Canada’s trans and nonbinary citizens can now feel like their rights are truly recognized as human rights, thanks to Bill C-16.
After many years, the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-16, which protects Canadians from discrimination based on gender identity or expression.
This legislation did not come easily (or quickly). In fact, it took about 12 years and several failed attempts to get it to where it finally landed.
Former NDP MP Bill Siksay first introduced the bill in 2005, then again in 2007 and again in 2009. This bill was actually passed by the House in the spring 2011, but it died in the Senate when an election was called.
Finally, Bill C-16 passed with a vote of 67 in favour and 11 against on June 15.
“In Canada we celebrate inclusion and diversity, and all Canadians should feel safe to be themselves. Trans and gender diverse persons must be granted equal status in Canadian society, and this Bill makes that status explicit in Canadian law,” said Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
In 2016 alone, more than 86 lives of Trans people were lost to transphobia and hate, according to Randall Garrison, NDP Critic for LGBTQ issues.
For many, this bill marks an important moment in trans and nonbinary history, and a step in a new direction in LGBTQ rights.