Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bill C-389: Canadian LGBT folk, have you been calling or writing your MP?

This is a guest post from Mercedes Allen of Dented Blue Mercedes

I received a comment this evening, indicating that Bill C-389 would be likely coming up for discussion in the next month in Parliament:

“Developed in consultation with trans rights groups, Bill C-389, proposed by New Democrat MP Bill Siksay, would add gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code, alongside prohibited grounds of discrimination such as race, religion, and sexual orientation.”

This is essentially employment / housing non-discrimination and hate crimes inclusion in one bill. You can visit billc389.wordpress.com to follow the progress of the bill as this comes nearer to discussion.  I’ve previously written about this bill, with details for those who are interested in more information.  Despite a common misconception, it is a Private Member’s Bill, and therefore did not die when Parliament was prorogued.  It entered first reading in May of last year, and second reading hasn’t been put on the calendar yet, but should be shortly (when it does, the details will be entered here).

To help, find out who your Member of Parliament is, and call or write (don’t email at this point, because some MPs delete them without reading).  There has been some support expressed from members of all parties, so don’t assume that if your MP is from x party then it’s pointless to call.

And don’t forget to contact other allies and have them do the same.

To find out who transgender people are and why you should support equal rights protections for them, you can visit albertatrans.org, Press For Change’s (UK) “Engendered Penalties: Transgender and Transsexual People’s Experiences of Inequality and Discrimination,” EgaleCanada’s Trans resource, Gender.org, and I can locate more if you like.

If you’re part of a trans or LGBT organization looking for an info brochure that you can hand out to educate people on transsexuality (where much of this legislation becomes crucial), I have a printable brochure available online, free to print and use.

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NEW: Do you have a story of trans-related discrimination at your job or public accommodations?  Have you ever been assaulted for being trans?

Tell me your story in a couple paragraphs, and let me know a name or nick that you’d like attributed.  I’ll do my best to post them here, where people can refer, to see and/or show exactly why passing this bill is important.