Newfoundland trans activist Jennifer McCreath has created a website to voice her opposition to federal trans rights Bill C-279, saying that if “gender expression” is not included, the bill should be thrown out completely.
McCreath launched Trans Canadians Against Bill C-279, tcac279.org, Dec 6, the day justice committee hearings on the bill were expected to wrap up, before Conservative MPs filibustered the bill, forcing it back to the House.
McCreath says the omission of gender expression puts pressure on the victim to demonstrate what type of discrimination they are facing.
Ontario and Manitoba have passed legislation containing both “gender expression” and “gender identity.” McCreath says she is puzzled as to why the federal government is having trouble defining the terms.
“If you’re going to do it, do it right. If you’re going to offer human rights and protection, make sure it’s absolute,” she says. “I don’t see any value in building a weak foundation.”
McCreath says the federal government has never defined the word “gender,” and therefore the terms “gender expression” and “gender identity” should not require a definition.
Additionally, the selection of Egale Canada to testify before the standing committee on justice and human rights as a group representative of the nationwide trans community is a gross oversight, McCreath says.
“I’m concerned that we have an organization calling themselves Canada’s LGBT human rights organization, when in my opinion they are a Toronto-based ‘L and G’ organization,” she says. “There are several trans activists and advocates in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, all of whom have advised me that they are not engaged in this. It has me questioning the motive of [Randall] Garrison, the NDP and Egale Canada. Are they more concerned with passing something so they can try to take credit for that and build up their own empire? Or are they really acting in the best interest of the people they say they are here to serve?”
McCreath says she respects the argument that something is better than nothing, but accepting the bill without “gender expression” would be like accepting second best.
“It’s like telling Rosa Parks, ‘You can get on the bus, but you have to sit in the back,'” she says. “I’m a human being and I want equal treatment. If I can get equal treatment in the province of Ontario and Nova Scotia, I expect the same when I set foot in Ottawa or any type of federal jurisdiction.”
Garrison’s office says he is not aware of McCreath’s site but will comment once he has a chance to examine its content.