Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians experience a great deal of discrimination that impacts their health, safety and economic status.
While Sexual Orientation is protected under both the Canadian Human Rights Act and the British Columbia Human Rights Code, there is no such language protecting Gender Identity and Expression. Similarly, violence based on Sexual Orientation is classified as a hate crime but violence based on Gender Identity is not.
While legislation was passed in the House of Commons that would correct this gross oversight, unelected senators blocked the bill for two years before ultimately amending it to include language that would make it a felony for Transgender and Gender-Variants to use public restroom facilities that match their true Gender Identity and Expression.
There have been some advances made within Vancouver towards addressing inequality towards the Transgender and Gender-Variant communities. After lengthy public consultation, the Vancouver School Board made universal restroom facilities mandatory throughout the school district, and the Parks Board has conducted similar consultation with the Trans* and Gender-Variant Working Group to begin to make similar changes to parks facilities.
This is an important moment for LGBTQ+ rights in Canada, and it is essential that all Canadians stand together to guarantee a just society for all. Canada needs equal protection for Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians now, at all levels of government and it’s up to Canadians to reach out to their representatives to demand change.