An Open Letter To Stephen Ira »« There Is No Behind Our Backs

Bill C-279 Read In Parliament Yesterday

Just a quick little post here…

Yesterday afternoon Bill C-279, the one that offers legal protections to trans Canadians from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression, was debated in (first?) reading in the House of Commons.

Here’s a little bit of video:

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good stuff. Conservative MPs were happy to trot out ignorant and bigoted fear-mongering, such as the dreaded “bathroom predator” myth, as well as making some kind of reference to pedophiles using these protections to stalk YOUR CHILDREN. -scare chord-

I’m not sure whether or not any NDP MPs remembered to make the point that nothing like that has ever actually happened. I was reading this interesting blog post a couple days ago (which I’ll link on Sunday) that mentioned an ongoing challenge to rad-fem transphobes, right-wingers, HBSers and other bigots to name just ten incidents of anyone ever taking advantage of bathrooms being opened to trans people to commit sexual assault. None of these groups have ever been able to present so much as ONE such incident. One ultra-Conservative group responded with the claim that four rapes occurred involving men disguised as trans women after a bill had been passed in a certain US municipality allowing trans people access to appropriate gender-specific facilities, but when the police force of that municipality were contacted about this claim, they reported that no such incidents had actually taken place. In the absence of evidence for their doomsday scenarios, it appears the bathroom fear-mongers are happy to turn to outright lies.

Anyway, here’s some info on what you can do to help…

The coming two weeks are “constituency weeks” in which the MPs will leave Ottawa and return to their ridings. This means you’ll have a chance to DIRECTLY contact and, ideally, meet with your MPs to discuss the bill. It’s very important and meaningful to do this in all ridings, and I strongly discourage anyone from getting into a “no point in my case” attitude, but it’s especially important for those of you who have Conservative MPs with a socially-progressive history who may be willing to stray from the party-line on this.

Another extremely helpful thing you can do is, beyond contacting your MP, contact your local media. Newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, etc. Ask why they’re not covering this. Press them. Bring up Talackova if you have too. Ask why they didn’t consider this angle while covering her story. I firmly believe the best and only chance this bill has is awareness. Canadians need to know it’s going on, and the Tories need to know Canadians know it’s going on. THAT’S what will make them fear the consequences of voting against it, and perhaps appreciate the potential positive consequences of voting in its favour.

Thank you for all the work you’ve all been doing. But we cannot, and must not, stop now.