Canada Moves Forward to Ban Transgender Discrimination

feature image via The Telegraph

Justin Trudeau Says Canada Must Demand “True Equality”

+ Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced legislation on Monday to protect trans people from hate speech and discrimination. “We must continue to demand true equality,” Trudeau said in a speech at a Montreal event hosted by gay rights group Foundation Emergence. “We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions, and we must work diligently to close the gap between our principles and our reality.” With a liberal majority in the House of Commons, the legislation is most likely to pass. Bill C-16 would add gender identity alongside race, religion, age, sex and sexual orientation under the Canadian Human Rights Act and add transgender people to a list of groups protected under the Criminal Code.

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Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould officially introduced the legislation today in Parliament surrounded by trans rights advocates. “No one should be refused a job, disadvantaged in the workplace, be unable to access services or be the target of harassment and violence because of their gender identity or gender expression,” said Wilson-Raybould. This is really awesome and the U.S. should take note!

All About Bathroom Bills

+ Eleven protestors were arrested yesterday at North Carolina’s Legislative building. They stormed the office of the House clerk demanding they meet with a legislative leader to discuss HB2.

+ Police officers in North Carolina won’t be enforcing HB2 because they’re not even sure how to enforce it. 

+ The federal government won’t be withholding federal funds from North Carolina just yet because it still needs to play out in court, said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

+ The Massachusetts Senate advanced a trans-inclusive public accommodations bill, sending it to the House of Representatives to be reviewed. It would ensure customers couldn’t be turned away because they’re transgender and making sure trans people can use the restroom that matches their gender.

+ The Transgender Law Center filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of a transgender boy in Wisconsin who has been denied access to the boy’s restroom at his high school.

Law & Order

+ A Colorado judge ruled Robert Lewis Dear Jr., the man who went on a rampage at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood that left three dead, isn’t competent to stand trial. Forensic psychologists ruled Dear’s beliefs that the federal government was persecuting Christians and targeting him for surveillance demonstrated he’s not competent to stand trial. He faces 179 criminal counts, including murder and attempted murder and for now will not immediately stand trial. Dear will be sent to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo to be treated for a delusional disorder until the court sees fit he’s ready for a trial.

+ Jian Ghomeshi, a former radio host who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault and harassment, no longer faces any more criminal charges. His second sexual assault trial was slated to begin in June but the plantiff decided not to go through a demanding, difficult trial so she withdrew. Ghomeshi signed a peace bond at Toronto’s Old City Hall courthouse and that was it.

+ A UK court rejected a married Indian lesbian couple’s request to stay in the UK citing India’s lack of same-sex marriage violated their human rights. This is the first time a same-sex couple has tried to get legal permission to say in the UK by citing their same-sex partnership. The couple has lived legally in the UK for years. They emigrated from India as friends in 2007 and then developed a relationship while studying in Scotland in 2008. They married in 2015. Judges at the court of appeal rejected their application because “returning them home would not be a violation of their right to a family life and would be proportionate on the basis of the United Kingdom’s right to immigration control and a lack of evidence that the couple will suffer violence on return.” One of the women in the suit said:

“My wife means the world to me, we are well integrated into UK culture and can live openly as a married couple here. At the end of the day all we want is to live somewhere where our marriage is recognised as having the same legal status as a heterosexual marriage.”

She added: “In India we wouldn’t be allowed to live together or see each other. I can’t imagine life without my wife. The expression of our love for each other is being snatched away from us. It’s a very scary thought.”

+ A calligraphy studio in Phoenix is suing the city over their LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. The two Christian women behind Brush & Nib, a calligraphy studio which sell paintings and calligraphy for weddings and events, believe the ordinance could be used to punish them if they choose not to cater to same-sex couples, thus violating their religious freedom. The business argues since calligraphy is art, it should be considered free speech and shouldn’t be censored or controlled by the government.

International News

+ Norway is considering a bill that would simplify the process of changing one’s legal gender to the equivalent of changing their legal name. The process would only require a form and would also allow parents to change the gender of their child as young as six while teenagers over 16 don’t need parental consent to change their gender. Currently the country requires trans people to jump through various hoops in order to change their legal gender like showing proof of their gender change and undergoing psych/medical evaluations.

Activists from of the lebanese LGBT community take part in a protest outside the Hbeish police station in Beirut on May 15, 2016, demanding the release of four transsexual women and calling for the abolishment of article 534 of the Lebanese Penal code, which prohibits having sexual relations that "contradict the laws of nature". / AFP / European Commission / ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

+ About 50 LGBT activists gathered outside of the Hbeish police station in Beirut, Lebanon and staged a rare protest demanding the abolition of a law that criminalizes homosexuality and the release of four detained trans women. The last LGBT protest was held in 2012. The event was organized by the Helem association.

+ Bangladesh police arrested a suspect who may have been involved in the murder of an LGBT magazine editor and activist, Xulhaz Mannan and his friend, Tonoy Mahbub. The suspect, Shariful Islan Shihab was a former member of a banned Islamic group who then joined another militant group, Ansarullah Bangla Team in 2015. The Associated Press reports: “He said Shihab told police during questioning that he took part in stabbing to death Mannan and his friend as ordered by his group’s high command. There was no independent confirmation of the police officer’s claim.”

+ Mariela Castro, President Raul Castro’s daughter, led Cuba’s largest Pride parade ever to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

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Dilma Rousseff

+ Brazil’s first woman president Dilma Rousseff was suspended last Thursday and is now undergoing an impeachment trial. She has been replaced by Vice President Michel Temer, who immediately unveiled an entirely new cabinet made up of all white men which is bad news for a country who is predominantly black or mixed race and has more female voters than male voters. In large part, Rousseff was suspended because of sexism. Before the Senate voted to suspend Rousseff, the lower-chamber voted to impeach her in April, with many holding up signs that said “bye, dear.” And in March during an investigation of the former President, wire-taps of phone conversations of top politicians revealed their use of sexist and vulgar language to describe women including Rousseff.

“There has been, mixed in all of this, a large amount of prejudice against women,” Rousseff said at a news conference last month, as reported by Reuters. “There are attitudes toward me that there would not be with a male president.”

Technically, Rousseff is being accused of “misappropriation of funds to cover budget gaps and boost confidence in Brazil’s failing economy.” However corruption is rife in the country and many of the men in Temer’s cabinet and also Temer himself are suspected of corruption but have never been impeached or tried.

Garbage News

+ In December, a man ordered a Muslim woman to take off her hijab and saying “This is America!” while on a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Albuquerque and when she didn’t comply he pulled it off her, exposing her head . The man plead guilty in the District of New Mexico for “using force or threat of force to intentionally obstruct a Muslim woman … in the free exercise of her religious beliefs.”

+ George Zimmerman, the man who killed 17-year-old unarmed Trayvon Martin and was not found guilty in his murder, tried to sell the gun used to kill the teenager on two different gun websites. The websites decided to take down Zimmerman’s posts and didn’t want to be involved with selling the firearm. On both websites Zimmerman provided a sickening description of the gun: “I am honored and humbled to announce the sale of an American firearm icon,” the websites said. “The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin on 2/26/2012.”

Grab Bag

+ Austin LGBT advocates are pushing for rainbow-colored gay pride crosswalks to be implemented in the city’s warehouse district where the majority of gay nightclubs reside.

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+ Immigration activists and trans advocates began a hunger strike to protest the detention of undocumented transgender immigrants and to pressure Santa Ana officials to end their contract to house federal immigration detainees in the city jail. Trans women face disproportionate amounts of violence while in immigration detention centers and currently there are 27 trans women detained at Santa Ana’s jail. There are three initial hunger strikers Jorge Gutierrez, director of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement.; Jennicet Gutiérrez, a trans Latina activist who made headlines for interrupting Obama’s remarks during a LGBT celebration and Deyaneira Garcia, a senior at Segerstrom High School.

+ West Point won’t be punishing any of the black women students who posed in their gray dress uniforms with their raised fists.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. This is Awesome News… If things go bad for the USA i might become move to Ireland or Canada.. I am hoping good for the USA. BUT if not i will strongly think about leaving here. The rights here need to change, I mean Seriously change. Thank you very much for this news. Thank you.

  2. “…the federal government was persecuting Christians and targeting him for surveillance.” But there’s a lot of Americans that think the same crap, this means that all of them are incompetent? I personally think that’s right, but a judge to say so? That’s big.

    Another detail on Michel Temer’s cabinet is the place he gave to evangelists (particularly to members of the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus). He even tried to make a preacher from that church the Minister of Science and Technology, the scientific community opposed and he had to settled with Minister of industry. Let’s just say that those fuckers are as crazy as your American evangelists.

    And in keeping with the good news, let’s all sing along…

  3. As a Brazilian, I feel the comments about the impeachment charge weren’t well researched. Blaming the fact that she was impeached because she was a woman was in large part of a manipulation attempt on Rousseff’s to get other countries to look well on her. While there is no doubt the coverage has had a large amount of sexism thrown at her, she’s involved in several corruptions schemes. If she hadn’t been suspended for this charge, there would be others accusations.

    There’s a very complex and long history about trials against politicians in the country. While this is the first time something this big came out of it, we have corruption trials every couple of years, and most of the time they manage to cover things up or group themselves together so that they all come off innocent.

    I am in no way supporting Temer. His cabinet is absolutely awful. I don’t think there is a single good or non-corrupt person, so honestly i don’t hope much will come out of the oust of the president.

    I hope I don’t come off as being mean. If so, I apologize. I’m really tired of dealing with this, but there doesn’t seem to be many international reports that are covering it well.

  4. I’m glad to see the Santa Ana hunger strike over transgender immigrant detention mentioned here on Autostraddle, though not glad that such measures are proving necessary. We must stand with our trans herman@s! #Not1More

    Also, here is a petition to the Santa Ana city council asking them to end the arrangement with ICE, in case anyone would like to sign it. There are different versions for people who live in Santa Ana and people who live elsewhere.

    http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/santa-ana-90-days/

  5. YAY CANADA!!!

    This day has been a LONG time coming. Many of the provincial level Human Rights Codes already protect against harassment and discrimination based on gender identity, but it’s about time the federal legislation kept up.

    Also, it’s worth noting, this is not the first time this legislation has been introduced in the House of Commons, but the SEVENTH. But the six previous attempts all failed, because they were introduced by the NDP, who were not the governing party. So while I know we are all applauding Justin Trudeau for finally getting this done, let’s not forget who’s been fighting this fight for a long, long time already. And let’s also keep in mind that while Bill C-16 will most likely pass the House, it’s gotta get passed the Senate as well, and the current Senate is still chock full of a bunch of Conservative appointees (yes, Americans, in Canada we have an appointed Senate, and yes, it is still a point of contention).

    • Yep, the last attempt at passing this legislation failed because Senator Plett added a poison pill bathroom amendment to the bill, so clearing the senate will still be a major hurdle.

  6. If you are a Christian and you are convicted that the sexuality acceptable to God is between a husband and wife, then you are guilty of “discrimination” and your beliefs are criminal.

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