (as Pichler does in his 2009 book) that Jennifer sold her condo and maxed out her credit card to pay Dr Shrang, does not imply that OHIP paid either.

The EN.Wikipedia article on Winfax does not mention Jennifer, not even under her male name, but that is also true of the rest of the team other than the leader.

Pichler (undated) says that Jennifer was 46 when she died; Aldridge says 48. I have gone with the latter.

Pichler says of Aldridge’s email: “On August 30, 2007 Patricia Aldridge sent a broadcast e-mail message having the subject line, Transsexual Painter Dies, to her distribution list. Aldridge's e-mail message became the heart of a defamation action that I launched against her shortly after she sent the e-mail message.” contains a second undated page on Jennifer, in which Pichler attempts to paint her as autogynephilic. His attitude to her is shown well in his second paragraph:

“During the interview Pallister presented himself as a one-year post-operative, male-to-female transsexual, who successfully "stick handled" his way past all the bureaucratic obstacles and underwent a gender reassignment surgical procedure (GRS). At the time of the interview Pallister was legally female and had been apparently living as a female on a full time basis for approximately four years. However, I didn't see Pallister as the success that he saw himself as.”

1 comment:

Thomas Dreiling said...

I have read the book. I have a one word review, crapola.