Because it's 2016
May 17, 2016 8:48 AM   Subscribe

"I'm proud to say that moments ago, I introduced legislation, Bill C-16 ... that would ensure that Canadians will be free to identify themselves and to express their gender as they wish while being protected against discrimination and hate, because as Canadians, we should feel free and safe to be ourselves," said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in Ottawa.

Marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, the Canadian government has introduced a bill to enshrine gender identity as a legally protected class within the country, in accordance with the Mandate Letter Prime Minister Trudeau sent to Wilson-Raybould on her appointment.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering (47 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
Good.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:54 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Good.

via Morgan Page, though: What trans ppl in Canada really need:
Sex work decrim
HIV decrim
Affordable housing
Increased welfare
End to deportations


Lots of work to do still.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:59 AM on May 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


Yup. And forgot to mention, don't read the comments on the CBC article.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:03 AM on May 17, 2016 [9 favorites]


What's the bill-to-enacted-law ratio?
posted by hleehowon at 9:06 AM on May 17, 2016


> Yup. And forgot to mention, don't read the comments on the CBC article.

That's okay, it should go without saying.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:08 AM on May 17, 2016


"I voted against it last time, but I've changed my mind. I'm going to vote for it," Conservative MP David Tilson told a CBC reporter earlier on Monday, before Trudeau had spoken, when asked about the notion of enshrining transgender rights.

Good.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:10 AM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


Seconding Morgan Page. Everyone, do yourselves a favor and go follow her on twitter now.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:12 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


What's the bill-to-enacted-law ratio?

I don't know, but Trudeau has a majority in Parliament and given that this is part of the mandate he provided to Wilson-Raybould, I'd be frankly astonished if this isn't a whipped vote. Here is how a bill becomes law in Canada.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:13 AM on May 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


What's the bill-to-enacted-law ratio?

For government bills? Near as close as 1:1 as makes no difference. Governments almost never withdraw a bill once tabled*. They can die in committee if an election is called before final enactment. In practice, that's about the only way they can die.

*In the Canadian sense, not the US one.
posted by bonehead at 9:20 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


They can also die when parliament is prorogued at the end of a session (or for political oh-no-my-government-is-about-to-fall and the GG doesn't have the guts to say no to me reasons). But yeah, there's no way parliament is about to prorogue and if a majority government proposed a bill then you should assume the bill will pass.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:26 AM on May 17, 2016


Does anyone have the text of this bill?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:28 AM on May 17, 2016




Governments almost never withdraw a bill once tabled*.*In the Canadian sense, not the US one.

In the US 'tabled' means to 'take off the table', in Canada/UK (other commonwealth countries, I assume?) 'tabled' means to 'put on the table'. It's literally my most frustrating difference between UK/US English (although 'aluminum' would come in a close second).
posted by el io at 10:04 AM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


In the US it's more like "put the bill on the table and leave it there to rot while no further action is ever taken on it."
posted by LionIndex at 10:08 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


> Yup. And forgot to mention, don't read the comments on the CBC article.

That's okay, it should go without saying.


If we're going to have a hard, honest conversation about what Canada really is, and how different that is from who we often-too-smugly claim to be, then I think we should read those comments.
posted by mhoye at 10:09 AM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


Online comments aren't at all representative of public opinion, and it's truly harmful to trans people to slog through them, it triggers depression and suicide.
posted by odinsdream at 10:11 AM on May 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


If we're going to have a hard, honest conversation about what Canada really is, and how different that is from who we often-too-smugly claim to be, then I think we should read those comments.

Has anyone ever claimed Canada as a land where there exist no troglodytes on comment sections? Because that's the only thing that reading the comment section proves, that some assholes exist and will post asshole comments.

I'm not directly affected by this, but I'm happy to admit Canada is a country that still has 20 or more bigots while noting that in the near future we'll be a country with federally enshrined gender identity protections, and still probably 20 or more bigots. And I feel like the federal government probably has more power than 20 internet bigots.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:21 AM on May 17, 2016 [23 favorites]


If we're going to have a hard, honest conversation about what Canada really is, and how different that is from who we often-too-smugly claim to be,

every crowd I've encountered (some have been as small as sports teams, some have been nations) has been comprised of a mix of saints, sinners, assholes, idiots, thinkers, dreamers, slackers, cynics, dancers, everything. So it's obviously not the ingredients that make for a functioning thing. What does? If there was an easy answer to this, well, for one thing, I doubt we'd need stuff like "... federally enshrined gender identity protections,"
posted by philip-random at 10:30 AM on May 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


And I feel like the federal government probably has more power than 20 internet bigots.

30 Helens, on the other hand...
posted by Etrigan at 10:33 AM on May 17, 2016 [18 favorites]


don't read the comments on the CBC article.

Oof no kidding but if you think those are bad you should check out the comments on LGBT articles on Ezra Levant's The Rebel. Thankfully, there's not many people who actually read or comment on articles on The Rebel.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:58 AM on May 17, 2016


If we're going to have a hard, honest conversation about what Canada really is, and how different that is from who we often-too-smugly claim to be, then I think we should read those comments.

I don't think the comments section is restricted to Canadians only.
posted by binturong at 11:03 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


If we're going to have a hard, honest conversation about what Canada really is, and how different that is from who we often-too-smugly claim to be

I think a decade of support for Harper from a large part of the voting public should have driven home who we are by now. No need to read what the same old boring Letters To The Editor cranks have to say on the internet.
posted by Hoopo at 11:05 AM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]




I agree this is cool, but it isn't a huge step; for at least a decade the Federal Human Rights Commission has maintained that Trans rights are covered under the "Sex" protected class (although it is lovely to see this made explicit). The fact it was not passed for the past decade is due to Harper, of course. The Federal Code has almost always lagged behind the Provincial Human Right's Codes; gender identity and gender expression has already been ruled explicitly protected in Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Alberta, and Prince Edward Island - other provinces (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Quebec and the territories of Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories .... so, literally everywhere in Canada) have said rights for trans people are covered under "sex", "gender" and/or "sex discrimination". PEI and Brunswick are the only two province I am aware of that do not fund sex-reassignment surgery (but I think it is covered if it is performed in another province).

So, again, it is cool, but not really ground-breaking in Canada and the Bill has pretty much zero chance of NOT becoming law (as the Federal Code should really align with the stronger provincial codes) and it is an important step to getting broader rights and recognition.

Also, I am currently living in a a small, socio-economically, and under-educated depressed town in Canada, and we have adults and children who are open about their transition and most people are really accepting. Good ole boys sit around the bonfire drinking their beer and when the topic comes up they just say "ya, people sure can be different". It warms the cockles of my heart that it has been accepted so fast, especially on the schoolyard (Thanks Wynn!).
posted by saucysault at 11:28 AM on May 17, 2016 [11 favorites]


It's probably worth mentioning for anyone unfamiliar with the Canadian legal context: C-16 amends the Criminal Code and the Canaduan Human Rights Act.

The Canadian Human Rights Act only applies to areas under federal regulation. These areas include banking, transportation, the armed forces, federal elections, etc.

Education, health care and a whole bunch of other stuff is under provincial jurisdiction in Canada, meaning the human rights codes in individual provinces apply (where the explicit inclusion of gender identity or expression varies). Those provincial codes govern discrimination in things like provision of goods and services by the private sector, employment by private businesses (in areas not under federal regulation), as well as the provincial public sector.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:42 AM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was pleased my-next-door riding MP Randall Garrison (NDP) was invited to the press launch as he had previously introduced a Trans Rights bill, it was passed, but then failed at Senate. Nice to see some recognition across parties that this has been a long joint effort.

Though I'm not normally a trudeaumania type, I have to admit the photo of the PM goofing it up at Pride that keeps accompanying this is awesome and induces much happiness about where this country aspires to go.

This is expected to pass both House and Senate this time, I guess, due to the election, Lib Majority, and the recent senate appointees? Hope so!
posted by chapps at 11:45 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes big props to Randall for introducing the first attempt at legislation on gender rights. It should pass the Senate vote this time with the sitting Prime minister actively supporting it
posted by biggreenplant at 11:56 AM on May 17, 2016


I'm not directly affected by this, but I'm happy to admit Canada is a country that still has 20 or more bigots while noting that in the near future we'll be a country with federally enshrined gender identity protections, and still probably 20 or more bigots. And I feel like the federal government probably has more power than 20 internet bigots.

Yeah. I have no appetite for that exploration and am more than ok with legislators nudging us toward enlightenment. Good law.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:06 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


If we're going to have a hard, honest conversation about what Canada who my father-in-law really is, and how different that is from who we often-too-smugly claim to be, then I think we should read those comments.

A little less abstract, now.
posted by klanawa at 12:08 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oof no kidding but if you think those are bad you should check out the comments on LGBT articles on Ezra Levant's The Rebel. Thankfully, there's not many people who actually read or comment on articles on The Rebel.

The Rebel's YouTube channel once showed up for me in a "Recommended for You" list.

I'm still not sure what I did to YouTube to be insulted like that.
posted by nubs at 12:50 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Can we all just agree as a nation to put Ezra Levant into a box and hurl the box into the sun?
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 12:55 PM on May 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


Can we all just agree as a nation to put Ezra Levant into a box and hurl the box into the sun?

The sun cannot handle that much hot gas.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:06 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


What are you talking about? Have you ever read The Sun?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:35 PM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, south of the border:

Itzhak Perlman: As my fans know, I have spent a lifetime advocating against discrimination towards those with physical disabilities and have been a vocal advocate for treating all people equally. As such, after great consideration, I have decided to cancel my May 18th concert in North Carolina with the North Carolina Symphony as a stand against House Bill 2. As Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently stated, HB2 “is about a great deal more than just bathrooms. [It] is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens.” I couldn’t agree more and will look forward to returning to North Carolina when this discriminatory law is repealed.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:53 PM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


"What trans activists need to be careful of, as we begin to win this fight, is this: that we don’t also imitate gay activists in throwing mad people under the bus in the interests of respectability."

I have mixed feelings about this and how it fits into somewhere like Feministing. Is it secretly written for cis people's consumption (I note the consistent use of "trans activists/people" rather than "we")? And if it's not, what does it mean that it's appearing somewhere it will be primarily consumed by cis people? Isn't that just trying to push trans people to be "respectable"?
posted by hoyland at 3:10 PM on May 17, 2016


Can we all just agree as a nation to put Ezra Levant into a box and hurl the box into the sun?

Won't work. The Sun dumped him a couple of years ago, if you recall.
posted by bonehead at 3:22 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


The author appears to be trans I think?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:24 PM on May 17, 2016


Can we all just agree as a nation to put Ezra Levant into a box and hurl the box into the sun?

Which would come with the added benefit of triggering the detection grid that advanced alien civilizations place close to Stars with inhabited planets. These grids are always triggered when civilizations on planets begin hurling their garbage at their local Star, indicating that their planets have some fundamental issues that need to be solved and help is required.
posted by juiceCake at 3:41 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Looking at Morgan Page's list, I'm pretty sure that most trans people in Canada are neither sex workers nor HIV positive, so it seems extremely bizarre to dismiss a major legal protection for all transfolk in favor of saying that list is more important to trans people. Not to mention, when someone in the twitter thread brings up the importance of being assigned to the correct prison, Page dismisses it with "all prisons and jails are wrong.". So not thinking this is a person I really need to pay attention to.
posted by tavella at 5:28 PM on May 17, 2016


Looking at Morgan Page's list, I'm pretty sure that most trans people in Canada are neither sex workers nor HIV positive, so it seems extremely bizarre to dismiss a major legal protection for all transfolk in favor of saying that list is more important to trans people. Not to mention, when someone in the twitter thread brings up the importance of being assigned to the correct prison, Page dismisses it with "all prisons and jails are wrong.". So not thinking this is a person I really need to pay attention to.

Seems like you're simultaneously holding Morgan Page to an impossibly high standard while strawmanning her. For one, an issue doesn't need to impact the majority of a demographic to be an issue - HIV prevalence rates for queer men in urban centers only hover around 15% (compare to an estimated 33% for trans women, and 56% for black trans women) , but we rightfully recognize queer men as a demographic disproportionately impacted by HIV. Yet, when I walk in the gay village in urban centers - and I've seen this in both Vancouver and Toronto - I only ever see any ads and services targeted towards queer men, and never any towards trans women.

For two, it's very weird that you seem to want to attach some sentiment of dismissing legal protections for trans people to Page when her tweet says literally nothing, positive or negative, about the legislation. If she's critical of the bill, she's critical of how it hasn't gone far enough. She's advocating for the most marginalized trans people, and trying to make sure that they don't get thrown under the bus. She's trying to make sure that the legal protections for trans people and the public perception of "trans issues" doesn't just stop at a threshold where they only protect white, wealthy, able-bodied trans people. Her voice in response to this bill is timely and important. That you characterize her as dismissive for having the audacity to raise further issues instead of bending over to praise people for taking a baby step forward probably says more about you than her.
posted by Conspire at 6:39 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Thanks for clarifying that, mandolin conspiracy. You answered the question I came here to ask.
posted by Banknote of the year at 8:14 PM on May 17, 2016


her tweet says literally nothing, positive or negative, about the legislation.

How else can you parse "What trans ppl in Canada really need"? Do you think she tweeted that into the ether with no knowledge of this bill? Does that not read to you as being dismissive of it?

the audacity to raise further issues instead of bending over to praise people for taking a baby step

If only there were some form of middle ground between those two things.
posted by Etrigan at 8:44 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Morgan Page is trans, and while I know very little about her I think maybe it's not up to us cis people to tell her how she should express herself?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:03 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think there needs to be a debate as to whether publicly-funded broadcasters should be spending public money on hosting and moderating often terrible comments sections on their web sites - the BBC has a similar problem with thousands of swivel-eyed comments under various stories, although they've done a good job of hiding them so you have to specifically click to see them. (Which makes me wonder why not just dump them totally?)

We already have gender identity as a protected category under discrimination legislation in this country and it's been that way for some years now. I'm not entirely sure what good it does, especially in this age of insecure employment, zero-hours contracts and so on. Coming out as trans at work still puts you at very significant risk of dismissal - of course, it's never because you're trans, often it's for no stated reason at all. You just don't get your contract renewed at the end of the month, or you stop getting calls giving you shifts if you're in one of those awful jobs where they do that. It's super hard to prove that a dismissal or a reduction in hours is because you came out as trans, and many (especially young) trans people don't have the resources or time or energy to litigate or go to tribunal, which is a pretty traumatic process anyway. And of course, if you're looking for work a company can just choose not to hire you, and you'll never know why.

So I'm not shitting on this development - more recognition that trans people exist in law is a good thing, but it's just not a panacea and in the real world it's unlikely to fix anything particularly quickly. Assholes will still be able to asshole - they just do it in more conniving, round-about ways.
posted by winterhill at 12:08 AM on May 18, 2016 [5 favorites]


Rona Ambrose (!), Interim Leader of the Conservatives (!!) and therefore leader of the Opposition, will be supporting the bill (!!!).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:36 AM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


The author appears to be trans I think?

I was aware of that possibility/probability as I wrote the comment. (Authorship seems to be murky, though. I got the sense Fitzpatrick had been brought in as a re-writer and Voronka was the original author.) I don't disagree with the broader point, and while I have bigger issues with it if neither of the writers is trans (or even if Voronka isn't trans, assuming she's the source for the content of the article), I think "what does it mean for this article, written the way it is, to appear where it has" is a question worth pondering.
posted by hoyland at 3:13 PM on May 18, 2016


Anyway, I'm still thinking about this and I don't think I'm doing a very good job of expressing myself. There are interesting things to talk about around the intersection of trans issues and mental health and stigma and how you fight a medical model of transness without falling into the trap of stigmatising mental illness. I'm bristling at the article's seeming tacit assumptions that a) that's not a conversation (trans) people already have and b) that we're somehow on the verge of winterhill's excellent comment above not being reality. And if those assumptions don't hold true for me, nor for people who've spent more than about five minutes in the trans community*, I have to wonder if I'm being used as the target of a lecture that's really directed at cis people.

*Yeah, there are trans people who want a medical model, but even they're aware the rest of us exist. They also tend not to be involved in activism, almost by definition, though I suppose they want better insurance coverage.
posted by hoyland at 7:53 PM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


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