OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Trans issues
Slap reader Paul has written in with some good news coming out of Nova Scotia. The province passed its Transgendered Persons Protection Act on Friday, explicitly protecting trans Nova Scotians from housing and employment discrimination. The bill still requires royal assent before becoming law, but there’s nothing to worry about there. I’ve yet to see the terms “queen” and “denied GLBT rights” appear alongside each other.
Let’s do some quick word association. When I say “gender identity,” say the first thing tha—OMG TOILETS!!!!
I’m not exactly sure where Ontario’s fringe Family Coalition Party gets its funding, considering they routinely get less than a quarter of a percent of the popular vote, but they seem to have enough resources to design and distribute some rather astonishing flyers equating the passage of a bill adding gender identity to the human rights code with bathroom predators.
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo’s Bill 33, which passed in June, finally updated the Ontario human rights code to explicitly include trans Canadians in its existing protections. I guess the Family Coalition Party isn’t too happy about it, though, judging from the flyers distributed across Cheri’s riding. Referring to the bill as “The Bathroom Bill,” the party accuses DiNovo of enabling child predators by letting “a man who calls himself transgendered” to enter women’s washrooms, threatening “the lives of girls and women by putting them at greater risk from male sexual predators.”
Uh, they do realize that sexual predatory behaviour—especially toward minors—is already illegal, right? Do they seriously think this bill opened some kind of loophole here?
DiNovo, of course, sees the attack for what it is. “The transphobic message of the flyer is that trans folk are, in essence, pedophiles,” she told the media. “The whole structure of their argument is ludicrous unless you understand that basic message: there’s no such thing as a trans person; there’s just male pedophiles dressed as women.”
Bravo, Cheri. Now don’t waste any more time on these kooks and their crazy flyers.
The province of Nova Scotia has refused to pay for a trans man’s hysterectomy, leaving him with a surprise $3,400 bill.
After experiencing some abdominal pain, Jessiah MacDonald was told that his uterus had several abnormal polyps and was recommended by a gynecologist that it be removed for preventative measures. He took his doctor’s advice (as most people should), but was told after the operation that he would have to pay for the procedure out-of-pocket because the province doesn’t pay for sex reassignment surgery.
“I felt it was wrong because despite my gender, I still have pieces of my body and if a piece of my body gets sick, I expect it to be treated as any other piece,” Jessiah told the media in an interview.
Canada has universal health care, which means that provinces typically pay for all medical bills, but sex reassignment is still considered cosmetic or unnecessary by some jurisdictions. Nova Scotia is obviously one of the provinces with this outdated view, but also apparently hasn’t considered the possibility that not all uterine surgery on trans people is related to sex reassignment.
Jessiah has now filed a human rights complaint against Nova Scotia’s Department of Health and Wellness.
Trans Pride Canada has released a pretty thorough style guide that should assist media writers when writing about trans issues in Canada. As someone who has been on the receiving end of offended readers’ wrath for confusing terms like “gender” and “sex,” please accept my Ultra Thanks 3000™, Trans Pride Canada!
Jenna Talackova, the trans beauty contestant that was booted from the Miss Universe Canada pageant for being born a male, has been allowed to re-enter the contest as long as she meets the Canadian legal definition of a woman, which I believe she does. This is a pretty big, visible step for trans recognition, so congrats to Jenna! Here’s hoping the owner of the pageant franchise—a certain Donald—doesn’t Trump this decision.
Jenna Talackova, a contestant in this year’s Miss Universe Canada pageant, has been disqualified from the competition after organisers discovered that she’s trans.
Pageant judges selected Talackova from numerous other applicants to compete in the finals for the Donald Trump-owned competition, but after Denis Davilla, one of the directors, had suspicions that she didn’t meet the requirements of being a “naturally born female,” he asked her about her history. After confirming she was born a male, Jenna was pulled from the competition that same day.
Personally, I don’t get it. It’s a beauty contest. Judges thought she was beautiful enough to advance to the finals. What’s the problem, exactly?
Perhaps she may not have fared well during the portion of the competition where contestants demonstrate a live birth, but otherwise she clearly had the looks and determination to win.
Give ’em hell, Jenna!
- Transgender beauty queen kicked out of Miss Universe [Daily Mail]
A bill protecting the trans community from employment and housing discrimination in Ontario is expected to be introduced in the provincial legislature today. This will be the fourth time the bill has been introduced, but its odds are actually looking pretty good this time around. You know what they say: Fourth time’s even charmier!
The subject of Canada’s new trans-unfriendly airport screening regulations was brought up in the House of Commons during question period this week. Check out these videos of Randall Garrison and Dany Morin speaking in support of trans Canadians amidst jeers from the Conservative party, as well as a clip from Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, who demonstrates his commitment by using a phenomenal female voice.
New airport screening rules introduced by the Harper Conservatives appears to have the side-effect of banning trans Canadians from flying entirely. Section 5.2(1)C of the Aeronautics Act now states that anyone who “does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents” is barred from flying. While I doubt this was a deliberate action against trans Canadians, it certainly demonstrates that they aren’t in the government’s consciousness. (Well, either that, or they really, really like trans Canadians and never want them leave.)
The National Post, Canada’s largest right-leaning national newspaper, has apologised for publishing a transphobic advertisement from the Institute for Canadian Values, headed by anti-gay lobbyist Charles McVety. The ad—which pretends to be written by a doe-eyed, four-year-old girl—is headed by the phrase “Please! Don’t confuse me!”
“I’m a girl,” it reads. “Don’t teach me to question if I’m a boy, transsexual, transgendered, intersexed or two spirited.”
The ad was created as opposition to new anti-bullying measures being implemented in the Ontario school curriculum. The measures were created to foster an atmosphere of tolerance for anyone who doesn’t fit in with a simple gender-binary, heterosexual identity.
Despite McVety’s hysteria, medical and psychological organisations continue to scoff at the notion that there is any danger of children “choosing” to change their sex or sexual orientation as a result of an open, tolerant curriculum.
After legitimate outcry, the National Post issued an apology promising not to run the advertisement again and admitting that the ad breached limits of taste. Calling the ad “manipulative,” the newspaper said it will be donating the revenue from the advertisement to “an organisation that promotes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people.”
The Toronto SUN also published the ad, without apology.
- An apology from the National Post [National Post]
- Post runs homobphobic, transphobic election ad from right-wing group [Toronto Openfile]
The Trails End Farmer’s Market in London, Ontario is the subject of a human rights complaint after the market owner forced a vendor to remove a trans employee from their stand.
Karen Clarke, owner of the True 2 You candle company, said she was shocked to have received a call from Trails End demanding that she either fire a trans employee, or take her business to another market. “He said [the trans employee] made everyone uncomfortable,” Karen told the media. “‘It’s just not a family place’—he kept repeating that over and over again.”
Ed Kikkert, owner of the market, defended his actions to the media: “I’m not discriminating at all,” he said. “I’m just asking which washroom would they use?” He continued, “How can you go into a men’s washroom dressed as a lady, how can you go into the ladies washroom when you’re a man; that’s the difficulty I have. It’s not discriminating at all.”
That’s a defense? Yeah, good luck with that one in front of the human rights commission.
A petition has been started to boycott the Trails End market, which already has over 4,000 signatures.
Australia has adopted new passport regulations that allow trans citizens to select the gender with which they best identify.
Until last week, all people had to either list their birth gender (or assigned gender, if their birth gender was indeterminate), or undergo a full sex change operation if they wished to list their identified gender. Since some trans people can’t undergo sex reassignment surgery for medical reasons, this resulted in mismatches and holdups at borders.
In addition to the policy change, a new gender type called ‘X’ can be used for anyone whose gender has been indeterminate from birth or was assigned arbitrarily.
This is definitely a step in the right direction, although I’m not particularly sure why passports need to list gender in the first place. At least not since the miraculous technical advancement known as photography was made widely available sometime in the last couple of years (give or take two hundred).
Incidentally, legal changes to gender identity in Canada is provincial jurisdiction, with Canadian passports reflecting the provincial status. All provinces allow for legal changes to gender identity, but with different rules. The United States, it turns out, is currently mulling changes similar to those of Australia.
(Very special acknowledgments will now be issued to the astute Slap readers who alerted me to this story! Thanks, Matthew… Thatthew. Also: Thanks, Dana… Thana.)
- Transsexual Aussies like new passport changes [Herald Sun]
- US unveils new passport rules for transgender people [News.com.au]
Canada will be heading to the polls on May 2nd to hopefully vote out a government that has made repeated attempts to deny equal rights to GLBT Canadians.
Regardless of the outcome of the election, though, it has a disappointing side effect: Bill C-389, NDP MP Bill Siksay’s private member’s bill that would guarantee the equal rights of trans Canadians, has been killed on the table. The bill, which previously passed all three readings in the House of Commons (despite near-unanimous opposition from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives), had not yet passed the Senate when this spring’s election was called.
It’s a little sad, particularly since this was Siksay’s last term as an MP, so he won’t be around to personally re-introduce the bill in the next parliament or see it passed on his watch. There is a good chance it will be re-introduced, though—and private member’s bills often resume where they left off after an election, so it’s basically just a question of who’s going to sponsor the bill.
To make it fun, I’ll be accepting Vegas odds on Stephen Harper. Takers?
- Transgender rights bill killed by election [Burnaby Now]
Canada’s historic trans rights bill, C-389, passed its third and final reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
The bill, sponsored by NDP MP Bill Siksay, explicitly adds gender identity to the list of identifiable groups protected against discrimination in housing, employment, and services in the Canadian Human Rights Act. While that’s excellent news, what’s not so excellent was the bill’s narrow vote margin: 143 to 135 against.
So, which party had the most Nay votes, I ask uselessly?
Why, it’s the Conservatives. In fact, only six Tory MPs present on Wednesday voted in favour of the bill, with the rest voting against it (either explicitly or through pairing). The Nay votes included Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who until Wednesday hadn’t previously voted on the bill.
I guess that means we shouldn’t be holding our breath for his It Gets Better video.
The bill now moves on to the Conservative-controlled senate, where it’s future is a tad uncertain. Nonetheless, trans Canadians have a reason to celebrate this week. Enjoy the victory; finally the missing T is well on its way to be added to the existing equal rights protections for GLB Canadians!
Bill C-389, which would add protections for gender identity in Canada’s human rights laws, is being given a stronger chance of passing thanks to NDP MP, Olivia Chow.
Chow has traded debating spots with the bill’s sponsor, NDP MP Bill Siksay, pushing the bill’s third reading vote to this Wednesday instead of much later. Talk of a spring election previously put the bill in jeopardy, since an election would effectively kill all unfinished bills on the table.
“[It’s] important to get the trans bill voted on at third reading and have it done just in case…” Chow told Xtra this week. “Also, Bill is not running again, and I want to make sure that the trans bill becomes law, and that will be part of his legacy.”
The bill had been aggressively attacked by anti-gay lobbyists, with one even suggesting that it would lead to cross-dressing serial killers showering next to young girls in public pools. In reality, the bill simply affords equal rights protections with respect to housing, employment, and services for trans Canadians.
The bill has previously passed two readings, but still faces a third before it’s sent to the Senate. Here’s hoping for a speedy passage!
Charles McVety, the president of Canada Family Action Coalition, Canada’s largest anti-gay lobby group, has ramped up his opposition to Bill C-389. The bill, if passed, will prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, giving transgendered men and women equal rights in housing, employment, and public services.
This, of course, has thrown McVety into utter fits, conjuring some pretty bizarre ideas. “As adults,” he told the media, “we can handle these things, but my daughter turned 13 on Saturday, and I don’t want some guy showering beside her at the local swimming pool.”
McVety continued, saying that the bill would allow people like convicted killer Russell Willams, who was photographed wearing women’s lingerie, to enter gender-restricted spaces.
Well, I hate to alarm McVety, but convicted killers can already enter locker rooms in public pools. Karla Homolka could be in his daughter’s locker room right now. Heck, there could be murderers in the men’s locker room too. Who knows who’s waiting to jump out from behind the shower curtains? No one is safe from the these maniac killers—no one! What was that sound?! AAAAAH!
Bill Siksay, the Bill’s sponsor, put it eloquently: “I think this is Mr. McVety being his alarmist best, once again, when it comes to an issue of human rights, equal rights, for minorities in Canada.” Clarifying the obvious, Siksay continued: “There is nothing in this bill that will change our understanding of appropriate behaviour in public washrooms or in gendered spaces.”
Indeed, transgendered people can largely already use the gendered spaces with which they identify, and it hasn’t even entered my mind that they’d somehow be any more likely to be voyeurs or act inappropriately than anyone else. Bill C-389 is simply about ending discrimination, particularly with regards to employment and other standard rights. And as it enters its third and final reading, things are looking promising, regardless of whatever paranoia McVety is content on spreading.
- Evangelical leader accuses Tories of helping push NDP bill on gender [Globe and Mail]
A private member’s bill that would explicitly add human rights protections for transgender and transsexual persons has made it past second reading in the House of Commons this month.
This is the third time that Bill Siksay has attempted to add these protections into Canada’s Human Rights Act and Criminal Code. The previous attempts had been thwarted when parliament was strategically suspended by the Conservative Party, once for an election, and again when parliament was prorogued in January.
The bill has support from every party, except the Conservatives, who are arguing that protections for trans people are already covered by existing clauses preventing discrimination based on sex and disability. Siksay, as well as I, believe that these protections need to be explicit. This will not only remove any doubt for interpretation, should these protections ever be brought before a judge, but also sends a message to trans people that they are recognized and valued in Canada. But something tells me that the Conservatives aren’t really against what they perceive as redundancies; they just don’t typically like to be seen supporting rights for GLBT Canadians.
Having passed second reading is a really encouraging milestone, and a good indication that this bill might actually make it all the way through this time. Best of luck with the bill, Bill!
A very special hat tip goes to Slap reader Melanie for the story.
The St. Albert Catholic School Board has fired a transgendered substitute teacher for being, well, transgenered.
The teacher’s union representing Mr. Jan Buterman has filed a human rights complaint over the firing, with incontrovertible evidence of workplace discrimination. “Since you made a personal choice to change your gender,” a letter received from the school board to Mr. Buterman reads, “we have to remove you from the substitute teacher list.” The letter adds that “the teaching of the Catholic Church is that persons cannot change their gender.”
Gee, they sure go through a lot of trouble to make sure students never have contact with any GLBT role models. I mean, can you imagine what would happen to the students if that were to happen? Surely one shudders at the very thought!
Say… You know, the name of the school board sounds awfully familiar to me… Oh, that’s right! It’s the one in which I spent my entire grade school education. Funny, I still turned out gay.
Now, normally religious institutions are exempt from following human rights laws, but the St. Albert Catholic School Board is publicly funded which throws a bit of a kink into that argument. I don’t know how this human rights complaint will turn out, mind you. Alberta technically does not recognize transgendered individuals in its human rights legislation (and consequently tramples over them whenever possible), but I would hope that either the board follows the same, respectful antidiscrimination laws that other publicly funded institutions are required to follow, or find private sources of funding.
(Hat tip to Mercedes Allen for the story. Read more over at Dented Blue Mercedes.)
It looks like the transgender community is being left in the dust after some government-approved language changes at Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian International Development Agency. All occurrences of “gender equality” in policy documents have been replaced with “equality of men and women,” leaving out everyone in-between.
Lindsay Mossman, a campaigner at Amnesty International, said the change is more significant than it may seem:
[Equality of men and women] is language that was used in development circles years ago. Language has progressed for reasons and moved forward and the Canadian government doesn’t seem to be reflecting [that].
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon (henceforth known as Alien Matters Manager Orderance Trebuchet) confirmed to the press (henceforth known as the ironing) that some of the wording changes did, indeed, signal a change in policy, although he wouldn’t confirm whether this change was one of them. If this is a policy change, it has implications for immigrants and refugees, as well as funding decisions for GLBT organisations. Sneaky sneaky!
- Gay Rights Groups Decry Language Changes [Embassy]
Not long after Alberta’s decision to eliminate all forms of gender reassignment surgery from its public health care, Manitoba has followed suit, calling it an “unnecessary treatment” and citing savings for the economy. The surgery would affect only an estimated 20 Manitobans per year.
The Manitoba Health Department had previously suggested to the government that the province completely fund all forms of gender reassignment surgeries on the grounds that it dramatically improves the lives of people who suffer from a recognized disorder. A document prepared by the Health Department described the necessity clearly, but was dismissed by Gary Doer’s NDP government:
Manitoba has no standards of care for Gender Identify Disorder in spite of the fact that internationally accepted standards exist. Coverage is denied on the basis that treatments are cosmetic, experimental or not medically necessary, contrary to all available evidence.
Ontario had previously tried to delist gender reassignment surgery from its public health care, but was forced to re-introduce it by the Human Rights Commission ten years ago.
- NDP denies request [Winnipeg SUN]
NDP MP Bill Siksay, fresh off of introducing the trans-friendly Bill C-389, has introduced a new bill that would ensure gender reassignment surgery is available and covered by our health care system.
Gender reassignment, though poorly understood by the general population, can radically improve the lives of transgendered individuals at a negligible cost to the health care system.
This bill would have been unnecessary, except that Alberta delisted sex reassignment surgery from public health coverage in April, claiming that it was necessary to help save the economy. Alberta officials supposedly wrote a report containing all the facts to back this claim up, but the dog ate it. Plus, there weren’t any working pens or pencils in their house. And they didn’t know it was due today, anyway.
- NDP MP Bill Siksay calls for coverage of sex reassignment surgery [The Georgia Straight]
NDP MP Bill Siksay, one of Canada’s first openly gay MPs, is once again introducing a private member’s bill to add transsexual and transgendered people to the list of minorities protected from hate crimes.
This is the third time the bill has been tabled, and Mr. Siksay has high hopes that it will actually be debated this time. The bill had been killed twice before it had an opportunity to be debated due to the dissolution and prorogation of parliament in previous sessions.
Persistence is key! Here’s hoping it gets some attention this time around.
The province of Alberta has completely eliminated all forms of gender reassignment surgery from its public health care, cloaked as a cost-saving measure to improve the economy. The surgery, which was recommended to about twelve Albertans per year, can demonstrably improve the lives of transgendered individuals at virtually no cost to the health care system.
Already, the move has sparked outrage and confusion among the transgendered community, and has some MLAs—including a Conservative backbencher—seeking answers. The move seems a tad ideological, considering the negligible cost of the services, and that the province only recently eliminated health care premiums at a cost of over a billion dollars.
Ontario had also tried de-listing gender re-assignment surgery from its public health care system, but was forced to re-introduce it by the Human Rights Commission ten years later.
- Tory MLA questions delisting of sex changes [Edmonton Journal]
- Oprah expresses interest in Canadian sex-change surgery decision [Canada.com]
Bill Siksay, the New Democratic Party MP for Burnaby-Douglas, has introduced a bill that would explicitly add transgendered people to the list of identifiable minorities protected from violent hate crimes.
This is fantastic news, if a tad later than desirable. And, for the most part, the press has reported this story with professional neutrality.
Say, let’s see how those amusingly partisan scribes at LifeSite are reporting this:
Now its the “transgendered” who are being presented as an “identifiable group” against whom it would be a criminal offence to “discriminate.” […]
The “transgender” phenomenon, it is said, occurs when a person’s personal “gender identity” does not match that “assigned” by biology, their parents, or society’s expectations. […]
While those who consider themselves “transgendered” usually claim they were “wrongly” “born into the body” of the opposite sex and that this can be “corrected” with a combination of surgery and hormone treatments, the biological sex of an individual is genetically determined from the first instant of the fusion of ovum and sperm.
Ten pairs of quotation marks used inside three sentences? Why, I believe we have a new scare quote record! I can actually taste the sneers—the contempt! Why, they even incorporated one in the article’s title: Canadian MP Introduces “Transgender” to the Hate Crimes Act.
Kudos, LifeSite. “Kudos.”
By the way, Happy New Year, kids! I’m back from my little break and I hope you all had a fantastically amazing holiday. Here’s to another great year!
- MP calls for expanded hate-crime laws [Burnaby Now]
- Siksay introduces trans hate crimes bill [Capital Xtra]
- Canadian MP Introduces “Transgender” to the Hate Crimes Act [Lifesite]