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Trans rights bill passes at second hour of debate

The second and final hour of debate on Bill C-389, regarding including trans rights into Canadian human rights and Criminal Code legislation happened this evening in the House of Commons.

Once again, most of the speeches were in support of the bill, with the exception of the Conservatives, who put up the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Justice, Daniel Petit, to claim that the bill was unnecessary, because trans people are already protected from gender-based discrimination.

First up for the Liberals was gay MP Mario Silva, who quoted the imprisoned Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying "Please use your freedom to promote ours." He also cautioned against using statistics to show the small size of the trans community, saying that human rights do not need to be measured in numbers simply because they are universal in character.

For the Bloc, Nicole Demers recounted the descrimination she faced when she married a black man in 1970, and how the priest didn't want any "mulatto" children in his parish. She also recounted how her son faced discrimination just for the way he was born, which she related to what she imagined a trans person must feel.

Other speakers in favour of the bill were lesbian NDP MP Libby Davies, Liberal Hedy Fry – who recounted the issue from a medical and psychological perspective, given her experience as a physician – and NDP MP Jim Maloway, who recounted the experience of expanding these kinds of human rights in Manitoba.

At the end of the hour, the bill passed on division, meaning it has been referred to committee without a vote. The justice committee must address the bill within 60 working days.
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