Did you know that Canada still has no federal law prohibiting discrimination against transgender people? While the Canadian Human Rights Act forbids discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, nationality, disability, marital status and sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are not included.
Last year, Bill C-279 was introduced to ensure that transgender people are protected from discrimination as well. But until it passes, trans Canadians are still subject to prejudice in employment, housing, and public accommodations. They’re also not considered an identifiable group in the provisions against advocating genocide and public incitement of hatred, which already include race, religion and sexual orientation. Further, the sentencing principles for bias-motivated crimes fail to mention gender identity or gender expression. Trans people are not currently covered by any of these laws, and this won’t change unless Bill C-279 is passed.
Imagine being turned down everywhere you apply for a job – not because of your qualifications, but simply because of who you are. Or imagine not being able to find a home because people can openly discriminate against you for being trans. Imagine being kicked out of restaurants because of who you are. Imagine not even being able to use public restrooms because of who you are. Imagine not being able to find a doctor who’s willing to treat you. That is the everyday reality faced by trans people, and they have no legal recourse against any of this.
Bill C-279 could finally put an end to that, but it’s received practically no coverage in the media. If you want to do something about this, call your Member of Parliament and explain to them why this matters. Sign the petition at Change.org, and spread the word about this bill to everyone you know. Protection from discrimination is crucial in allowing every citizen to have a fair shot at achieving their full potential, without being held back by anyone’s prejudice. We should all be able to participate in society on an equal footing, regardless of how we identify. Do the right thing, and get Bill C-279 passed.