By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 0 Comments
Rob Anders is circulating a petition that suggests Bill C-279, which deals with extending human rights protection to transgendered individuals, is “intended to give transgendered men access to women’s public washroom facilities.” This argument has been raised by opponents of the bill before—here is Conservative MP Dean Allison raising it during debate on a previous version of the legislation.
I think it’s just an alarmist argument from people who do not support extending human rights coverage to a very marginalized group and a group that suffers discrimination in our society. There’s nothing in the bill that will legalize assault, sexual assault, exhibitionism, voyeurism, harassment – any of those kinds of things. What’s inappropriate and illegal in a women’s washroom or a gendered space remains illegal and inappropriate. There’s nothing in this bill that would contemplate changing that …
The reality now is that transsexual people – people who have gone through the sex change process – we already share washrooms with, and we already share washrooms with transgendered people, and most of us aren’t doing a gender check on everybody who’s in the bathroom. If the bathroom is being used appropriately, it’s not an issue. The other reality is that I know of no jurisdiction that has changed the law to establish full human rights for transgendered and transsexual people that has seen change in what happens in bathrooms in terms of criminal behaviour I can’t find any evidence that that happens. If someone can show me some, fine, but I’ve never found any, and no one who has raised this issue has ever been able to point out that those kinds of things happening.
C-279 passed at second reading in June with 14 Conservative MPs voting in favour.
By Emma Teitel - Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 4:12 PM - 0 Comments
There was a time, not so long ago, when Donald Trump demanded that Barack Obama surrender his birth certificate to the world to unequivocally prove his American citizenship. Now Trump, the co-sponsor of the Miss Universe pageant along with NBC, is being prevailed upon to produce a credential of his own—call it his little apprentice—to prove his bona fides as a Mister. The woman asking to see the proof in question is Gloria Allred, the celebrity feminist lawyer representing the only transgendered contestant in this year’s Miss Universe Canada competition: 23-year-old Jenna (nee Walter) Talackova of Vancouver. Last month Talackova was removed from the competition when organizers were informed that she failed to meet the “natural born woman” criterion in the pageant rulebook. Gloria Allred’s response was swift and simple: if Talackova had to show “hers” to qualify for the pageant, the Donald, as competition sponsor, should have to show “his” in the spirit of fair play.
Lucky for us, nobody showed anything. And Canadian law—which recognizes Talackova as an official female—melted Trump’s icy heart (the same one that has coldly quashed entrepreneurial dreams on television for the past eight years) long enough for him to re-instate the 23-year-old into the competition. The law, that is, and possibly an online petition drafted by Change.org, the social activism website which recently brought you campaigns like “Let Ernie and Bert get married on Sesame Street,” “Starbucks: stop using bugs to colour your strawberry-flavoured drinks,” and the somewhat lesser-known Canadian campaign, “Canadian government: address the Aeronautics Act, which may ban trans people from flying.”
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 12:52 PM - 7 Comments
Constituents get a surprise call
A handful of high-profile Conservatives, including John Baird, Lawrence Cannon, James Moore and Lisa Raitt, ensured that Bill C-389, which adds gender identity and gender expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act, passed last week. The bill, introduced by NDP MP Bill Siksay, is now at the Senate. For Raitt it was personal: the labour minister has a transgendered cousin. She also quips that without transgendered women she wouldn’t be able to find shoes. The minister wears size 11. MPs received mixed messages over the issue. NDP MP Peter Stoffer said he got the same the-sky-is-falling response as when he voted for same-sex marriage. Long-time heterosexual couples, he said, called him in a panic, claiming the institution of marriage would be destroyed. Stoffer asked them at the time how their families were doing and whether they had children and grandchildren. Several years later Stoffer made a point of calling them back to ask how their families were and if the passing of the same-sex marriage bill had had any adverse affects. After recovering from the shock of the call, all admitted their marriages were still going strong.
The ‘Badger’ has left the building
Last week was Toronto Star reporter Richard Brennan’s last day on the Hill. Four years ago he was elected president of the press gallery because of his reputation for verbally pummelling politicians. (His nickname was “Badger.”) He told Capital Diary that when it came to access, covering Ottawa was like the Third World and things have only gotten worse. Brennan says the irony in Stephen Harper’s lack of media availability is that the PM is really good when he does engage journalists. Brennan was frustrated that cabinet meeting times were not made available, as had been done before, which further cut media off from information on the country’s decision makers. Based on his previous experience as a reporter covering Ontario politics, he says don’t expect to see any additional access if another party takes power: “Once you lose these things you never get them back.”