News, Politics

Canada Passes Bill C-16 To Give Transgender People Equal Rights

LGBT Canadian Flag. Image: Osado
LGBT Canadian Flag. Image: Osado

In Canada, it will soon be a law that transgender people cannot be treated differently than other people are treated.

What is transgender? It refers to a person who doesn’t feel like they are the gender (male and female are two genders, for instance) that they were assumed to be when they were born. For instance, a person who was originally thought to be male and who is known as male, but doesn’t feel like they are male. (And the same for female.)*

Last week, Bill C-16 was approved by the Canadian Senate. It says no one can discriminate against transgender people. (In this case, discriminate means treat them differently than they would be treated if they were not transgender.)

Jody Wilson-Raybould. Image: Erich Saide
Jody Wilson-Raybould. Image: Erich Saide

“In Canada we celebrate inclusion and diversity, and all Canadians should feel safe to be themselves,” Canada’s Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, said in a statement.

Bill C-16 has to receive “Royal Assent” and then it will become a law. “Royal Assent” is part of the process for creating laws in Canada. Last November, the bill was passed by the House of Commons last November. And last week, 67 — of 81 — Senators voted to approve it.

After Bill C-16 becomes law, the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” will be added to the Canadian Human Rights Act and Canada’s Criminal Code.

*This is a simplified definition of “gender identity.” 

Thank you to Robin Stevenson, author of “Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community,” for her assistance with this article. 

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Jody Wilson-Raybould said, “In Canada we celebrate inclusion and diversity…” Reflecting on your personal experiences, do you find this to be true? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Point of View
Many different perspectives and opinions were voiced before Bill C-16 was passed. Why is listening to many different points of view an important part of making a decision?

Identify the point of view presented in texts, ask questions to identify missing or possible alternative points of view, and suggest some possible alternative perspectives  (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them(OME, Reading: 1.6).

Language Feature: Parentheses (  )
Parentheses are used by authors to tell their readers many different things. In today’s article, author Joyce Grant, uses parentheses to explain “transgender identity.”

In the examples  below, supply your own parenthetical information to complete each sentence.

  1. NASA ( ____________________________________ ) launched a satellite.
  2. The runner barely finished the triathalon ( __________________________________ ).
  3. The grocery store specialized in “Organic” food ( ________________________________ ).