November 20 is the annual Trans Day of Remembrance, a day dedicated to transgender, transsexual, and two-spirit individuals who have been killed or have been victims of violent attacks based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. Sadly, these kinds of attacks are all too frequent and transgender peoples have no legislated protection.
A recent development in the eight-year battle for legislated recognition saw Bill C-279 passed by the House of Commons in March. The private member’s bill aims to provide protection by proposing to recognize gender identity and gender expression as groups under Canada’s Criminal Code hate crimes section, and provide trans individuals protection under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The bill was set to pass third and final reading in the senate until Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament this fall, an unnecessary legislative hurdle that will set the bill back several months at a minimum.
Bill C-279 has been reinstated in the Senate but is back at first reading. It’s unclear when debate at second reading will begin. You can do your part to ensure your Senator votes in favour of this critical piece of legislation. Contact your Senator today.
In the meantime, PSAC members are gathered in Toronto this week for the PSAC National Equity Conferences, an opportunity for our members to continue the important activism of the union, including raising awareness and mobilizing for trans rights. To follow updates throughout the week, visit psacunion.ca or follow #psacequity on Twitter.