Should Canadians really require a Tribunal for Equality?
Dear MPs Goguen, Albas and Anderson,
I listened carefully this week as the three of you debated Bill C279 and found it very interesting that you all seemed to feel that since the Human Rights Commission was able to hear cases, that this Bill is not needed. Well, quite frankly, I think you have demonstrated the importance of how and why this Bill is desperately needed, and more importantly, demonstrated that inequality still exists in society. I write you this open letter today, to explain why.
Basic Human Rights: access to employment, housing and health care - these are things that most Canadians take for granted and hold dear to their hearts as a Canadian values. But when it comes to attitudes towards transwomen?? why do we see the opposite? Why is it that organizations such as the Government of Canada's Transport Canada Department, the Bank of Canada, and many private sector organizations still feel the need to discriminate?
Going to a Human Rights Tribunal to gain rights shouldn't have to be the norm! This should merely be a last resort! Something is gravely wrong with a country that routinely denies citizens equal access to employment, housing, and health care, simply because they were born with a trans medical condition.
While the debate is still out on whether or not Bill C279 is the right answer, quite frankly, doing nothing will not solve the problem either. Whether you pass this bill or not, really isn't the issue. What matters most is that all members of the trans community need our Governments, federally, provincially, and locally, to all step up to the plate to lead society into a change of cultural morality. We need Governments to play a leadership role in promoting and demonstrating equality and acceptance towards everyone.
Rather than fight transwomen, you need to embrace us. You need to go out of your way to make sure myths are overcome and that institutions are better educated about us and learn to overcome their phobic fears. Having to go to the Human Rights Tribunal to resolve issues is a major logistical and financial headache that nobody really needs. A little change in societal attitudes could go a long way to resolving these gaps. I publicly call on all three of you to take on a better leadership role in demonstrating acceptance and equality, rather that continue to try to justify the oppressive nature of your Government, towards minorities such as trans people.
Quite frankly, I really don't care what the text in the Human Rights Act says. What I really care about is attitudes and actions of my fellow Canadian citizens, businesses, and Government institutions. Sadly, since coming out as Trans in 2007, I have seen a significant changes in how I am perceived and accepted in this country by all. Only after I came out as trans, did I ever have a problem getting on to an airplane or crossing a border. Only after I came out as trans, did I find myself losing government job competitions that I had always won in the past. Only after I came out as trans, did i find myself having to pay for health care out of my own pocket. Only after coming out as trans, did I find family and fiends turning their backs on me. Only after coming out as trans, did I even find myself in a position of having to file complaints with tribunals to simply gain equal access to products and services that I always had at my disposal. Only after I came out as trans, did I find over 30 landlords refuse to rent me an apartment. Only after I came out as trans, did i find myself losing what was supposedly a safe and secure job. Only after I came out as trans, did I find rejection from social groups who had always been welcoming.
In conclusion, I am highly offended that access to human rights for trans-identified persons is still considered a political issue, rather than a universal issue. While you may intent to dismiss this letter as left-wing propaganda, let me assure you that not all trans-identified people are NDP supporters or left-wingers. Quite frankly, I am quite supportive with much of the Conservative agenda with regards to economic policies, foreign affairs, and so many other areas. But what keeps me from joining your party is this one critical issue of a lack of acceptance towards this issue.
While you may think taking a leadership role in promoting the nation-wide acceptance of trans diversity, may cost you votes, I challenge you to dig deeper and get to know your electorate better. Canadians are generally kind, loving, tolerant and accepting people - save for a few examples of extreme religious evangelicalism.
I urge you, as leaders of our country, to please step up to the plate and do a better job with this issue! If you don't like C279, then come up with a better bill yourselves! Heck, several Governments of all political stripes have stepped up to the plate and done so here in Canada at provincial and City levels - and the world has not come to an end! There is a huge opportunity here for the Conservative party of Canada to make a statement and continue to demonstrate the leadership abilities that you often claim to have. Simply stating that there are no gaps in the status quo, simply demonstrates your ignorance towards the matters at hand. If there really was no problem, do you really think the opposition parties would be spending so much time calling you out on these issues?
Finally, I urge you to take a greater effort to reach out to, and liaise with trans-identified Canadians, such as myself, so that you can gain a clearly understanding that we are not threats, but are simply regular ordinary Canadians who are trying to maximize our lives. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with or meet with any of you directly, if it would prove helpful to further your understanding of these matters.
St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador