Transgender rights legislation coming 'very shortly'
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia will be 'a big day': minister's spokesperson
The Liberal government is set to announce next week that it will propose legislation that would give legal and human rights protections to transgender people, following through on a pledge made during the federal election campaign.
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is celebrated annually on May 17 to mark the World Health Organization's decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
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The special day was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and those who don't conform to socially defined sexual and gender norms.
"We are looking forward to a big day," said Michael Davis, the director of communications for Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, on Friday.
"The minister looks forward to fulfilling her commitment as outlined by the prime minister in her mandate letter," Davis told CBC News by phone on Friday.
In his mandate letter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Wilson-Raybould to make it a priority to introduce legislation "to add gender identity as a prohibited ground for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to the list of distinguishing characteristics of 'identifiable group' protected by the hate speech provisions of the Criminal Code."
Similar legislation was proposed and passed in the House of Commons twice before being defeated in the Senate.
Legislation coming 'very shortly'
NDP MP Randall Garrison reintroduced the legislation as Bill C-204, an act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression), last December.
This week, Garrison asked Wilson-Raybould whether the government still intended to keep its promise, after a Montreal clinic that performs gender-affirming surgery was the target of arson.
"During the election," Garrison said on Tuesday, "the Liberals promised to add gender identity to the human rights code and to the hate crimes section of the Criminal Code.
"In February, the minister of justice told us that she would introduce legislation to protect gender identity and gender expression."
"The need is urgent. Will the government bring forward this legislation now to help prevent these kinds of hate crimes in the future?" Garrison said.
Wilson-Raybould stood up in the House of Commons and said that "legislation will be coming forward very shortly."
"Our government is committed to bringing forward legislation that will respect and ensure that we eliminate discrimination in all forms in this country," she said on Tuesday.
The justice minister thanked Garrison for his "tireless advocacy" to gender identity.