The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is in support of Bill C-16, to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.
Bill C-16 also amends the Criminal Code to extend the protection against hate propaganda set out in that Act to any section of the public that is distinguished by gender identity or expression and to clearly set out that evidence that an offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance that a court must take into consideration when it imposes a sentence.
People who are transgender (trans) experience discrimination, harassment and violence because of their gender identity or gender expression. People who are trans, two-spirit, and/or gender non-conforming are vital members of our communities, and yet continue to experience profound marginalization and alarming rates of violence. Beyond Bill C-16 we must continue:
to make schools safe for trans students and students questioning their gender identity;
to tear down barriers to employment for trans people and create safer workplaces;
to ensure access to affordable and appropriate healthcare services;
to work with law enforcement to improve training and responses to crimes committed against trans people.
As a network of Women’s Centres throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador we fiercely strive for gender equity and this includes gender equality for trans women and being allied in support of all transgender, two-spirit and gender non-conforming people in our communities. We are committed to being trans inclusive, and to value and grow through the voice and leadership of trans people.
We call on all Women’s Centres and women-serving organizations across Canada to ensure our work is always human rights based, including the dismantling of binary and heteronormative discourses, and the inclusion of trans women throughout our organizations.
To feminist organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador who wish to join us in support of Bill C-16 and co-sign this letter, please contact us.
Co-Chair Janice Kennedy
Executive Director BSG Status of Women
Co-Chair Jenny Wright
Executive Director, St. John’s Status of Women
PANSOW is a network of all Status of Women Councils of Newfoundland and Labrador. PANSOW applies a ‘provincial lens’ to issues of equality and ensures a public voice for women from a non-partisan, grassroots, and feminist perspective.