Canadian Transgender folks are moving ahead on their civil rights but if this legislation is passed in Newfoundland and Labrador, our brothers and sisters will remain marginalized.
Please help support them by sending letters, email and telephone calls to these legislators.
Our lives depend on it!
This past week, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador presented a new revised provincial Human Rights Act to the House of Assembly.
While the new Act contains some improvements, it also contains a number of glaring omissions. Of particular note is that the Department of Justice rejected an integral recommendation made by community groups last year to include protections for transgender rights in the new legislation.
A range of community organizations including the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Planned Parenthood, Newfoundland-Labrador Human Rights and Gender Identity Working Group, Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health, and others have endorsed the recommendation that ‘gender identity’ be added as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Act.
It is now more vital than ever that governments and human rights commissions take action to end violence and discrimination against transgender persons. Studies report that an average of 2 transgendered persons are reported killed every month in North America, simply because they were transgendered. A US survey released in November reported that transgender persons experience double the rate of unemployment; 47% experienced adverse job action (i.e. denied promotions, refusal to hire); while 26% had lost a job because of their transgender status. 97% of those surveyed experienced harassment and mistreatment on the job because of their status. Earlier this month, Statistics Canada reported a doubling in the number of hate crimes based on sexual orientation in this country.
Legislators intend to debate and pass the new Human Rights Act during the coming week. The Department of Justice claims that transgender rights can be interpreted as falling under other sections of the Act, but this is inadequate; numerous cases in recent years indicate that unless ‘gender identity’ is specifically included as a prohibited ground of discrimination, protections and rights for transgender persons will continue to go unrecognized.
Don’t let the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador pass by this important opportunity to modernize the provincial Human Rights Act and to ensure that transgender persons experience the same rights and protections as all other residents of the province.
Please contact the following representatives in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to let them know you want to see transgender rights included in the Human Rights Act. Time is of the essence – the Act is to be debated and passed this week. All it requires is the addition of two words, but the impact on the lives of transgendered persons in this province will be unparalleled.
Feel free to copy and paste the sample letter provided below, or to add your own comments and/or write a letter of your own. Letters welcome from everyone - even if you're living outside of Newfoundland and Labrador! Please cc: all correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know your local MHA, please raise this with them as well. Letters should be sent to:
Hon. Felix Collins, Minister of Justice
Tel: (709) 729-2869
Fax: (709) 729-0469
Yvonne Jones, Leader of the Official Opposition (Liberal)
Phone: (709) 729-3391
Fax: (709) 729-5202
Toll Free: 1-800-286-9118
Lorraine Michael, Leader, Newfoundland and Labrador New Democrats
Phone: (709) 729-0270
Fax: (709) 576-1443
Newfoundland-Labrador Human Rights and Gender Identity Working Group
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Hans at email@example.com
Dear Hon. Minister Collins,
I’m writing to express my dismay that the revised Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act has rejected anti-discrimination and human rights protections for transgendered persons. I strongly encourage you to re-consider, and to include ‘gender identity’ as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Act.
Transgender persons experience some of the highest rates of violence and discrimination in North American society. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey, released in December in the US, indicates transgender persons experience double the average rates of unemployment in that country; 47% suffered adverse job effects due to their status, while 97% experienced on-the-job discrimination and maltreatment. In June, Statistics Canada reported a doubling in hate crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation in this country.
Experience has shown that trying to interpret protections for transgender persons under existing human rights legislation is inadequate. Recent cases in Ontario and Alberta, among others, demonstrate that unless ‘gender identity’ is specifically included as a prohibited ground of discrimination, the ability of transgender persons to access employment rights, parental rights, health care and even basic safety will continue to be challenged.
I urge you to add ‘gender identity’ as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the new Act. This is an unparalleled opportunity to modernize Newfoundland and Labrador’s human rights legislation and to ensure it protects all residents of the province equally and without discrimination.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Posted by De Sube at 6/22/2010 11:23:00 AM