Prime Minister Trudeau Introduces Legislation Protecting Gender Diversity
The heart painted

There have been huge strides in the LGBT Community recently.

Even if you don’t follow politics in the United States, you’ve probably seen something about the transgender bathroom policy debate. In a nutshell, there are certain locations in the United States that are passing laws to limit bathroom use based on a person’s sex at birth, whether the person identifies as a different sex today. It’s turned into a national debate, with businesses, states, cities, and the federal government each weighing in. While this situation should be watched, the real news in Canada is that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced a bill that extends human rights protections of gender diversity to all Canadians.

Gender identity is described as an individual’s personal experience of gender. It’s not the same thing as their sexual orientation. Essentially, it is a sense of being a man or woman, or neither, or anywhere along that spectrum. Often, when a person’s gender identity is different than their assigned sex at birth, they may be called transgender. Cisgender is the term for gender identity that conforms to the gender given at birth. Gender expression is how people present the gender in public, which might be through dress, hair style, body language or voice.

Five Key Things to Understand About the Legislation

On May 17, 2016, the Government of Canada introduced a bill that would give basic human rights to the gender-diverse community. According to the Department of Justice website, there are five things that you should understand about the new legislation.

  1. Gender diversity is an umbrella term that includes gender identity, gender expression and transgender.
  2. The “Canadian Human Rights Act” would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.
  3. The Criminal Code will be amended to include hate crimes based on gender identity or expression. These types of criminal offenses could have longer sentences.
  4. According to a study from 2010, 18 percent of transgender participants had been denied employment based on their gender identity. Transgender individuals face much higher levels of discrimination than cisgender individuals.
  5. Transgender individuals face higher risks of violent crime. One study estimates that at least 20 percent of the participants had been physically or sexually assaulted. Many people do not report these crimes to the police.

Currently, the “Canadian Human Rights Act” prohibits discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Ethnic origin
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Colour
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • Family status
  • Disability
  • Convictions when a pardon or suspension has been ordered

The proposed legislation would make it clear that transgender individuals have protection under the law.

Social Media Discussion

PM Trudeau opened the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #FreeToBeMe. Overall, the bill has support from many different organizations and leaders, including the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board; Bill Morneau, Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre and Canada’s Minister of Finance; Eric Alper, SiriusXM Host; and TELUS, a communications provider. The hashtag is also being used on Facebook with a great deal of support.

Once the legislation is passed, it will be a huge step forward for LGBT rights in Canada and in the international venue. Canada is on the forefront of human rights for all its citizens. Jody Wilson-Raybould,

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, issued this quote:

“In Canada, we celebrate inclusion and diversity. All Canadians should be safe to be themselves. The law should be clear and explicit: transgender and other gender-diverse persons have a right to live free from discrimination, hate propaganda, and hate crime. We are committed to making Canada stronger by ensuring Canadian laws reflect the rich diversity of our people.”

More governments need to take up the fight for inclusion and safety for all their citizens. Trudeau and the other leaders who support this legislation make us proud to live here.

Justin Trudeau Supports the Rights of All
Equal Rights for All

Equal Rights for All

Justin Trudeau is no stranger to being the first. He is the first child of a previous prime minister to hold the same post. He is also the first boy to be born to a prime minister in office. The first child born to a sitting prime minister was a girl. Trudeau became the first PM in the 21st century to attend a White House State Dinner with the first black U.S. president. It should come as no surprise that he is attending the Toronto Gay Pride Parade in July.

The Announcement Came Via Twitter

On Monday, February 22, @PrideToronto announced:

We’re delighted to announce that @JustinTrudeau will be the first Prime Minister in history to attend #PrideTO!

@JustinTrudeau tweeted back:

Very much look forward to being there again, this time as PM. #PrideTO

One follower mentioned that Trudeau always attends this parade, so it’s not really a big deal. We would beg to differ. He’s not only attending the parade as an individual, but as the Prime Minister of Canada. He’s probably the first world leader to attend a gay parade while in office. Trudeau has made no secret of the fact that he is Roman Catholic, and as such, he is in contention with the leadership of the Catholic Church when it comes to the support of gay marriages.

Participate in the Gay Pride Parade

The parade doesn’t actually happen until Sunday, July 3. Now is the time to register a business or organization as a participant in the parade. Small to large companies can be part of this extraordinary event. The Toronto Gay Pride Parade is in its 35th year. The parade celebrates the diversity of life while respecting the differences between people.

Pride Toronto, the hosting organization, wants to create an inclusive community where all are celebrated. The festival includes many services that help create a barrier-free environment. Some of what they provide includes:

  • Free wheelchairs and walkers lent to those in need
  • ASL interpretation
  • Audio descriptions of the parade
  • Braille maps and audio guides for the festival
  • Mobility assistants
  • Accessibility services with washrooms that are easily usable for those in a wheelchair

In addition to accessibility services, Toronto Pride strives to be sustainable by providing water and waste stations that protect natural resources. There is also a section for bike valet parking, and public transit gets involved to alleviate the transportation problems and reduce air pollution.

Trudeau Offers Support

During the parade, Trudeau will march with other government officials, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The festival is actually open the entire weekend, beginning on July 1. There will be plenty of activities that celebrate the diversity of all people. Make plans to attend to watch history being made and support the rights of the LGBT community.

The LGBT community certainly is gaining ground when it comes to civil rights, but they are still marginalized when it comes to certain topics, like immigration, trans rights, and gay men who wish to donate blood. In schools, LGBT children are bullied and harassed by other students, and sometimes, even by their teachers.

Trudeau has shown a commitment to the issues facing the LGBTQ community. He is taking a stand for civil rights and diversity when he chooses to attend the Toronto Gay Pride Parade. Because of his position as a leader in Canada, this brings national attention to the celebration of civil rights for all. A gay pride parade isn’t only for people who are LGBTQ. It’s for everyone who wants to make sure that people are respected and honored, no matter what their lifestyle is. Trudeau should be commended for taking part in the Toronto Gay Pride Parade.