Yukon gov't protects trans and gender nonconforming people

The amendments passed by the Yukon legislature make discrimination based on gender identity and expression illegal.

The amendments make discrimination based on gender identity and expression illegal

Yukon government passed legislation to protect transgender and nonconforming individuals from discrimination Tuesday. (Torbak Hopper/Flickr)

Trans and gender nonconforming Yukoners now have legal protection against discrimination.

The Yukon Legislative Assembly passed amendments to the Human Rights Act and the Vital Statistics Act on Tuesday.

The changes make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on gender identity or gender expression — the way a person appears, dresses or behaves.

The Vital Statistics Act now permits changing the sex on a birth registration without any operations. Previously, the act only allowed someone to change the sex on their birth registration after gender reassignment surgery.

"Human rights should apply to everyone, said Tracy-Ann McPhee, minister of justice. "What we're doing in the process of introducing this legislation is codifying in law — what has already progressed through the courts in common law — to protect the rights of all humans."

Chase Blodgett, an advocate for transgender rights, has long advocated for changes to Yukon legislation.

"Today, I get to wake up and I get to go to the beach on a warm day, or go for a paddle," said Blodgett. "I get to focus on contributing to my community and doing the things that I love to do with the people that I love to do them with. It's a huge relief to wake up in the morning and not have to fight."

The government has committed to examining Yukon legislation to ensure it does not discriminate against anyone. It has also stated that within the next year, Yukoners will be able to get birth certificates with gender neutral markers.