Sask. behind other provinces on transgender rights: BC MP

SASKATOON – A number of local leaders say transgender people are not protected from discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and they’re pushing to change this.

The Federal Bill C279 aims to protect transgender people by including gender identity and gender expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act. The bill was adopted by the House of Commons in March and will now go through a third reading in the senate.

“We’re watching it very closely and we know it’s very difficult to get the votes in line,” said David Forbes, Saskatoon Centre MLA.

“We’re really hoping that the senate comes around in this week coming up and passes the bill,” said Forbes.

BC Member of Parliament Randall Garrison, who introduced the bill, attended the weekend meeting in Saskatoon. He was hoping to get more support from politicians in Saskatchewan.

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“Unfortunately, no Saskatchewan Conservatives voted in favour of my bill. To be fair to the speaker, the speaker does not vote,” said Garrison.

“We were able to find conservatives in all the other provinces that would support the bill,” he said.

Though many local advocates of gender identity and expression are supportive of the bill, some do have reservations.

“The cross-dressing community, for example, will be excluded by the bill,” said Miki Mappin, Trans Sask Services director.

“And I think that’s deliberate on the part of people that are opposing having gender expression in the bill,” she said.

Mappin also said she’s worried the bill will be hard to amend after it goes through, but their hands are tied at this point.

The senate is expected to make a decision on the bill next week.

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