Bill C-279 is “An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression)”. It’s going through first reading in Parliament and there was some debate on it last Friday. You can see speeches in Parliament from this debate here and read the text of the bill here. The bill’s goal is to add gender expression and gender identity to the rights protected by the Canadian Human Rights Act and to make crimes motivated by discrimination based on gender expression and identity (i.e. transphobia) hate crimes—that is, subject to more stringent sentencing.
Let me once again urge everyone in Canada to contact their MP and tell them to vote for this bill. (Here is where you can find out who your MP is and how to contact him or her.) (Oh, and tell your MP to read this.) The bill was passed by the last Parliament but didn’t make it through the Senate before election time, so had to go back to square one—with a Conservative majority this time.
Reading through the speeches for and against this bill, I’m struck by one thing—and it’s not the stupid, ignorant “bathroom bill” claims, which are bogus anyways. It’s the insistence by its opponents that this bill is unnecessary. Because human rights tribunals have ruled in favour of trans people already, citing the clause against sex discrimination. You know what? That’s great that some judges found a way to interpret the law so as actually to protect people. But that still doesn’t mean trans people are actually protected by law. Because hey, sex isn’t gender, and it certainly isn’t gender expression, and saying transgenderism falls under sex for legal purposes is, to me, just like saying “She used to be a man” or “X, who was born a woman but thinks she’s a man”. It’s denying what people are saying about their own experience. It’s insisting someone shouldn’t be offended because you’re not being offensive. It’s mansplaining. Pat on the head, get back to work, I can’t see your problem so it must not be there.
And you know what else? “Oh my god, I don’t know if we should extend human rights to this class of people, what about all the other people who will have to worry about other people’s rights now? It’s so hard and confusing to have to give people who are different from me their fundamental human rights. Oh my goddddd.”
(I suggest trying to be a bit more coherent than this when you contact your MP.)