Ontario this week passed a law to protect citizens against gender identity and gender expression discrimination.
The bill was passed unanimously by all three parties in the legislature.
Ontario’s Human Rights Code was updated Wednesday for the first time since the 1980s to extend protections to transgender people, something Manitoba was expected to do Thursday.
Members of all three parties in Ontario’s legislature voted to amend the code to add the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” to prevent discrimination against transgender people.
It was the first change to the code since it was amended to add the words “sexual orientation” to protect gays and lesbians.
The Ontario legislation was called Toby’s Act, in honour of the late musician Toby Dancer, who led the choir at the Toronto United Church where [lead sponsor] DiNovo was a minister before she became a member of provincial parliament.
This trans-friendly amendment to the Ontario Human Rights Code marks Ontaria as the first major jurisdiction in North America to expressly protect its trans citizens.
Lead sponsor Cheri DoNovo, who has worked for the past fix years to pass this amendment, told CBC News:
“To me it’s homage to a dear, dear friend who was lost — as many transgendered folk are lost — to suicide,” she said.
DiNovo said the amendment will do more than just help transgender people be accepted.
“It will change a great inequity that has been in place forever,” she said.
A similar amendment that would modify Manitoba’s Human Rights Code to make it trans-inclusive is expected to pass on Thursday.
It is hoped that this change may even spur US states such as New York to enact trans rights bills that have so far failed to gain traction despite broad public support.
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