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Canada: Speak out in support of transgender rights!

    Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 10:35

    On Thursday, November 20, call Senators and speak out in support of the rights of Canada’s transgender communities.

    November 20th is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s a day to honour transgender people who have lost their lives because of hatred and fear, and to re-commit ourselves to supporting the human rights of Canada’s transgender communities.

    Transgender people in Canada and around the world face extreme levels of violence and discrimination because they are transgender. Six provinces and one territory in Canada have legally established “gender identity” as a prohibited ground of discrimination in an effort to curb this violence and discrimination. Similar legislation is not yet in place at the federal level.

    But federal legislation has been drafted. It is thorough, comprehensive, and exactly what is needed. It has been approved by the House of Commons, passed second reading in the Senate, and hearings are underway in the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. But this legislation, Bill C-279: An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Gender Identity), is under threat.

    The final Senate Committee hearing to review the Bill has not yet been scheduled. At least one member of the Senate Committee publicly opposes the Bill. Concerns are being raised about sharing public bathrooms with transgender people. Other concerns are being raised about defining gender identity in the Bill.

    Now is the time to speak up in solidarity with Canada’s transgender communities. Now is the time to call Senators and let them know that Bill C-279 is as perfect as it’s going to get and that you support it being passed now, as is. Now is the time to let Senators know that you are not afraid to share public spaces with transgender people (you already are but may not know it). Now is the time to let Senators the real fear—that without Bill C-279, transgender people will continue to face threats and violence when they enter public washrooms and change rooms.

    Phone Senators on November 20th

    Take 5 minutes to voice your support for Bill C-279 by phoning at least one member of the Senate Committee which will soon decide this legislation’s fate!

    Who to call

    What to say

    • My name is __________________ and I am calling from _____________________ to urge you to support the swift passage of Bill C-279 on Gender Identity as it is currently drafted.
    • Canada’s transgender communities have long suffered discrimination and violence and this legislation is part of the solution to protecting the human rights of transgender individuals.
    • I would like you to know that I am not afraid of sharing public spaces including bathrooms with transgender people.
    • But I am afraid that unless C-279 passes unamended, transgender people will continue to live in fear each and every time they enter a public space such as a bathroom.
    • Delays in passing legislation cost lives. This bill is as perfect as it’s going to get. Please do the right thing and support Bill C-279 as drafted. Let this be your legacy for this Parliamentary session.
    • Thank you for your time.

    Download the PDF version of this action in English and French.

    Missed November 20th? No problem. Don't hesitate to call Senators before or after November 20th.

    What else can I do?


    Gender is the socially and culturally constructed concepts of masculinity or femininity that tell us how to be a woman or how to be a man in society. It includes the roles and responsibilities associated with gender, and importantly, the relationships related to power, social positioning, access to resources and rights, decision-making power, etc.  Concepts of masculinity or femininity can change over time and vary between cultures. Transgender means that a person’s gender is different from the physical sex they were assigned at birth.