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Federal trans rights bill stalled


Federal trans rights bill stalled

NDP MP Randall Garrison says that despite delays he is confident his trans rights bill will pass. IMAGE 1 OF 1
MP delay tactics force debate to be moved to Nov 27
Partisanship strikes again. The House of Commons, through some procedural one-upmanship, has forced the standing committee on justice and human rights to adjourn until Nov 27. That means the NDP's trans rights bill faces yet another hurdle.
C-279, a bill that would add gender identity to the list of protected minorities under the Human Rights Act, was scheduled to be moved back to the House Nov 22. Unfortunately for the bill's author, BC MP Randall Garrison, the Liberals forced several votes in the House that were designed to throw a wrench in the machine of the Conservative government. The Tories were trying to shut down debate in the finance committee, so the Liberals used delay tactics in the House.
It meant that, twice, the bells rang – a sign that the MPs must return to the House for a vote – forcing the committee to rise, leaving witnesses to wait for its members to return. Eventually, running short on time, the chair moved that the committee adjourn.
The committee was supposed to hear from witnesses in the first hour – including testimony from the REAL Women of Canada, who oppose the legislation – and vote on amendments in the last half.
The amendments included a compromise to get Tory support and updates to the language in the bill's French version regarding gender identity. Garrison capitulated on including "gender expression" – a term the Conservatives said was ill-defined and open to interpretation – and settled for adding just "gender identity." That, legal experts told him, would still cover all trans people.
The committee heard from a number of trans people Nov 20 who spoke about their experience, accompanied by a brief vignette from one NDP MP's experience with crossdressing for Halloween. They also heard from Ryan Dyck, director of policy and public education at Egale Canada. He took on the stance of the committee's Conservative MPs that the Human Rights Act already protects trans people. Dyck testified that he, and Egale's legal team, couldn't find a single case where a trans person had used the Human Rights Code. The committee also heard from Sara Davis Buechner, a classical pianist, who provided the committee with colourful testimony of her own past.
"We are, as we say in music, variations on a theme -- the human theme," Buechner told the committee.
It seems that those changes have secured the support of enough Conservatives on the committee to get it back to the House quickly. Garrison told Xtra that he's not just hopeful that it will get through the committee votes, but "confident."
If the bill is passed through committee, it faces a long wait before returning to the House – likely February. But Garrison has a trick up his sleeve; he's arranged to trade with another NDP MP to get his bill back before the House much sooner. And that's the big issue posed by the committee's adjournment – he had planned on getting the bill back on Nov 27, which now seems unlikely since the committee won't throw the bill back to the House until 4pm on Nov 27.
But the setback hasn't fazed Garrison.
"I'm still optimistic that we will get this through the House and then through the Senate," he says.
Garrison has been working to win over Conservatives. On second reading, 15 Conservative MPs stood to support the bill. 
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Mea Culpa
Hey Meris,

I was so immensely confused when I first read your comment, and I had to re-read the story.

The confusion is over this line, I think:

"He took on the stance of the committee's Conservative MPs that the Human Rights Act already protects trans people. Dyck testified that he, and Egale's legal team, couldn't find a single case where a trans person had used the Human Rights Code"

I wrote "took on" to imply that he challenged it. I admit that the word is a bit vague. But yes, Dyck was challenging that idea - of redundancy - not supporting it.
bad reporting.
when I first read this update, I was a little surprised to hear of Egale representative actually supporting the redundancy position.

However, on listening to the full 2hr recording of the meeting (link below), it was clear that both of the Egale representatives support the bill and that they also know their shit. Both explilcitly supported keeping gender expression in the bill.

I call on Xtra to fact check this article and add the nuance that this issue deserves.

Official recording in english:

Let's not be distracted due to concerns being raised by inaccurate reporting by Xtra. Please focus on the serious issue of gender expression being removed from the wording (very likely to happen on November 27th)- it makes the bill almost useless.
Egale: Epic Fail AGAIN?
Yet again, Egale tries to throw a large number of trans people under the proverbial bus.

It's time to clue in that Egale is as pro-trans as the hate group "REAL women of Canada" is!

Gender identity AND expression NEED to be included. Exclude one, and all a perp has to say is they were aiming at the other, NOT protected side of things.

People need protection, period. It doesn't matter if it's a Trans woman that's facing firing for daring to transition, or a drag queen being denied service at a 7-11 due to being "too flamboyant". It's ALL bullshit discrimination and only by including BOTH definitions (identity AND expression) are Trans people of ALL stripe covered.

I expect the evasions via the hate groups... But after being told Egale was entirely on board recently, this still stings, knowing they're 2 faced scumbags yet again.
Gender Expression Definitely Needs to be Protected
I know of plenty of instances when young men (specifically) have been harassed for dressing in a way that does not conform 100% to masculinist ideas (and ideals) of what a 'man' should behave or look like.

I know of one case in Sudbury where a young man was harassed because he was wearing a satchel that was interpreted to be a purse. I also know of a case from Cobourg where a young straight man was harassed because he was wearing shorts that were significantly shorter than what was fashionable at the time.

None of these instances of harassment *necessary* had to do with the young men's 'sex' (that is, their 'male' bodies) or their gender identity (their self-identification as men), or their 'sexual orientation' (since one was straight). Rather, these instances had *everything* to do with the way they they were dressed, which is a component of one's individual form of "expression" and which may or may not have been gender-driven (but which were gendered by their attackers nonetheless).

Therefore, one can't say the distinction between gender 'identity' and 'expression' is unnecessary. It is *absolutely* so, if only to be able to identify the reasons people are being harassed, assaulted, and murdered in this country -- and to develop effective ways to remedy that.
why bother then?
it concerns me that Egale presented the opinion that 'removing gender expression would not hurt the protection as it can already be covered under gender identity'. this is kinda like saying neither is needed because it is covered under sex.

discrimination against trans folks is most likely to occur do to another's perception that one is trans - and it is the expression of gender that demonstrates this. while i knew deep in my heart that i was trans for a long time (gender identity), it wasn't until i actually started the outward-facing changes (gender expression), that i personally started to face discrimination.

while i understand the idea that 'some progress is better than none' in this case, i think we'd be better off cancelling the bill until we can get it right. if ontario can include both terms, then canada should not sell us short. it would be much tougher to sell the addition of gender expression in the future, if the trans community supposedly demonstrates they are happy with just gender identity.

and hmmm, while i think the two egale reps did the best they could, i'm still not convinced they are the best entity to represent trans community.

and for the record, christin milloy, a well-known trans acvitist, has publicly stated on her blog that she had filed a federal human rights complaint against social insurance number program, re trans ID change matters, and did so under the provision of sex. so yes, there is evidence that trans folks are using the existing system - yet no evidence though, that they can win cases under existing language.
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