Toronto – November 16, 2017 – On the Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, we acknowledge and remember those who have lost their lives due to transphobia and hate.
UFCW Canada has made it a priority to defend the rights of LGBTQI2S members in our union, and in the community. We have made concerted efforts to ensure that their voices are heard in the halls of Parliament and in UFCW Canada-represented workplaces.
On June 19, 2017, Bill C-16 became law. It added “gender identity or expression” to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and amended the Criminal Code of Canada to make it a criminal offence to incite or promote hatred because of gender identity or expression. Two months later, the federal government announced an option to allow Canadians to mark an “X” on the passport application, should an applicant’s identity not meet the male / female binary. Most recently, an advisory council was announced by the federal government to create a formal apology in response to the We Demand an Apology Network.
These governmental actions are the direct result of LGBTQI2S activism, supported by allies. UFCW Canada members have stood shoulder to shoulder at Pride parades across the country in solidarity to defend the rights of all LGBTQI2S members in our workplaces and our communities. UFCW Canada has also fought for the implementation of changes sought under Bill C-16. We continue to call for an official apology from the federal government to public servants who endured abuse and discrimination because of their gender identity or expression. We have also raised the visibility of transgender issues through our work and support of the Canadian Professional Association on Transgender Health.
On November 20, we acknowledge the difficult and discriminatory reality that continues to face trans communities across the country, and reaffirm our commitment to full and equal rights for trans people. These rights respect safety for all persons – by challenging discrimination, expanding inclusion, and nurturing alliances with allies who uphold trans rights as human rights.
This November 20, let us challenge our assumptions and be allies in the workplace and in our communities for all trans people in Canada and beyond.
Paul R. Meinema