Transgender Canadians should 'feel free and safe' to be themselves under new Liberal bill
Harassment, discrimination and violence faced by LGBTQ community is 'unacceptable,' PM says
May 17, 2016
'I feel safer'
Bill C-16 would update the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include the terms 'gender identity' and 'gender expression."
While the inclusion of gender identity and expression has been in the making for over a decade, this is the first time such legislation is being proposed by a sitting government.
Wilson-Raybould was joined by Charlie Lowthian Rickert, a 10-year-old transgender girl, whom she described as "wise beyond her years."
The young girl said the proposed bill made her feel safe and gave her a sense of hope for a better future.
"It will improve our future so that we can live a more accepting, a more joyful life ...," Rickert said to a loud round of applause.
"It will protect us from, as the minister of justice said, hateful propaganda, assaults, rape — stuff like that. It could protect us and stop the people who would have just gone off and done it in the past, and discriminated or assaulted us but now it could be stopping them and basically punishing them if they actually do it."
"I feel much safer," she said.
. . .
NDP critic cautiously optimistic
NDP MP Randall Garrison, a longtime advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community, was also invited by the government to attend Tuesday's announcement.
The New Democrat has made several attempts over the years to introduce similar legislation through various private members' bills, only to see them die on the order paper or be defeated in the Senate.
"This is an important day, but I want to remind people this is the seventh time that this bill has been introduced in the House of Commons," Garrison said on Tuesday.
"What makes today special is it's the first time that it's a government bill," the NDP critic for LGBT issues said.
Garrison thanked the government for going beyond its election promise to include the full protections for gender identity and gender expression that he included in his most recent private member's bill.