Today, the Ontario 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.