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Government sanctioned discrimination, way to go Canada!

So, it appears Canada is again on the chopping block thanks to Harper.  Our flags once waved proud, but now are just as often full of disgrace.  This newest measure allows discrimination based on gender, going so far as to allow airport security the right to allow or deny access to individuals based on their gender.

Under section 5.2(1)(c) of the Aeronautics Act:

“An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if:  the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.”

Why is this an issue?  Because for many Trans individuals the sex on their passport may not coincide with their gender.  There are very strict rules in place for changing the sex on your international identification that only a very small segment of the populace qualifies for.  These rules make it impossible for non-operative Trans people to have the M or F on their documents changed to reflect their actual gender.  A better solution, if this wording is to remain in place would be to allow for an “Other” designation.  Gender is, after all, a social construct that has nothing to do with an individuals sex (which, lets be honest, also has more than two possibilities).  Alas, we are stuck in a society that appears to enjoy this incorrect, yet entrenched, gender binary.

This goes even farther though.  The instant we allow those with limited power the ability to select who qualifies as female and who as male – based on how they present, we are opening ourselves up for all sorts of abuses.  Gender is a social construct that changes with time.  It used to be that we dressed our long haired little boys in pink dresses, while the girls wore blue.

What happens when the thirteen year old girl, with short cropped hair, wearing low rise baggy pants and a jersey is denied access to a plane to fly home to her parents after spending part of the Summer with her grandparents?  This policy gives airports the right to determine who is female enough, or male enough to board their planes.  The potential abuses this brings forward are downright scary.  Don’t think for a second that because you are not a genderqueer, or trans individual, or because you don’t have a gender creative child that it won’t affect you.  This is something that has the potential to harm us all.  Will we all have to don a dress and kerchief in order to be female enough to avoid speculation?  It’s a scary idea.  Men, don’t even think about wearing that salmon coloured shirt, you too may be pulled for questioning regarding your gender presentation.  Is this really a slope we even want to start on?

There is a petition here:  http://www.petitiononlinecanada.com/petition/tell-harper-to-allow-trans-people-to-fly-on-airplanes/758  Add your name, and let Harper and his yes men know that you are saying NO to this government sanctioned discrimination.  And for more information and ideas on what you can do to combat this, check out what Chris Milloy has to say here:  http://chrismilloy.ca/2012/01/transgender-people-are-completely-banned-from-boarding-airplanes-in-canada/

female enough to fly?In 1930 Amy Johnson finished a record-winning solo flight from England to Australia.  Would she be “female enough” to be allowed on a plane in Canada in 2012?  I wonder.

It’s not the plague! (chicken pox and electoral reform)

Okay…  so the girlie is almost over the chicken pox.  She still has spots, but they are healing.  She doesn’t have the virus any longer.  She’s not sick.  She just has some spots that still need to heal.  I’m still keeping her home from pre-k, there’s only one day left until Easter break anyway.  BUT she’s got some serious cabin fever, and so do I.  So we went out.  Not far, and not really in public anywhere.

We went to see my Mom.  She’s heading out of town tomorrow, and will be gone all weekend.  She and Lily-Ann are really close, and they haven’t seen one another since Saturday.  Figured we better head over for a visit before she leaves town.  🙂  Because if we didn’t, that would just be too long to keep them apart.

Afterwards we were outside at our place.  The girlie was still needing to blow off a little steam, so was running up and down the sidewalk.  One of the moms who was also outside looked at her like Lily had the plague.  I mentioned, casually, that she doesn’t have the virus any more… just has spots left that still need to clear up.  Just the same, she looked awfully relieved when we were a few houses away.  LOL  Oh well.

I also had a nice chance to chat with Mark (or Marc, not sure on the spelling) our neighbour.  With me being on lock down with the girl I haven’t seen him in a little while.  The two of us usually have great conversations.  Him having been formerly involved in a life political, and me being involved in the same.  We both agreed that the current national election has us shaking our heads.  While we may pull for different teams, he and I generally see eye to eye on the giant deficits our country and province face in terms of the broken electoral system.  Without reform there’s really not much point.  But we’ll both continue encouraging people to get out and vote.  Because if we don’t participate, what is already broken becomes devastatingly so.

Bill C-389… the “bathroom bill”?

Today has been super busy.  Spent the morning with my wee girlie.  The early afternoon answering emails and phone calls.  A photo shoot in the late afternoon.  Supper with my husband and girlie, followed by another shoot.  Read a few chapters to the girl, put her to bed… and am now here – with you.  Because today was so busy, there are lots of things I could blog about…  but more important than anything I did, is something YOU can do.

With the looming general election, there’s a chance that Bill C-389 may end up being scrapped.  If it’s not passed soon, it’s done…  and all the work that has been done already will be for nothing.  Everything will have to start from scratch.

To it’s discredit, Bill C-389 has become known as the “bathroom bill”.  But it really has very little to do with public washroom facilities (gendered washrooms vs ungendered ones) and everything to do with human rights.  Some folks, particularly the “Christian Right” have been using fear-mongering tactics… claiming it would mean the end of “family values”.  And honestly?  What a load of bunk.

This bill is about human rights on a VERY basic level.  Equality for all people.  It simply asks for the words “gender identity, gender expression” to be added to both the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.  This would give protection to transgendered people, who currently face an appalling  amount of discrimination, recrimination, and fear every day…  for nothing more than BEING.

You can read the text of the bill itself at:  http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Parl=40&Ses=3&Mode=1&Pub=Bill&Doc=C-389_1&File=27#1

In an effort to promote fear, prejudice, and incite hatred some are attempting to thwart this bill saying that it would mean that we would need to start teaching trans 101 in pre-school.  Quite honestly, these folks are completely out of touch with reality…  but, seriously, this is the “worst case scenario” they came up with.  The worst possible thing to come out of this legislation would be to teach equality to children?  Wow.  How is it we haven’t passed this bill already???

We teach equality regardless of sex, equality regardless of race, equality regardless of religion, equality regardless of wealth, equality regardless of creed…  why are we not teaching our young children equality regardless of gender?

Bill C-389 is about safety, security, and the right to personhood.  Transgendered individuals deserve the same protection under the law that every other person is already guaranteed.  It is disgusting that we haven’t already ensured legislation like this is in place.

So, what can you do?

Write Letters!

There is a draft letter available at:  http://egale.ca/index.asp?lang=&menu=1&item=1451 So if you aren’t confident drafting your own, please feel free to copy and paste the one available there.  That is, after all, the whole reason it is there.

If you are in Saskatchewan here are the email addresses for your Senators:

andrer@sen.parl.gc.ca

dyckli@sen.parl.gc.ca

merchp@sen.parl.gc.ca

russem@sen.parl.gc.ca

tkachd@sen.parl.gc.ca

wallin@sen.parl.gc.ca

Share this Blog Post!

Share this link on facebook, twitter, or any of the dozens of social networking sites out there.  Make people aware of this important bill.  Do NOT let it die.

Talk to the Local Media!

Got a favourite news team or news show?  Find their website.  Chances are they will have contact information listed.  Email them, phone them!  Make them aware of what is going on.  Get them talking!

Tell Your Friends!

Seriously, talk to your friends and family.  I bet most of the people you know don’t even know about this bill.  Did you?

It is an atrocity that in this day and age there are still people in Canada without basic human rights.  Without the right to be free from discrimination, without the right to be free from fear.  Bathroom legislation?  What a slap in the face.  This isn’t about public washrooms.  This is about being HUMAN.

Speak up!  Get heard!  Make change!

 

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