Bill C-389 passes third reading in Canada’s House of Commons

9 02 2011

Bill C-389, a private member’s bill by NDP MP Bill Siksay, has just passed third reading in Canada’s House of Commons. The vote was 143 in favor and 135 against. This is very exciting news as the only step left for this bill is to be approved by the senate. For the people who have been working hard to get this bill passed, including Bill Siksay, Matt McLauchlin and I’m sure many others, this has been a stressful time since the current leadership is aiming for spring elections. According to my limited understanding, if the bill does not go through the whole process before the next election, it dies. Then we would have to start all over again.

If it does go through, then trans people of all flavours of trans should be protected by law in Canada. Will this fix everything? Probably not. Same sex marriage (not gay marriage, since being married to a person of the same sex would not make a bi person gay, thank you very much) has been legal in Canada for years now and yet there is still homophobia. So it would stand to reason that making discrimination against people based on gender identity and gender expression illegal would not eliminate transphobia.

And even if transphobia gradually declines over time, we have to remember that trans people of colour, First Nations trans people (some of whom might identify as Two-Spirit individuals,) trans people with disabilities, trans people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, trans people without status, trans people with an intersex experience,  trans sex workers and elderly trans people will still be targets of marginalisation and discrimination. If we truly want equal access to dignity and well-being for all trans people, we need to keep in mind that we have to work against ALL forms of oppression.

Bill C-389 is a step in the right direction for sure but it is not the end of the struggle against oppression. It is certainly worth celebrating its progress, however, and worth applauding the efforts of the people who worked hard to get this bill through. My warmest thanks goes out to them as well as a pledge to continue to work against oppression at the sides of all those who want to help shape a society that is anti-oppression.

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8 responses

9 02 2011
genderkid

Ooh, this is exciting! It seems like a wave of (possible) trans-rights laws is going around the globe (Uruguay achieved them a couple of years ago, Portugal almost passed some REALLY great legislation…)

Best of luck!

9 02 2011
Jacky V.

Thanks Genderkid : ) Indeed, there is a lot going on these days! It’s exciting.

9 02 2011
genderkid

Would this help with access to medical treatment through the public health system, and lessen the requirements for legal name/gender changes? (from what I remember from your blog and genderoutlaw’s, right now it varies among provinces, doesn’t it?) The bill doesn’t seem to mention it directly, but do you expect those consequences to follow the approval of the bill?

9 02 2011
Jacky V.

Hmmm. That’s a good question. Since each province has it’s own health plan, I don’t think this will necessarily influence the decisions of the medical powers that be in this regard. As for ID changes, I’m not sure if they will be affected. Let’s hope!!!

10 02 2011
herby

Here in Australia, it is illegal to discriminate against or vilify anyone on the basis of gender identity or perceived gender identity. I remember when those laws were being debated in Queensland in 2002. I was asked to speak at a public forum. I couldn’t believe that people were negative towards the proposition. However, almost a decade later those days seem so far gone.

While it won’t change hate crimes (I mean, there is still racial discrimination despite it being illegal), it does mean that people here have recourse if an employer, educator, health service provider or landlord discriminates against them.

And it doesn’t stop institutionalised dsicrimination (e.g. I’m finding it a struggle to get my passport reissued as male because there are so many hoops for me to jump through that have nothing to do with national security or my personal identification).

10 02 2011
Jacky V.

Hey Herby, thanks for the Australian perspective on things! Yes, it is funny to think back to times past that weren’t so far past, even if they feel like they were. I’m glad that this has mostly been sorted out over there. And, yes, you’re right, even if it doesn’t stop all the nasty stuff it does give people recourse! Sorry to hear you’ve having passport issues : ( that majorly sucks.

15 02 2011
We need to keep fighting! Bill C-389 « Tboy Jacky

[…] prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Canadian charter of human rights. (More on this issue here.) You are free to write your own letter of course but if time is short and words fail you, 2 […]

6 01 2014
We need to keep fighting! Bill C-389 | Jacky with a Y

[…] prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Canadian charter of human rights. (More on this issue here.) You are free to write your own letter of course but if time is short and words fail you, 2 […]

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