June 17, 2013 by jillianpage
(This has been posted to my Gazette blog. I post it here for people
who do not have access to the Gazette site.)
The following is a letter to Canadian senators about Bill C-279, from
Amanda Ryan, Outreach Chair of Gender Mosaic.
My name is Amanda and I am proudly Trans.
I came out of my closet 12 years ago after being firmly entrenched
there for 35 years. The closet is a horrible place to be. Nobody
should be sentenced to that kind of confinement simply because some
segments of society think there is something wrong with us. Lack of
visibility combined with a lack of public education make it all too
easy to discriminate against us.
Much has changed in the 12 years since I have been out of my closet.
Things are definitely getting better. The Trans community is becoming
more visible and can no longer be ignored. We can no longer be pushed
aside as a minor annoyance. We have the right to be the persons we
It has been suggested by some opponents of Bill C-279 that efforts
should be concentrated on helping Trans people find medical assistance
rather than on their rights. Well, I did seek out counseling and the
help of support groups. When I told the counselor that I crossdressed,
she simply said, “So?”. Counseling and support groups helped me
understand who I truly am and how to deal with this reality. I now
understand that there is nothing wrong with me. I am normal. My body
simply does not fit the gender I feel within me. I like who I am.
Bill C-279 has been called unnecessary and mostly symbolic. Quite the
contrary. This bill is necessary. There are Trans people suffering
discrimination on a regular basis. Groups that are promoting
misleading concepts such as the “Bathroom Bill” and linking our
community to pedophilia are the very reason we need discrimination
protection. These are clearly discriminatory statements, bordering on
being hate statements. We should be afraid of groups who are unwilling
to understand us and unwilling to meet with us, yet actively promote
these points of view.
And mostly symbolic? Well no … not mostly. I agree that it has a
strong symbolic value in that it would recognize the Trans community
as an entity under the law. That would help us a great deal. I want to
promote the Trans community to the public as a positive, contributing
group of people within society. This bill will help me do that. More
importantly, this bill will help Trans people believe in themselves.
Discrimination protection for Trans people needs to be explicit. We
need to be able to tell employers that they can’t discriminate against
someone simply because they are Trans. There are laws against that.
There will be a positive impact even if the law is seldom used in a
court or a human rights hearing.
We need this bill now. Not in the next government or subsequent ones.
The amendment to add sex to the Criminal Code, though in itself very
valid, could significantly delay or kill this bill entirely. This
amendment should be a Government Bill that would easily pass the House
and the Senate. This is our time. Let’s prove to the world that we are
on the right side of history.
Please help us take these last final steps through the Senate.
Outreach Committee Chair