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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 20, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 21
Trudeau introduces Trans rights bill
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Trudeau introduces Trans rights bill

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced new legislation that will 'add gender identity as a prohibited ground for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to the list of distinguishing characteristics of 'identifiable group' protected by the hate speech provisions of the Criminal Code.'

Trudeau sent the measure to Parliament on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia.

The day before, the Prime Minister received the Laurent McCutcheon Award for his support for LGBT rights. The award is named for a pioneer Gay activist who served as president of the Montreal hotline Gai Écoute from 1982 until 2013.

'I believe in a Canada where men can give blood, regardless of their sexual orientation,' Trudeau said at the awards ceremony. 'Where transgender people are protected by the law.

'A Canada where all prime ministers are proud to walk with the LGBT community during gay pride parades.'

'We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions,' Trudeau added. 'And we must work diligently to close the gap between our principles and reality...

'We have worked too hard for us to stop here. Too hard to stop with the progress we have made because I sincerely believe that in Canada we can and we should do more.'

According to CBC News, Trudeau instructed Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to prepare the legislation soon after he took office last November.

Measures to include protections for Trans Canadians in the country's Human Rights Act have passed the House of Commons twice before, in 2011 and 2013, but died in the Senate. The first bill to propose Trans rights was introduced by the NDP (New Democratic Party) in 2004.

In the intervening years, most of Canada's provinces have passed their own legislation protecting gender identity. Nevertheless, federal legislation is still important, according to Canadian Trans activist Amanda Ryan.

'It will have a strong psychological impact,' she told CTV.

'There are many people who still deny that transgender people even exist or would rather not see us at all,' Marni Panas, a consultant and activist told CBC.

'And when you have a government clearly stating that transgender people are not only protected in Canada, but it says we are welcome here and that we belong here, that's an important message.'

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