British Columbia

Vancouver's transgender community celebrates week of awareness and advocacy

This week, the transgender community in Vancouver will be celebrating and memorializing victims of transphobic violence during the international week of awareness leading up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Local advocate Morgane Oger says B.C. is making progress on transgender human rights

November is Transgender Awareness Month and Monday marks the beginning of the week of awareness leading up to the Trans Day of Remembrance on the 20th. (Submitted)

This week, the transgender community in Vancouver will be celebrating and memorializing victims of transphobic violence during the international week of awareness leading up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance Nov. 20.

B.C. is ahead of the curve when it comes to transgender rights, and education on inclusion in schools is improving levels of acceptance, said Morgane Oger, the chair of the Trans Alliance Society.

"There's an active effort in schools by educators to include diversity in the education," she told The Early Edition's Stephen Quinn.

Oger said the addition of the SOGI 123 initiative, which requires all schools to include sexual orientation and gender identity into their anti-bullying policies, has been successful in exposing children to "the diversity of the universe they live in."

"For example, rather than always talking about "Billie" and "Suzie"... and they have a mom and a dad, now we talk about maybe sometimes they have two moms and one of the parents might be trans."

The province recently took another step in acknowledging people who identify as non-binary — meaning they subscribe to neither male or female genders — by offering the option of marking an 'X' in the gender field on primary ID, which Oger said is a "major win" for the community.

Advocate Morgane Oger says B.C. is ahead of the curve on transgender rights and inclusion, but, just south of the border, transgender gains are being eroded by the Trump administration. (Belle Ancel Photography)

She said while B.C. continues to progress in human rights for transgender, non-binary and other LGBT people, this week is about recognizing instances where the community's rights are regressing.

"We're very mindful here about what's happening in the U.S.," Oger said, referencing the recent memo from the Trump administration announcing a plan to establish a legal definition of sex under federal civil rights law.

"Donald Trump's government is trying to basically erase transgendered people by taking us out of the definition of what people are."

The week of cultural activities and activism ends with the Trans Day of Remembrance on Nov 20, where people will march and acknowledge the trans people who lost their lives in the past year by reading their names aloud.

Oger said the best way to show support for the LGBT community is to show empathy and allow transgender people to tell their own story.

"Listen and let the people whose issues are affected lead ... A very good ally translates to a point but really spends a lot of time listening to the people they're trying to be allies to."

With files from The Early Edition

To hear the full interview listen to media below:

Morgane talks about the societal, political and institutional struggles still facing transgender individuals on the first day of Transgender Awareness Week. 7:15