November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance. This day provides an important moment for us to reflect on the past and present violence and discrimination faced by the trans members of our communities. It also serves as a reminder that our fight against transphobia must be ongoing, and that it must manifest in all the work we do: in our defense of academic freedom, in our promotion and practice of equity, and in negotiating rights and protections for trans academic staff.
We must also stand for trans rights in the political realm. In this spirit, CAUT – in partnership with Amnesty International, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Gender Mosaic, and many other organizations – has been working to lobby for the passage of Bill C-279, which would add protection for gender identity into the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. In addition to the social justice allies with whom we have collaborated, law enforcement officials have advocated for this bill, stating that it would give them greater power to protect trans people and to prosecute their aggressors.
Bill C-279 is currently in the Senate awaiting a final committee hearing and, subsequently, 3rd (and final) reading. In honour of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a call-in has been organized for November 20 in support of Bill C-279. We urge all CAUT member associations to participate, and to ensure that this message reaches your individual members.
To participate, please call one of the Senators on the Senate Committee reviewing the Bill, and say the following, or your version of the following:
My name is __________________ and I am calling from _____________________ to urge you to support the swift passage of Bill C-279 on Gender Identity as it is currently drafted.
Canada’s transgender communities have long suffered discrimination and violence and this legislation is part of the solution to protecting the human rights of transgender individuals.
I would like you to know that I am not afraid of sharing public spaces including bathrooms with transgender people.
But I am afraid that unless C-279 passes unamended, transgender people will continue to live in fear each and every time they enter a public space.
Delays in passing legislation cost lives. This bill is as perfect as it’s going to get. Please do the right thing and support Bill C-279 as drafted. Let this be your legacy for this Parliamentary session.
Thank you for your time.
You can find contact information for the Senate committee members, and additional information about the bill, on the PSAC website here:
Thank you for distributing this message, and thank you for recognizing with CAUT the contributions that our trans colleagues make to our universities and colleges, and the imperative we all share to ensure none of us is subject to transphobic violence and discrimination.
Executive Director / Directeur général
Canadian Association of University Teachers
Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université
2705 Queensview Drive
Ottawa, ON Canada
Tel/tél: 613.820.2270 x. 188