Since Trans Day of Remembrance last year, the murders of 175 trans people from around the world have been reported to the Trans Murder Monitoring project (Transgender Europe). These hate-motivated transphobic murders only account for those that have been reported, leaving analysts to speculate about the true numbers of transphobic murders committed yearly everywhere around the globe. Transphobic violence and murder are global phenomena and will remain our horrifying reality unless governments and communities around the world organize and educate to eradicate transphobia.
Within Canada, trans individuals frequently face discrimination, dramatically affecting their access to basic necessities like housing, health care, employment, and even education. Egale’s First National School Climate Survey Report “Youth Speak Up about Homophobia and Transphobia” revealed that 95% of trans students feel unsafe at school; almost half had skipped school because of feeling unsafe; 90% had been verbally harassed at school about their gender expression; and almost two-fifths had been physically harassed at school because of their gender expression. Effectively tackling the transphobic issues at the root of these disheartening statistics requires a thorough and measured response that includes the full cooperation of the Canadian government.
In 2010, in response to the chorus of voices demanding adequate legislative protection for trans-identified individuals in Canada, Bill Siksay, NDP MP for Burnaby Douglas, introduced a private members bill supporting trans rights (Bill C-389). The bill will add the words “gender identity” to the Canadian Human Rights Act under its prohibited grounds of discrimination and crimes motivated by transphobia will be included on the list of crimes treated as potential hate crimes. This kind of explicit reference within the CHRA will afford trans individuals clearer protection against discrimination and help create a safer Canada for all of us.
Bill C-389 is about to enter its third reading in the House of Commons and is quite close to becoming law. Egale asks all Canadians to stand in solidarity with trans communities throughout the country by sending your messages of support to MP Siksay regarding Bill C-389. By sending your messages of support to siksaB0@parl.gc.ca, you’ll be showing MP Siksay that you appreciate his efforts and helping him to keep working towards making Bill C-389 policy.
Trans Day of Remembrance is an occasion to commemorate those who are gone from our lives; in honour of their memories, we pledge to keep fighting for the rights, protection, and social understanding of trans people everywhere.
See below for a letter of support you can customize:
Bill Siksay, MP
House of Commons
Sent via email: siksaB0@parl.gc.ca
Dear MP Siksay,
I’m writing you in support of Bill C-389, the Transgender Rights Bill. I applaud and encourage your efforts to include gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds for discrimination within the Canadian Human Rights Act as well as the inclusion of a ‘transphobic hate crime’ within the criminal code. Finally, I support you in your effort to educate all members of the House of Commons about trans matters, and I encourage each of these to vote on C-389 after having considered their responsibilities to the many transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, intersex, gender queer, gender non-conforming, and gender open individuals in their own constituency and throughout the country.
In thanks and support,
(Your Name Here)
(Your Address Info Here)