White Paper on the Status of Trans and Gender Diverse People
This White paper is about fulfilling the promise made to trans and gender diverse Canadians with the passage of Bill C-16 which added gender identity and gender expression to the Canadian Human Rights Code and to the hate crimes section of the Criminal Code. This bill was a promise to deliver to trans and gender diverse Canadians the same equality and safety enjoyed by all other Canadians.
This change was a long time in coming, lagging decades behind the addition of sexual orientation protections. We tried closing that gap with my private members bill C-279 which passed the Conservative majority parliament in 2013 but died in the Senate despite widespread public support for trans equality. After ongoing pressure from the community, finally Bill C-16 came back three years later as a Liberal government bill and passed in 2017.
Yet today, some 6 years later, that promise of equality and safety remains largely just that, a promise. Trans and gender diverse Canadians still suffer exceedingly high levels of unemployment and under employment, at rates as high as 80%. Trans and gender diverse Canadians are still more than 3 to 4 times as likely as other Canadians to be targets of violence. Trans and gender diverse Canadians still struggle for acceptance in public, in schools, at work, and many in their own families.
I am not attempting to speak for the trans community but rather to reflect the concerns and solutions we heard from this community across the country by compliling this White Paper containing 29 specific recommendations in 10 areas. These range from ways to strengthen trans voices in Canada, to ways of making sure comprehensive gender affirming health care is available across Canada, to better ways to combat hate and violence. Together these recommendations set out a path forward toward fulfilling that promise of equality and safety we still owe to our fellow Canadians.
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