Canada: Canadian advocates celebrate passage of transgender rights bill

With the receipt of royal assent, the Canadian government has passed an unprecedented nondiscrimination law protecting both gender identity and gender expression.

Advocates across Canada have praised Bill C-16, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, which adds gender identity and gender identity to the country’s nondiscrimination and hate crimes laws. They describe it as an important step towards protecting the transgender and gender non-conforming communities across the country.

“Basically what this law does is say that trans people and gender non-conforming people are a protected class in Canada,” said Rachel Lauren Clark, a Canadian trans activist.

“C-16 puts this air of protection around trans people, and I feel like I’m a part of Canadian society and that I’m protected,” continued Clark.

“The coalition has been part of a shift away from seeing [C-16] as a ‘trans issue’ and towards seeing it as a ‘human rights issue’ and a ‘Canadian issue,’” said Alexander Xavier, an LGBTI coordinator for Amnesty International Canada. . “There have been a lot of factors in that shift and a lot of work done to educate people and shift public opinion that made C-16 possible.”

In explicitly differentiating between gender identity and gender expression, C-16 is unique in the protections it provides. While gender identity is internally focused, expression refers to the ways that a person externally looks and is perceived. Read more via Washington Blade