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Trans Day of Remembrance highlights success stories

Ottawa ceremony features candlelight vigil, but with a positive outlook

Trans groups across the world marked Trans Day of Remembrance Nov 20, and Ottawa held a candlelight vigil to remember those who have died as a result of anti-trans violence.

But the tone of the event was mostly positive, as activists and members of the community shared personal success stories.

At the provincial level, trans activist Shannon Blatt says she is working with NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo to get gender identity added to the Ontario Human Rights Code. DiNovo has pledged to introduce a private member’s bill, and Blatt says she is working with DiNovo to determine the best timing to introduce the bill.

“We’re going to keep going and keep going until the law is amended in Ontario — non-negotiable,” says Blatt.

Evan Hazenberg of the University of Ottawa Pride Centre spoke about how “even within the invisible community of transsexuals, there’s an even more invisible community” — female-to-male (FTM) transsexuals.

NDP MP Bill Siksay, the federal party’s critic on queer issues, spoke about how the NDP has adopted a new policy on trans issues as of early November.

“Actions are needed to end discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in health care, in the justice system and in the provision of identity documents,” says Siksay.

Siksay has also introduced a private member’s bill that would add gender identity to the Canadian Human Rights Act, but it is unlikely to be debated in the House anytime soon, he says.