VICTORIA— The B.C. Liberal government has the opportunity support legislation that would make British Columbia a more welcoming place for transgender people by adding gender identity and expression to the B.C. Human Rights Code, says New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert.
Chandra Herbert introduced legislation that would add these clear protections for transgender people to the human rights code today. This is the fourth time since 2011 that he has introduced this legislation and that the government has refused to pass it or even call the bill for debate.
“The day this legislation passes will be a bright day for trans equality and human rights in our province,” said Chandra Herbert. “Once the B.C. Human Rights Code includes clear protections for transgender people it will better reflect the values of inclusivity, diversity and respect for all people that are part of what it means to be British Columbian.”
Chandra Herbert noted that seven provincial governments and one territorial government have already acted to change their human rights codes to more clearly protect transgender and gender variant people.
“Manitoba under the NDP, Ontario under the Liberals and Saskatchewan under a conservative party all agreed that it was important to ensure their human rights codes reflected the true diversity of their provinces,” said Chandra Herbert. “The vast majority of Canadian governments have acted to support trans equality and human rights. It’s time for Premier Christy Clark to stop saying no, and start saying yes to human rights protection for all.”
Chandra Herbert noted that the B.C. Liberals’ failure to specifically add gender identity and expression to the B.C. Human Rights Code leaves transgender people at greater risk of discrimination.
“The government says these rights are redundant. They aren’t. This isn’t about whether a lawyer or a judge knows that transgender people have the right to live free from discrimination – this is about real people facing discrimination now, who don’t know their rights, and whose employers, landlords, and communities don’t either. It’s time to see these clear protections laid out in the B.C. Human Rights Code, if we ever want to end the violence, and harm” said Chandra Herbert.
Here is a link to the Gender Identity and Expression Human Rights Recognition Act – 2016