CALGARY – Calgary Pride applauds the Government of Canada’s anticipated bill explicitly recognizing the rights of transgender and gender diverse Canadian expected to be introduced Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

This action follows on a specific mandate given to the Honourable Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould by the Prime Minister to “Introduce government legislation to add gender identity as a prohibited ground for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to the list of distinguishing characteristics of “identifiable group” protected by the hate speech provisions of the Criminal Code.”

“We would like to commend the Government of Canada on their significant action towards equality for all Canadians,” says Amelia Marie Newbert, Director of Community Development, and a member of Calgary’s trans community.

Federal services such as accessing identification, including passports and immigration documents, transportation regulations and exclusion from federal statistics continue to pose significant difficulties for trans and gender diverse individuals within Canada.

Newbert continues “the expected proposed amendments to include ‘gender identity’ in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code are an essential steps towards protecting the rights, and ensuring fair and equitable access to opportunities and services for trans and gender diverse Canadians.”

The introduction of this bill on Tuesday is surely no coincidence with May 17 marking International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

As Calgary Pride president Stephen Wright notes, “on this day, and in light of this announcement, it is equally important to continue to remind ourselves to also look locally within our own communities and work to promote understanding, equality and inclusivity in our daily lives for all individuals.”

This bill is expected to officially take precedence over Bill C-204, a private member’s bill containing similar legislation introduced in late 2015 by opposition member MP Randall Garrison. C-204 was the most recent attempt to introduce such legislation, and was preceded by Bill C-279 which passed through the House of Commons before dying in the Senate.

A fate Newbert hopes will not be repeated. “With the government championing explicit recognition of trans rights, we are extremely hopeful that it will more easily gain the support of the House and Senate. However, with no certainty in that, the need for Canadians to express their support for this legislation to their Members of Parliament and Senators continues to be key.”

Calgary Pride is a not-for-profit organization that exists to promote equality and celebrate Calgary’s diversity.

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