May 12, 2023
Not every legal development or decision with relevance for 2SLBGTQI people in Canada makes the front page. To make it easier for community members and advocates to keep up with legal news in Canada and around the world, Egale publishes a monthly roundup of case law and news items related to 2SLGBTQI people and issues.
Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) opens public consultations on the removal of Fox News from Canadian television in response to Egale’s application
- In early April, Egale published an open letter calling on the CRTC to hold public consultations on the removal of Fox News from the list of non-Canadian stations authorized for broadcast in Canada.
- On May 3, the CRTC opened a Part 1 Application (2023-0210-8 – Egale Canada) for the removal of Fox News from that list. The public can submit comments until June 2, 2023.
- Fox regularly violates Canadian broadcasting standards, including by airing content that is likely to expose identifiable groups including 2SLGBTQI people to hatred and contempt.
Ontario NDP introduces Keeping 2SLGBTQI+ Communities Safe Act in Ontario Legislative Assembly
- Kristyn Wong-Tam, the Ontario NDP’s critic on 2SLGBTQ+ issues, introduced a private member’s bill that would allow the Attorney General to designate so-called 2SLGBTQI+ community safety zones around 2SLGBTQI community events, including drag events (CBC).
- This legislation would prohibit causing a disturbance or distributing hate propaganda within the meaning of the Criminal Code, uttering threats or making offensive remarks about sexual orientation and gender roles, and homophobic and transphobic protests or demonstrations.
- Private member’s bills rarely become law. The NDP has a small minority of seats in in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Misinformation has circulated surrounding this bill. Some of these false claims include:
- That the bill has become a law, though it has only been introduced and is unlikely to pass;
- That it would apply to all of Canada, as opposed to just Ontario.
Calgary pastor Derek Reimer arrested again for hate-motivated crimes against 2SLGBTQI people
- Derek Reimer, a Calgary pastor of the street ministry Mission 7, has been arrested for the third time in five weeks. Both previous arrests were for harassing participants of drag storytime events at local libraries.
- Reimer is now being charged with breaching the conditions of his bail, which included staying 300m away from 2SLGBTQI community events, as well as criminal harassment and causing a disturbance.
Vancouver police criticized for not preventing violent confrontations at trans rights rally
- Vancouver police are facing criticism over their handling of a rally for Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) where at least two people were assaulted.
- The rally, which began peacefully, had been intended as a supportive gathering for members of the Vancouver trans community.
- Tensions grew after the arrival of counter-protesters, including well-known anti-trans activist Chris Elston (known as Billboard Chris).
- Neither the suspected assailants nor the alleged victims of the two assaults have been officially identified, but Elston has claimed to have been one of the victims.
- Attendees of the TDOV rally claim that the police could have stepped in earlier to prevent violence, according to CTV.
York Catholic District School Board meeting disrupted by homophobic and transphobic protests for the second time
- York Regional Police were called to a York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) meeting for the second time on April 25 due to a disturbance caused by anti-2SLGBTQI protests.
- According to the Toronto Star, two high school students who were attending the meeting to implore the board to fly the Pride flag in June were targeted with obscenities and insults from other attendees. Those people were removed from the meeting but remained in the lobby, still voicing hateful messages.
- After the first, similar disruption surrounding 2SLGBTQI-positive visual messaging (like ‘safe space’ stickers) at YCDSB schools in early March, Egale urged all schools, including Catholic schools, to strengthen their efforts to foster safe and inclusive learning environments for all students.
Montana Republicans bar trans legislator Zooey Zephyr from floor debates
- The first out trans woman elected to Montana’s legislature, the Democrat Zooey Zephyr, was barred on April 26 from appearing on the House floor for debates for the rest of the legislative session, which ended this week. She was allowed to vote, but not to speak at any debates.
- On April 18, Zephyr told legislators they would have “blood on [their] hands” if they passed a bill prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors, referring to the tragic link between denial of care and suicide among trans youth. Though her language was not unusual, the Republican supermajority voted to silence her for breach of decorum.
- After a group of protestors appeared in the chamber to oppose this silencing on April 24, Republicans voted to silence Zephyr for the remainder of the session.
- Zephyr has said that she will continue to stand up for her constituents and her community.
Biden administration proposes new rule on trans student athletes
- The new regulations under Title IX, the landmark American legislation prohibiting sex-based discrimination in publicly funded US education, would allow discrimination against trans girls and women in school athletics under certain circumstances.
- Schools would not be allowed to “categorically” ban trans students from participating on sports teams corresponding to their gender identity.
- The Biden administration is presenting the new rules as a compromise. Trans advocates in the US, including trans state legislators, have denounced the attempt to “compromise” on trans people’s equality rights.
US Supreme Court denies West Virginia’s application to lift injunction on enforcing trans student athlete ban
- West Virginia will not be allowed to enforce its 2021 law preventing trans girls and women from participating in women’s and girls’ school athletics teams.
Parliament of Uganda passes mostly unchanged version of its brutal anti-LGBTQ bill in response to President Museveni’s concerns
- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni refused to sign the bill, which imposes the death penalty for same-sex sexual activity in addition to creating a range of offences surrounding LGBTQ life and rights advocacy, into law.
- The president, a vocal opponent of LGBTQ rights, asked legislators to include a provision encouraging the “rehabilitation” of LGBTQ people and to remove the duty to report violations of the new offences.
- These changes do not appear to have been made, and the bill is likely to pass into law in its current form.