Nova Scotia has tabled amendments to its Human Rights Act to clarify the rights of transgender people.

Justice Minister Ross Landry said the proposed amendment would protect gender expression and identity.

The changes would allow transgender people to file human rights complaints in cases where they believe they have been discriminated against on the job or in the community.

"We've heard stories about people of transgender going in and trying to get an apartment or get a place to live and have been shunned away. It's negative, hurtful and shameful in a society in which that occurs," said Landry.

Kate Shewan began life as a man. She's fought unsuccessfully with her employer for life insurance and long-term disability benefits.

Shewan said the tabled bill will begin to change attitudes.

"That's what's going to have the biggest impact is as people learn more about the transgender community and the challenges and become more accepting I think that's what's going to make life easier for transgender people," said Shewan.

Nova Scotia does not pay for sex reassignment surgery, but an amendment could give the transgender community more leverage to make that happen.

If the legislation passes, Nova Scotia would join Ontario, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories in specifically recognizing transgender people in its human rights legislation.

With files from the Canadian Press