Canadians: support Bill C-279 (equal rights for transgender Canadians)

I don’t know how many Canadian readers I have here, but if you’re Canadian, please support Bill C-279. Call your MP (or whatever they’re called in Canada), tell your friends on Facebook, etc. Natalie has a post on this, but I also think she did a really good job of explaining it in an e-mail she sent out to the Freethought Bloggers (which she gave us permission to quote):

Hi guys,

Normally I wouldn’t directly ask for a snork, but this one is something I feel is really important.

See, in a couple weeks, Canadian parliament is going to be debating Bill C-279, the “trans rights bill”, that will (if it passes) add gender identity and gender expression to the list of things protected under the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms.

Unfortunately, our parliament currently has a Conservative majority, and we’ve got a Conservative Prime Minister. This means the bill is very unlikely to pass.

The only way it stands any real chance is if the trans community (and their allies) can kick up enough of a fuss that it would embarrass a few Conservative MPs to support it. At present, the Canadian media has COMPLETELY IGNORED IT. The vast majority of Canadians have no idea this bill is even on the table, and don’t even know that trans people aren’t presently offered equal protection under the law. They don’t know that trans people can be turned down or fired from jobs, kicked out of shelters, barred from businesses, etc. simply for being trans. And that trans-targeted harassment and violence do not qualify as hate crimes.

Yeah. Let that sink in for a second. Trans Canadians do not have basic human rights, and nobody even knows this is happening, or know there’s a bill about to decide the issue.

If it fails to pass, it will be YEARS before the NDP are able to pull together enough support to actually get another one of the table. Years in which a lot of people will fall through the cracks of the system, a lot of people will end up on the streets, and a lot of people will die.

And again, nobody even knows.

So long as the media ignores it, and the majority of Canadians have no idea this is happening, the Tories can quietly shrug the bill off, to a complete and total absence of outrage or anger. It is ONLY by making enough noise, and getting enough people informed, such that it would politically dangerous to oppose the bill that it has ANY CHANCE of actually being passed.

So yeah… it is SUPER FUCKING IMPORTANT that as many Canadians as possible see this post, and/or know this is going on. It is super fucking important that there’s a national conversation on this. Now, I know most of you are Americans, and most of our audiences are Americans, but the more people hear about this, the more Canadians will.

So please please please try to help me spread the word. Here’s the post:

The lives and human rights of every transgender Canadian are at stake in this. MY human rights are at stake.

Thank you,

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  • Captain Mike

    At present, the Canadian media has COMPLETELY IGNORED IT.

    I’m Canadian, a member of the media and one of my wives is covering the NDP convention right now, and I’ve never heard of it. Just so everyone knows, I’m not giving these credentials as a way of denying Natalie’s outrage, but just pointing out how little press this issue has received thus far. Thanks to Mr. Hallquist* for pointing it out, but I’m annoyed that this is how I found out about it.

    * and Ms. Reed, of course.

    • Chris Hallquist

      Wow! That actually makes me feel kinda good, knowing that I managed to bring this to the attention of someone in the media.

  • andyman409

    I’m Canadian so I’ll see what I can legally do. I’ll alo inform the Mississsauga Freethought association of this. Fortunately, our prime Minister just so happens to be a transgender Canadian himself :)

  • lordshipmayhem

    To follow this case, the Government of Canada website is here.
    I’ll let my MP know I support this bill. He’ll probably support it anyway, as he’s from the same party as the MP who introduced the bill. I’ll probably have to remind him later, as I bet he forgets it’s there.
    If this survives Second Reading, then it’ll head to committee. The most likely committee for this to go to is Justice and Human Rights, as it involves human rights. The next step after that is Third Reading. Then it has to go through the Senate, which may or may not pass it as is, but where the procedures are almost the same as the House. They could make changes to it that’ll have to be reconciled with the Commons version of the bill. Or they could fall asleep in their cocoa (Canada’s Senate has a reputation for being filled with superannuated politicians).
    In short, it takes a loooong time to pass a piece of legislation in Canada. That bill to fix the issue with same-sex marriages to non-residents? It, too, is at exactly the same stage despite having the support of all parties, being pushed to be fast-tracked and being a Government bill to boot. This is classified as a “private members bill”.
    If you want a bill passed, and you’re not the Prime Minister, you need a lot of constituents of the parliamentarians likely to vote against this bill to remind their PM who he/she’s working for.

  • Dale
  • Shawn

    FYI, the linkk to Natalie’s post doesn’t work. Off to find it..