Invoke Societal Change First; then Pass Laws to Protect

Today, the OntariSeleenaK_8861so Human Rights Commission launched a new policy to protect the rights of transgender individuals.  Does Ontario need this?  Well, yes .. and no.  Let me explain my feelings.

From this girl’s experience, and from the experiences of many of my friends across the country,  Canada has been a relatively friendly place for trans people for many years.  It’s now in our culture to be accepting. Yes, marriages do end, families become estranged, friendships dissolve sometimes but jobs are usually kept and violence, both emotional and physical, is negligible.

And yes, there are individuals and pockets of individuals who don’t share a philosophy of tolerance but they’re relatively rare.  But since no one has pushed or angered them, their behavior usually falls into the “indifferent” category.

Since I spend lots of time in the US, I wish they could understand this concept .. what I like to call the “Canadian model”.  You see, first we change public feelings .. then we add laws and policies to take an official stand on that societal change.

We did this with same-sex marriage a decade ago and are doing it now with trans rights.

Every November, we observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance and we remember those who have lost their lives for simply being themselves.  Brazil, Mexico and the US are usually the top three countries where these tragedies occur.  Canada doesn’t even make the list. ~ Seleena Kay, preaching from her “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” pulpit

The US, in my opinion, is doing it entirely backwards.  There has been less of a cultural change promoting acceptance of same-sex marriage or trans rights.  But the laws are appearing regardless and the activists are claiming victory.  This does nothing except  make law-abiding people, though judgmental via their upbringing or religious beliefs,  feel like criminals.  And in those feelings bitterness thrives.

Are these extreme right wing “moral” people wrong?  Absolutely they are!  But can they change?  I believe they can be defused at the very least.

It’s that bitterness that could get someone like me seriously hurt.  And the law means nothing to either the perpetrator or the victim while an act of violence is being committed.  And this scares me.  Even the police scare me there.

So bravo to Ontario.  Bravo to the OHRC for the new policy.  And bravo to Canada for putting the horse before the cart!

You can read more about the policy here.

6 thoughts on “Invoke Societal Change First; then Pass Laws to Protect”

  1. Hi Seleena,
    I think you expressed this situation very well. There is no doubt that the US has a long way to go with respect to their attitudes to marginalised individuals and to their criminal justice systme as a whole. As far as Canada is concerned you may recall the passing of Bill 233 the ‘anti-bullying’ legistation. Certain religious individuals named it the ‘bathroom bill’. They were frightened of TGs using the Women’s bathrooms in malls etc and raping their daughters. Really!!. the next one will be the first.
    If you are active in the promotion of TG rights, Xpressions has a group which looke after this. Pride etc

    1. Hi Pauline,
      Thank you so much for your comment.
      Noooo .. I’m not at all interested in promoting TG rights. I’m actually more interested in campaigning against liberalism run amok, as I believe it has in the US and the UK. But to do that, I’d be considered a “hater” within the TG community so I think it’s best I just continue venting in my own little piece of cyberspace.
      I don’t remember Bill 233, but I do remember Bill 279 (unless I have my numbers confused, it was the transgender anti-discrimination bill) that narrowly passed about a year ago. I think this makes my point to some degree. In my opinion, most Canadians haven’t had an issue with bathroom use by TG’s for a long time. So then, and only then, it was time for the government to make it official.

  2. In my opinion the main issue is not the laws or how the law is applied but education. In a country like the USA and many others education is religion based with the so called “morales” that it does imply.

    As long as education is religion based the respect of people and their differences in their behaviours socially and sexually will remain an issue that will evolve very slowly.

    Here in Canada our education is based on societal morales and the respect of others, there are few religion based education systems but most of them also teach morales and respect of others. That is the main difference that explains the disparity of acceptance with our neighbour.

    There is nothing wrong with religions or the concept of God, but promoting and educating the masses to be hateful towards a so called sinner is the main issue. If a God is a God of love and forgiveness, one should not have to feel obliged to judge others for their action but allow the sinner that is SO OFFENSIVE live their life and see what happen on judgment day.

    Me, personally I am an an atheist and a TG and if I happen to be wrong and God exist I can not wait to go shopping for gaffes, stockings, panties, bras and pretty dresses with the God most claim to be loving and understanding.

    So please, remember that one should only judge themselves and at least try to understand others.

    Love to all from Liz.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Liz. I totally agree.

      For the reasons you’ve mentioned, there has never been a time when the differences between the Canadian and American cultures have been so obvious.

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