TORONTO – Violence, or the threat of violence, based on gender identity or gender expression remains a reality for trans communities everywhere, which have recorded 226 murders—including 2 in Canada—since commemorating the annual Trans Day of Remembrance (November 20th) last year. Over 1600 murders have been reported in 62 countries between 2008 and 2014, with many more unreported.
In Canada, only five provinces and one territory have passed legislation that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. Bill C-279, which would extend federal human rights protections to include trans people, as well as provide protections for trans people against hate crimes, has languished in the Senate for over a year and a half. The Gender Identity Bill would ensure human rights protections for trans individuals that are equal to those afforded to other members of society. Passing Bill C279 would also penalize hate crimes against trans people, just as we do with hate crimes that are motivated by religion, race, and sexual orientation.
In a 2011 survey, 74% of transgender youth reported experiencing verbal harassment in school, and 37% reported experiencing physical violence. On this day, and every day, when this type of harassment and violence in our schools and communities is not subject to the same penalties under our Criminal Justice system as they would be if they were experienced by other people in Canada, we must remain steadfast and resolute in our determination for change. As we remember the trans individuals whose lives have been taken, we cannot accept anything less.
Egale Canada Human Rights Trust is Canada’s only national charity promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans human rights through research, education and community engagement. Egale attended the Trans day of Remembrance Proclamation and Flag Raising at Nathan Philips Square, in Toronto, on Thursday, and the evening memorial at The 519 Church Street Community Centre. www.egale.ca
*Calgary will be commemorating the 2014 Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday, November 23rd at the
CommunityWise Resource Centre on 12th Ave SW. For more information visit the Facebook page.