Unlike here in the US, we have some progress to report from north of the border.
Recently the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights of the Canadian Parliament had been working on C-389, otherwise known as the Transgender Rights Bill. On November 2 the Committee reported the bill back to the House of Commons for its Third Reading, where it is awaiting its final vote. If that is successful, it would move on to the Senate for approval.
Bill C-389 adds gender identity and gender expression to the Canada Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada hate crimes provisions. The bill’s author is MP Bill Siksay of the New Democratic Party (the social democrats, sadly missing in the US).
Siksay was the first openly gay non-incumbent man to be elected to the House of Commons when he was elected in 2004. Mr. Siksay represents Burnaby-Douglas in British Columbia. Mr. Siksay lives in Burnaby with his partner, The Reverend Brian Burke.
He first introduced the bill in 2005 and did so again in 2006. The current version was introduced in May, 2009.
I’m happy that finally we seem on the cusp of getting this through the House of Commons, and maybe even getting it through the Senate before the next election, and that would be a great accomplishment, and a great thing for the members of the transsexual and transgendered community.
Ceremonies recognizing the Transgender Community will be held in Ottawa, Canada for the first time on November 20…also known as Transgender Day of Remembrance…when we celebrate those who have fallen. There will be a Flag Raising Ceremony at Ottawa Police Headquarters with speeches by Mr. Siksay and the Mayor-Elect Jim Watson. This will be followed by a march to Parliament Hill and a rally in support of the bill. There will be a candlelight vigil in the evening at the Canadian Human Rights Monument in observation of TDOR.
Of course there is opposition.
Somehow this ridiculous Bill C-389 has succeeded through two votes in Parliament and has now passed a 30 minute committee hearing. If it passes third reading and the Senate our children will be exposed to perverts entering girls bathrooms, change rooms and even showers claiming transgender discrimination. The penalty for “discriminating” against them will be up to two years in prison. We are working with leaders across Canada and vow to protect our children.
—Dr. Charles McVety, President of the Institute for Canadian Values
Of course, transwomen have been using gender-appropriate restrooms since transition first became possible…not without inherent danger…and there has never been a case that anyone is aware of in which a transwoman has performed any such perversion.
To people like Dr. McVety, the very fact that we use a public restroom is the perversion. Hell, to people like him, simple existence of people like us is a perversion.
I don’t claim that there aren’t people of ill-repute in our community just like any other, but there is nothing stopping a pedophile now from dressing in women’s clothing and violating someone in a restroom. We deal with such incidents by enforcing the law.
All that transpeople are asking for is for that law to be equally applied to protect us as well.
Of course, I’m probably investing too much hope for my brothers and sisters in Canada in regards to this bill. We are unfortunately used to the failure of government to address our needs for rights and protections. Too accustomed to it, as a matter of fact.
One could only hope that transgender rights in Canada would spread to the rest of North America. One could also hold one’s breath until the sky turned green. At least in the US, we aren’t being ritually beheaded as happens in Mexico from time to time. But dead is dead and too many of us are still dying here. And being third-class citizens, if that, certainly contributes to the lack of regard the American public has towards our well-being.