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Historic Victory For Trans People

Amelia Murphy-Beaudoin

June 24, 2012

On June 13, the Ontario Human Rights Code was amended to prohibit prejudice against Trans people. In this historic moment, “gender identity” and “gender expression” were enshrined into the code, making Ontario the first major jurisdiction in North America to make it against the law to discriminate against Trans people.

This was New Democrat MPP Cheri DiNovo’s fourth attempt to get the amendment passed.

We are still waiting on federal Bill C-279—an act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. The bill would make “gender identity” and “gender expression” prohibited grounds for discrimination, and amend the Criminal Code to include “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the definition of identifiable groups in its provisions on hate propaganda, as well as adding the terms to the Criminal Code’s list of aggravating factors that affect sentencing.

The bill passed second reading in June by a vote of 150 to 132, and now it goes to committee before returning to the House for third reading, and ultimately to the Senate.

Currently, violence and murders motivated by Transphobia are not hate crimes, and Trans people do not have clear human rights protections against discrimination.

This year’s theme for Pride Toronto is “Celebrate and Demonstrate”. We celebrate the change to the Ontario Human Rights Code as a historic victory, but we must continue to demonstrate for the passage of Bill C-279, and for an end to Transphobic violence and murder.

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