17 May 2016 was International day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Canada is moving forward, by introducing legislation to protect transgender people from hate speech and discrimination. While just across the border, America tries to make life harder for the Trans community.
After a decade of debate, transgender people in Canada are getting legislation to protect them. However, this is not the first time that the Canadian government has tried to pass pro-trans legislation. The conversation started in 2004 with the help of the New Democratic Party, but somehow, over the years it was always ignored.
The bill at its core is to protect trans people against discrimination in the workplace, fair housing, healthcare and recognising violence towards trans people as a hate crime. With a wave of harassment and violence against trans people across the country this bill came in the right time to make the difference, and punish those who believe they are above the law.
Meanwhile in the UK it is against the law to discriminate trans people, directly or indirectly and even by perception and or association, however the law only protects those who have undergone or are undergoing gender reassignment, and for that to happen a transgender individual must be living in their new gender for a period of two years, in that period of time no protection is offered.
In January of this year the Women Equalities Committee published a list of recommendations, displaying some of the problems that the British government must address in order to give trans people the same rights and equal opportunity. Some of the recommendations were; changing the legislation of the type of prison that a trans person might be sent to, transgender people to self-declare instead of having to do so via the NHS, the age of gender recognition to change from 18 to 16 giving people a chance to be who there are as soon as possible and a new hate-crime legislation.
Changes are happening across the globe (slowly but surely) and we can’t stop pushing for a better country where we all have equal rights.