For Immediate Release!
Commemoration of 7th Annual Transgender Day of Visibility to take place at Six Newfoundland Town Halls!
International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event occurring March 31, dedicated to celebrate trans people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by trans people world wide. Michigan-based trans activist Rachel Crandall launched the event in 2009 as a response to concern that the only 'day' in which the world recognized trans people, was Trans Day of Remembrance, Nov 20. Rachel wanted an event that brought attention to those living, rather than just the dead. The day has since been recognized by trans communities all over the world.
The East Coast Trans Alliance is a grass roots organization run by and for trans people in the four eastern-most provinces of Canada: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador. The organization has been active since 2010, as they have hosted educational, activism, political policy influencing, and social events in over two dozen cities and towns in all 4 provinces; and representatives have given lectures to universities, high schools and colleges. Co-founder, and head of NL affairs, Jennifer McCreath will be embarking on a cross-provincial tour, March 30 and 31, for a series of flag-raising events at town halls, educational networking round table meetings, and social meet n greet events, to commemorate this occasion.
While based in St. John's, Jennifer feels it is extremely important to do events all over the province, so that education towards trans people and trans issues, can be taught province-wide, "There are many trans people around the province who have reached out to me. Many feel too afraid to come out publicly as trans as they fear that they might be the only out trans person in their town, and that the society around them is completely unaware and unprepared for the challenges facing trans people. Having Town councils demonstrate acceptance and a willingness to learn, understand, and embrace us, is a huge first step towards making all parts of the province of NL a better place for trans people to live their lives to the fullest," said McCreath.
Jennifer is excited to see that most of the the Town Halls that she recruited to co-host flag-raising awareness events, agreed to partake. The trans flag (which has pink, white, and blue stripes), will be raised at five town halls in this province for the very first time: Torbay, Harbour Grace, Carbonear, Grand-Falls Windsor, and Gander, as well as raised at the town hall of Logy Bay/Middle Cove/Outer Cove, for the second time (the first being July 2014 as part of Pride Week).
Local trans activist Sara Pinsent will emcee the Middle Cove event, while Jennifer will emcee the other 5 events.
Torbay mayor Ralph Tapper was quite excited to receive the initial invite from Jennifer "While every individual has the right to achieve ultimate happiness, for some to accomplish this, it is very, very challenging. The Town Council of Torbay recognizes Trans Day of Visibility s an opportunity to bring awareness on the issue of diversity to our community in the hope that all of us will educate ourselves and support transgendered people who strive to achieve and accept their genuine identity. Hopefully other communities will join us in supporting this event," said Tapper.
One of the key goals of the ECTA is to develop strong working relationships between trans community organizations, and women's organizations, "Status of Women Central believes in 'Equality For All'. Let's raise up and honour all transgendered people as valued citizens of our society," said Stephanie Bartlett, on behalf of the organization.
Jennifer has significant concerns that some Conservative members of the Canadian Senate are hesitant to provide Human Rights Protection for trans people, due to myths and unfounded fears regarding apparent increased risks of sexual assaults in washrooms, "there are many jurisdictions all over the world that have had trans rights for quite some time, and there have been no documented reports of any people being assaulted by a trans person or by someone pretending to be trans. Sexual assault is already illegal, and providing human rights to trans people is not going to change that," said Jennifer.
Jennifer also hopes to raise awareness to some NL provincial policies that are out of date and harmful to trans people, "trans people who do not require surgery, are unable to have their identification documents amended to their correct gender identity. This not only causes privacy issues, but it can lead to unnecessary profiling and other types of discrimination. Meanwhile, trans people who do require surgery, are unable to take advantage of the recommendations of the many qualified doctors here in the province, because the MCP funding policy (last updated in 1998) requires trans people to travel to Clarke Institute (aka CAMH) in Toronto, for assessment, which is unnecessary, given that global experts, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, (wpath.org) have launched transition protocol that can be applied to trans patients by any team of doctors that include a general practitioner, and a psychiatrist or psychologist," said McCreath.
Monday March 30, 2015
- Torbay Town Hall - Flag-Raising - 9 am
- Harbour Grace Town Hall - Flag-Raising - 12 noon
- Carbonear Town Hall - Flag Raising - 1.30 pm
Tuesday March 31, 2015
- Logy Bay / Middle Cove / Outer Cove Town Hall - Flag Raising - 9 am
- Grand Falls-Windsor Town Hall - Flag-Raising - noon, Social Networking in Boardroom afterwards
- Gander Town Hall - Flag-Raising - 3 pm, Social Networking Event at Gander Women's Centre afterwards
Questions or Interviews:
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador