ANDREA HOUSTON – Queer activist Davina Hader is making it as easy as possible for Ontario MPPs to tell trans people in Ontario whether they support amending the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity.
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale–High Park) is tabling Bill 70, Toby’s Act, for the fourth time on Feb 21. This time, it’s before a minority Liberal government that appears to be supportive.
Hader, part of the Trans Lobby Group and Queer Ontario, has sent the following email to every MPP:
Dear Member of Provincial Parliament,
Very soon a private member will be putting forth a bill in the Ontario Legislature that will request the addition of gender identity to the Ontario Human Rights Code. We are hoping for support from our Ontario MPPs and ask that you might let us know how you feel.
This December we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Sexual Orientation being included in the Ontario Human Rights Code. This has been monumental for all Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual individuals. However transsexual, intersexed, transgender and two spirit individuals were disregarded and continue to be treated insignificantly, unreal and countless times inhumanly; to the point where many suffer severe emotional distress.
Bullying in our schools is especially difficult for trans youth, not only from other students, but from teachers, school staff, even parents and family members. Trans youth are often told they’re too young to be thinking and acting this way. This is bullying, discrimination and it is wrong. By age 4, children ‘know’ their gender identity.
In the past year many MPPs and community members have worked diligently to help our government bring forward better standards that will provide unquestionable GSAs, support and better anti-bullying laws for all Ontario schools.
It is time to recognize that gender diversity is not about sexual orientation; it is about being the person you were meant to be.
It is time well overdue to confirm transsexual, intersected, transgender and two spirit youth, both young, and old adults must be accepted in society by finally adding Gender Identity to the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Click one of the following choices:
1. YES I support the addition of Gender Identity to the Ontario Human Rights Code and will vote YES when the bill is brought forth at the Ontario Legislature.
2. I am UNDECIDED on the addition of Gender Identity to the Ontario Human Rights Code and would like more information to make my decision on whether or not I will support this bill.
3. NO I do not support the addition of Gender Identity to the Ontario Human Rights Code and will vote NO when the bill is brought forth at the Ontario Legislature.
Without linking to a separate website, each vote is sent to Hader’s cellphone, which records the vote.
Hader says she’ll keep Xtra updated on the votes.
The last time the bill was tabled was 2010, but it was dismissed by then-attorney general Chris Bentley because, he said, protection was “implied.” DiNovo says the bill gives trans people increased protection against discrimination and transphobia in Ontario.
Here’s the video from the press conference when DiNovo announced Toby’s Act for the third time.
"Without those two words — ‘gender identity’ — trans people are still at risk,” DiNovo says. “We really do not understand the government’s hesitancy to pass this simple bill."
Then this happened.