Tuesday, December 4, 2012


TCAC279.org 'draft' Fact Sheet


Org Type: grass roots / non-profit / national / human rights activism / politically-neutral / alliance

Purpose: to raise education and awareness to the concerns and potential harmful impacts of excluding "Gender Expression" from the proposed additions to the list of explicit grounds of Human Rights Protection in federal Canadian laws, as per the proposed revision of the Canada Human Rights Act, via Bill C279.

Goal: to take steps to ensure that Gender Expression and Gender Identity get added to the Canadian Human Rights protections, together.

Lifecycle: this organization will exist until the Goal cited above is met.

Key Points to the Argument against Bill C279:

- Precedent: Bill C389 passed the House with 'expression' included. proof it can pass a Federal House!

- Best-Practice: Ontario, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, City of Toronto, Vancouver have all included gender expression - hence, acknowledging that it is needed, and acknowledging that implied coverage under gender identity, sex, or disability, is not sufficient.

- Difference and Dichotomy: between identity and expression strongly exists. It is much tougher to prove discrimination based on identity alone. identity is private and personal information, that may not be known.

- Medical: before gender identity issues can be treated medically, it is often required of patients to 'express' their desired gender, via Real Life Test, before gaining access to hormones and surgeries. trans people face extreme discrimination during the early stages of transition, including stages where they are pre-hormone and pre-op. protection during these time frames is even more important than others.

- Definitions: without 'expression' it would be easy for the anti trans rights activists to argue that a formal medical diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria be obtained before anyone can site discrimination upon the basis of 'identity'

- Historical lack of Definition: Government of Canada has used the term 'gender' in many policies for years, without it ever being defined. hence, the argument that lack of definition or confusion, is moot.

- Politics: it's sad to think that explicit human rights protection could be considered a political issue, and that members of the trans community, could be considered political pawns. this is NOT acceptable. our rights must not be compromised or offered as political favours. Toby's Bill in Ontario was inclusive of gender expression, and was met with unanimous support across all political party lines.

- Inclusive History: has demonstrated that gender expression is most likely to be accepted into Human Rights laws, when concurrently entered with Gender Identity.

- Exclusive History: has NOT demonstrated that it is easy or easier to add gender expression after gender identity had previously been added on its own.

- Non-Medical Trans*: not all members of the trans* umbrella have been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. not all require medical treatment either. yet many, for whatever reason, feel the want and/or need to express a gender presentation that is not congruent with presentations expected based on societal myths and norms.

- Cis Individuals: outside of the trans identity could also face risk of discrimination due to presenting gender roles or gender expressions, either part time or full time, that are perceived to be outside of societal norms or myths. These folks may not realize human rights protection under gender identity, given that their identity is not congruent with their public gender presentation.

- Regression: What sort of message, precedent or trend would be set by a Federal Government excluding 'expression' shortly after several provinces included it? Would this message make it tougher for the remaining provinces to sell the need for it to be included?

- Damage reversal: Experts say it would be much easier to do it right the first time, rather than have to undo damage, then redo it correctly

- Quality over Quantity: as more provinces pass human rights bills that include gender expression, the more pressure there will be to ensure that any modification to the federal act would also be inclusive. while the Cons may not be ready to accept gender expression as an explicit human right in 2012, with 3 existing provinces and territories on board, they may be more pressured to do so in 2014, should the count be up to 6 or 7 provinces.

- Manitoba: is the only province who has passed gender identity without gender expression. it would be important to analyze and assess the impact of this. no Manitoba trans people have been asked to testify at the Bill C279 committee meetings. this is a mistake.

- Limitations of Bill Sponsors and Supporters: it should be noted that the bill is being lead by gay activists and gay organizations, not trans activists. They have gone out of their way to exclude input and feedback from members of the trans community. One might question their true intentions of creating and pushing a flawed Bill. - Geography of Sponsors and Supporters: the bill-processing has been managed almost exclusively by Toronto-based entities, including reps of two Toronto-based organizations who have not demonstrated historical positive rapport with prominent Canadian trans activists outside of Toronto. Out of site, out of touch!

- Inside the Box: trans people in Toronto already enjoy protection at the city and provincial levels under 'expression' being explicit in their legislation. why then, are these folks so anxious to pass a bill federally without it? are they remotely aware of the impact currently faced by trans people who do not have same protections at said levels?

- Our Bill? Our Community?: do trans Canadians really feel comfortable with cis gay Torontonians speaking for them, making decisions for them, and potentially taking donations away from them? Seeking and realizing societal awareness is the best way to sell change: Trans* people across Canada need to be the key leaders and sellers of this movement. Bill C279 was written without consultation with many key individuals who will be affected by its impending implementation. It does NOT have explicit support from many of these said individuals either.

- Bathroom: the Criminal Code of Canada clearly states that harassment, assault, sexual harassment and sexual assault, are criminal activities. No current or past human rights acts have justified any of these activities. Arguing that including 'expression' will legalize such activities, is not only false, but to give in to this perceived myth might make it easier for Cons to justify the argument that trans* people are, in fact, sexual predators. Furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence in any jurisdiction around the world, that have demonstrated that adding 'expression' to human rights codes have facilitated or increased instances of sexual harassment in public places.

- Moral Message: it's ok to have gender identity issues but not ok to e expressive of gender or expressive of these matters. This is NOT appropriate!

- Partial rights are not rights: Look at Rosa Parks. It was ok for her to ride on the bus as long as she sits in the 'blacks only' section at the back? This was NOT equality!

- Equivalence: it's ok to get married to same sex partner but illegal to life together and/or engage in romantic activities together. NOT right there. Why is it right here?

Website: www.tcac279.org

Email info@jennifermccreath.com for now

Facilitators: Jennifer McCreath

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