Add transgender protections to the B.C. human rights code say New Democrats

August 2, 2012

Explicit protection needed to help combat discrimination says Chandra Herbert

VICTORIA — As Vancouver Pride hits full swing New Democrats are calling for the B.C. Liberal government to commit to bring in legislation explicitly protecting transgender individuals in the B.C. Human Rights Code.

“New Democrats are celebrating Vancouver Pride with a call to action. It’s long past time that transgender people were given clear protection under the B.C. human rights code,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, the New Democrat MLA for Vancouver-West End.

“Pride is a celebration of how far we’ve come for human rights, and also a good reminder of the work for human rights we still have to do. Transgender British Columbians need our support so they too can celebrate their full inclusion in our diverse province.”

Although protections for trans people have been “read into” the human rights code, New Democrats say that high rates of violence and discrimination, especially in employment and housing, suggest that protections for trans people need to be more clearly written out. This would be part of a larger effort to educate the public about trans people and their right to live a life of dignity and respect.

Marie Little, chair of the Trans Alliance Society, agrees.

"Protection, like justice itself, must be seen to be done to be effective. Landlords, employers, shopkeepers and restaurant owners - as well as ‘trans’ people themselves must be able to see that these protections exist,” said Little.

"Explicitly mentioning ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ in the code would go a long way in the direction of educating people about the issues facing the trans community."

Chandra Herbert introduced a private member’s bill which would have added explicit protections for trans people into the human rights code, but the Liberal government let it die on the order paper. Both the Manitoba and Ontario governments have recently introduced and passed legislation similar to what Chandra Herbert has proposed.

Adrian Dix and the New Democrats believe in taking action to protect all British Columbians from violence, harassment and discrimination.