Quebec still doesn’t allow transgender migrants to change their gender or name on identity documents.
That’s something groups supporting transgender rights want changed. They want the Quebec government to pass a bill, tabled by the opposition Parti Quebecois, to allow all transgender immigrants, living in Quebec, to change their gender designation and name.
Bill-895 was tabled in the spring, and the groups have launched a campaign hoping to pressure the Quebec government into passing the bill this fall. They’ve set up an online petition and have planned a demonstration for Aug. 6, to address the issue.
According to community organizer Nora Butler Burke, because the Quebec government doesn’t permit the changing of gender and names on IDs, it further isolates immigrant members of the transgender community.
“Migrant trans women in Quebec, specifically refugees, have come to Canada seeking protection, yet in many ways, that protection is denied by the Canadian state and the Quebec government.”
She further explained that it isn’t uncommon for transgender women to be incarcerated with men, and are sometimes forced to plead guilty in order to escape abuse.
Fo Niemi of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations pointed out that discrimination based on citizenship was deemed illegal and unconstitutional by the Canadian Supreme Court in 1989, but, “unfortunately in Quebec, discrimination based on citizenship status is still in the books.”
He also pointed out that transgender immigrants are particularly vulnerable because they face multiple discrimination based on things like race and ethnicity, in addition to gender identity and citizenship.
“We find it extremely regrettable that on the one hand, the government says we want full equality for the LGBT community, but at the same time, this same government is deploying all sorts of tactics to delay or to resist giving the trans migrants, full equality at every level of daily life.”