The Trans Lobby Group condemns the negative advertising by the Institute for Canadian Values recently published by the National Post and Toronto Sunday Sun. This advertising is a mean-spirited attack directed specifically at trans people. Trans people include, but is not limited to; transsexual, transgender, intersex, and two spirit persons. This negative message relies upon story-telling, myth-making, and fear-mongering to promote a hateful environment for trans people, a population already disadvantaged in achieving access to health care, employment, housing, and social services.
In 1999, the Ontario Human Rights Commission stated “There are, arguably, few groups in society today who are as disadvantaged and disenfranchised as the transgendered community. Transphobia combined with the hostility of society to the very existence of transgendered people are fundamental human rights issues” (Policy on Discrimination and Harassment because of Gender Identity, March 30, 2000. p. 2; Toward a Commission Policy on Gender Identity; Discussion Paper; October 1999. p. 42).
Transphobia is an irrational fear and hatred of trans people which can manifest itself as 'transbashing', much like gay bashing, and often involves physical violence. The Institute for Canadian Values negative advertising campaign directly targets trans people and promotes an environment of fear and hatred towards this vulnerable population resulting in transphobia. For example, subsequently some Ontario Progressive Conservative candidates have produced and distributed literature to residents with inaccurate stereotyping messages about trans people and our lives.
In May 2011 Egale Canada in Every Class in Every School: The first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools reported, “90% of trans youth hear transphobic comments daily or weekly from other students and almost a quarter (23%) of trans students reported hearing teachers use transphobic language daily or weekly. Almost three quarters (74%) of trans students reported being verbally harassed about their gender expression....One quarter of trans students reported having been physically harassed (25%) or having had property stolen or damaged (24%) because of being LGBTQ. Trans students were much more likely than sexual minority or non-LGBTQ students to have been physically harassed or assaulted because of their gender expression...”
Additionally, The Trans PULSE Project, a community based research project, in November 2010 reported, “Transphobic violence and suicide: Our estimates show that because they were trans, 20% of trans Ontarians have been the targets of physical or sexual assaults and another 34% have experienced verbal harassment or threats. Table 3 shows that those who have ever experienced physical or sexual assault due to being trans were almost twice as likely to have seriously considered suicide within the past year as those who have not experienced trans-related violence or verbal harassment, and over seven times as likely to have attempted it.” (http://transpulseproject.ca/public_downloads.html).
Trans Day of Remembrance, first organized in San Francisco on November 20, 1999, mourns trans people whom have been brutally murdered each year, and is now commemorated in events around the world, including several here in Ontario and across Canada. We fear that many more names will be added to the list of murdered trans people due to the Institute for Canadian Values negative advertising campaign, the cooperation of mainstream media like the National Post and Toronto Sun, and the tacit permission granted via political leadership which exploits the trans people for political advantage.
The Trans Lobby Group condemns these practices and calls upon Ontario voters to send a clear message on October 6 that negative advertising campaigns targeting trans people is unacceptable. We also call upon the new Provincial Government to act immediately in its new term to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to include 'gender identity and gender expression'.
In 1999 the Ontario Human Rights Commission announced, "By adding the ground ‘gender identity’ to the Code, there would be no doubt legally or politically that transgendered people have the same protections as everyone else." (Toward a Commission Policy on Gender Identity;Discussion Paper; Ontario Human Rights Commission; October 1999. p. 31). Yet 13 years later the government has not adopted this recommendation. It is Time to Deliver on Trans Human Rights!
We call upon trans people, our supporters and allies to join us in this struggle to achieve the same human rights protections that other disadvantaged groups already have achieved. Protecting vulnerable people are our values, they are our Canadian values. Let us publicly demonstrate that harassment and discrimination against trans people is wrong and must be stopped.
The Trans Lobby Group's mission is to educate the public, the media, and politicians on the health care and political needs of trans people. In Ontario, the Minister of Health and Long Term Care announced restoring of funding for Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) on May 14, 2008 following a lengthy campaign by the Trans Lobby Group to relist this medically necessary procedure. The Trans Lobby Group has also campaigned for explicit human rights protection in Ontario and in Federal Parliament, where C-389, an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act to include 'gender identity and expression' passed Third Reading February 10, 2011.The Trans Lobby Group was Pride Toronto's 2011 Honoured Dyke March Group.