Legislation aimed at protecting transgender people from discrimination is on its way to the Canadian Senate.
Today (March 20), the House of Commons passed Bill C-279, which would add gender identity and gender expression to the prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca NDP MP Randall Garrison's private member's bill would also amend the Criminal Code to outlaw hate speech that advocates genocide against groups distinguished by gender, and to allow evidence that a crime was motivated by hate based on gender to be taken into account during sentencing.
Egale Canada called the vote a "significant step" for equality and urged the Senate to approve the legislation without delay.
“This is a huge step forward, and the onus now falls to the Senate to ensure that we as a country continue to move forward in our commitment to human rights," Helen Kennedy, executive director of the LGBT rights group, said in a news release. "The Senate must take all measures necessary to ensure swift passage of this vital piece of legislation.”
Kennedy also noted: “For too long, social and political invisibility have enabled discrimination, harassment and hate-motivated violence against the trans community to continue unnoticed and unchallenged.”
Politicians and LGBT advocates responded to the vote on Twitter:
Transgendered rights bill passes! 149-137. Thanks to brave CPC MPs. #cdnpoli— Elizabeth May MP (@ElizabethMay) March 20, 2013
House voting for bill 279 which recognizes full civil rights for transgender persons - an important moment.— Bob Rae (@bobraeMP) March 20, 2013