Transgendered communities across Canada can rest easily on this- the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia– thanks to new legislations to protect the rights of transgender Canadians. Bill C-16, proposed by probably the world’s greatest PM- JustinTrudeau- and introduced today will see the addition of gender identity as prohibited grounds for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Gender identity has now been added to the list of distinguishing characteristics of an ‘identifiable group’ protected by the hate speech provisions of the Criminal Code. In simple terms: to discriminate against a transgendered person for employment, health care or anything else is now illegal in Canada and any aggravated act motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression is now officially punishable in court.
This is a major victory for a community that has suffered and continues to suffer at the hand of indifference and prejudice. Not to mention a community plagued by an extremely high rate of hate motivated murders and assaults. Yes, this legislation is a much needed step in the right direction.
But while Canada continues exemplify equality for all the US continues to fail trans citizens with 12 states rejecting Obama’s guidance to schools to allow students to use the bathroom of their choice i.e. the bathroom that best represents their gender identify- despite the threat non-compliance poses to federal education funding. With presidential candidate- a term not to be taken seriously in US– Donald Trump saying that it should be left up to individual states as the trans community represents “a tiny tiny” segment of the the American population. Fuck you Donald.. I can’t even begin to imagine how it’d feel to be forced use a bathroom that doesn’t match my gender- at any age. What kind of fucked up example is the ‘most powerful country in the world‘ setting for trans and human rights? What is this debate saying to trans kids and society on a whole about how we treat difference?
I couldn’t be more proud to live in a country that protects the rights all peoples and enforces an attitude of tolerance and acceptance. My wish today on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is that we, as an entire LGBTQ community, stand in solidarity with our trans brothers and sisters in the US and never take for granted the small freedoms we’re granted on a daily basis. And to the kids, please don’t loose hope. Change, no matter how slow it seems, is inevitable.