What they’re saying
“The bill will add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act and to the Criminal Code sections regarding hate crimes and sentencing provisions, providing explicit protection for transgender and transsexual Canadians from discrimination in all areas of federal jurisdiction.
Transsexual and transgender Canadians face significant prejudice in their daily lives. Whether it is job discrimination, access to housing and public services, especially health care, problems with identity documents, difficulties with law enforcement officials, a high suicide rate, or the increased likelihood that they will be victims of violence, the situation of transsexual and transgender people demands our attention.
The bill would give transsexual and transgender Canadians direct access to the protections provided for in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada that they so urgently need.
I look forward to seeing the bill debated this fall in the next round of private members’ business. Given that transgender and transsexual folks are members of our families, our friends, our co-workers, and our neighbours, I hope this measure will find support in all corners of the House.”
— Bill Siksay, introducing the bill in the House, May 15th, 2009
“For merely challenging society’s expectations of what is expected of males and females, transgender individuals are often misunderstood and subject to fear and discrimination. Transgender and gender-variant individuals suffer disproportionately higher rates of discrimination, unemployment, denial of services, addictions, infectious disease, depression and suicide. Trans persons are too frequently the victims of verbal and physical attacks that can occur at any time and place, including the workplace. This bill will contribute to addressing this discrimination.”
— Victoria Stuart, chair, Trans Alliance Society
“Finally, we will be recognized in the eyes of the law as full persons — the full persons we always were.”
— Érica Poirier, chair, Coalition des transsexuelles et transsexuels du Québec (CTTQ)
“The Association des transsexuels et transsexuelles du Québec enthusiastically supports the bill proposed by New Democrat MP Bill Siksay. It’s important for the Canadian government to take concrete political measures to recognize gender identity, to protect not only the rights of transsexual persons, but also anyone whose appearance or behaviour differs from traditionally feminine or masculine gender roles. As a transsexual man, I have to congratulate Mr. Siksay for his openness as a MP and it is my pleasure to offer my support for his work in the House of Commons.”
— Maxime Le May, chair, Association des transsexuelles et transsexuels du Québec (ATQ)
“This bill […] is an essential step in providing protection to a highly marginalized population and will afford opportunities for redress should they be discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity or expression. This legislation is necessary to both protect and empower a highly marginalized community which is often economically and socially vulnerable.
Societal transphobia leads to frequent mistreatment of transgender people and loved ones by health and social service providers, employers, landlords, or others in positions of power. […]The appalling conditions described above exist despite the current non-explicit protections offered by the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. As I am sure you will agree, this fact clearly indicates the urgent need to enact explicit legal protections for trans people in Canada. […] Equally important, we believe that the amendment of the Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code conveys a strong message that Canada recognizes and values transgendered citizens and will not tolerate discrimination or hate crimes based on gender identity or expression.
The CPATH Advocacy Committee urges the parliament of Canada to adopt the Bill C-389, to ensure that the rights of transgendered Canadians are protected.”
— Kris Sutherland, advocacy committee co-chair, and Marria Townsend, advocacy committee past chair, Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health
“The Conseil québécois des gais et lesbiennes (CQGL) invites [MPs] to vote in favour of Bill C-389… For transgender and transsexual persons, this bill is extremely important because it will finally grant them legal recognition protecting them from discrimination in federal areas of jurisdiction, and allow hate crimes against them to be considered aggravated the same way as those motivated by race, sexual orientation, and the like.
We remind you that transgender and transsexual people suffer well-documented discrimination at work, in obtaining housing, and in using health care and other services that other Canadians take for granted. This is why the 2000 La Forest report recommeded explicit protection for trans Canadians in the Canadian Human Rights Act.”
— Steve Foster, President, Conseil québécois des gais et lesbiennes
“It is incomprehensible why one of the most discriminated populations in the country… has yet to be recognized in human rights legislation. [As they are] marginalized at every turn, from housing to employment, from health care to public safety, the inclusion in human rights legislation of trans Canadians and others who identify with and express their gender beyond the strictly biological, is long overdue…. It is through the strength, perseverance and determination of the trans communities that [this bill has] come forth. If passed, such legislation will not only provide the human rights recognition and protection trans people need and deserve, but help to educate the public to be more accepting of them as part of our highly diversified nation.”
— Nick Mulé, founder, Queer Ontario
“The City of Vancouver believes Bill C-389 to be an essential measure to protect its residents from any and all forms of discrimination, harassment, or violence and enable those residents to contribute their gifts, talents, and skills to the fullest extent.
Therefore be it resolved that the City of Vancouver supports Bill C-389 and calls on Members of Parliament to recognize it as a necessary measure to ensure the health and well-being of the citizens and residents of Canada and the wider health of its cities and communities.”
— Resolution adopted by Vancouver City Council, November 16, 2010
“[C-389] gives all people, whatever their gender identity or gender expression, the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of gender non-conformity. Among other things, it protects lesbian women who look ‘too butch,’ and it would protect gay men who are ‘too femme’. It would also protect trans people who don’t ‘look like’ the gender that they identify with. The addition of protection on the basis of gender identity and gender expression protects all of us who might be targeted for hatred or discrimination on that basis. It does not give any group ‘more rights’ than anyone else.”
— Human rights lawyer barbara findlay
The bill was jointly seconded by twelve MPs from two parties:
From the NDP:
Megan Leslie, Halifax, NS Joe Comartin, Windsor–Tecumseh, ON Wayne Marston, Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON Jack Layton, Toronto—Danforth, ON Don Davies, Vancouver Kingsway, BC Libby Davies, Vancouver East, BC Peter Stoffer, Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS Jean Crowder, Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC Olivia Chow, Trinity—Spadina, ON
From the Liberals:
Larry Bagnell, Yukon, YT Rob Oliphant, Don Valley West, ON Bob Rae, Toronto Centre, ON