Above photo: Transgender Actress Candis Cayne
Today I woke up to an e-mail from a petition I had signed a while ago in support of Bill C-389, which will add gender identity and gender expression as protected grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act and in federal hate crimes laws. This is awesome new for the Transgender community but it still has to be passed into law. Bill C-389 was introduced by NDP MP Bill Siksay and read for the first time in May 2009 but finally last night the private members’ bill passed third reading in the House of Commons and is now on its way to the Senate. I’m worried that the Conservative dominated Senate will try their hardest to prevent the Bill from passing into law but only time will tell now. The vote was close, 143-135, but surprisingly saw six Conservatives break ranks to vote in favour of human rights – including John Baird and Lisa Raitt. Maybe with this news other Conservative MP’s will follow and the Bill will be passed into law for Canada.
Currently the Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based upon race, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been issued. The amendments add both “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the prohibited grounds of discrimination. Opposition has tried their hardest to see this Bill fail stating that nowhere in the bill are the terms “gender identity” or “gender expression” defined or differentiated. They also argue, legal recognition of transgendered people will allow men who say they are women to enter women’s washrooms, making it easier to commit assaults and other attacks on women. To me this is just ridiculous and sounds more like they are grabbing for anything possible to stand in the way of this Bill. If a man commits assault despite claims of sexual identity or whatever washroom her is in, it is still assault and he should still be charged as such. I don’t think the opposition really understands that if a man is claiming to be a transgender woman and is in the pre-op stages they want nothing to do with their man bits, let alone use them in a sexual way. So for a man to claim transgenderedness and yet assault a woman, clearly said man is lying and trying to use it as an excuse.
I’m very close to this topic because one of my very best friends in the world is a beautiful transgender woman and believe me, she was born to be a woman. I hope that we get to see Bill C-389 pass into law and that it happens quickly. This would be sending a clear message to all the transgender identifying people out their that they are people to, that they are beautiful and worth something and that their government supports them being who they are.