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Uncertain Fate for Transgender Rights Bill

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I've decided to write a bit about a current bill, that is currently before a Parliamentary committee, which would make explicit the extension of Canada's Human Rights provisions to transgender persons.

The bill hasn't got much media attention at all, and like usual transgender issues are ignored unless they are being used for some salacious thrill on daytime talk shows. There are two main reasons why I wanted to try and do a little publicity for the bill.

First of all, the bill's future is precarious at the moment as 15 Tories have pledged to support its passage. If all of the left of centre MPs supported the bill, another 6 Tory abstentions or supporting votes would be required to get it into law. It is rare in Canadian politics that a bill could go either way, and I think a little more attention could help pressure some of the Tory brass to quietly whip a few members into supporting its passage.

Secondly, I've been a bit incensed by the substance of the debate from Tory critics of the bill. MP Rob Anders spread a petition which implied that transgender women (which he mistakenly refers to as transgender men) are pedophiles, or perverts looking to lurk in women's bathrooms for the purpose of assaulting women. Or, that such perverts would be able to hide under the protections of transgender identity to freely invade women's changing rooms.

This line of argument is problematic in a number of ways. First of all, transgender women already use women's bathrooms, it is usually not an issue, and the extension of anti-discrimination laws wouldn't change that. A few provinces already have extended these protections, and none of the ridiculous scenarios Anders proposed have occurred. Finally, it is baseless fearmongering as there is no evidence of transgender women sexually assaulting women or children, at least no more than the regular population.

All of this brings me to why extending anti-discrimination legislation for transgenders is necessary. Trans people, out of every minority in Canada, are the most likely to be the victim of a violent assault by a stranger, and indeed the most likely to be murdered. This fact alone should be evidence enough that we are not doing enough to protect these people. Another Tory MP, Shelly Glover, has spoke out in favour of the bill because of her experience as a police officer witnessing the violence inflected on trans Canadians. This bill would be an important step to affirm equality for sexual minorities in Canada, and allow Canada to stay at the forefront of progressive human rights protection.
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  1. Buh4Bee's Avatar
    I think the statistics are a powerful argument in building support for the passage of this bill.
  2. cafolini's Avatar
    I agree wholeheartedly and wholemindedly with what you said.