Premier Christy Clark joins Justice Minister Suzanne Anton

Transgender rights ‘must be seen’

B.C. Liberals Laurie Throness and Marvin Hunt disagree as Premier Christy Clark reverses position on Human Rights Code

The B.C. government has passed amendments to its Human Rights Code to specify protection for “gender identity and expression,” a reversal by the B.C. Liberals after years of saying transgendered people are already protected against discrimination.

Premier Christy Clark and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton staged a group photo with MLAs and transgender advocates before the legislation was introduced Monday. Vancouver-West End NDP MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert, who has advocated the change for the past five years, said the government has finally relented.

“The minister has to admit that what we were saying all along was correct, that in order to have your rights protected, you need to know you have rights,” Chandra-Herbert said. “You need to see your rights in the Human Rights Code.”

Anton said the changes don’t provide additional protection against unfair treatment when seeking a job or an apartment, but meetings with transgendered people convinced her to add gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination.

“They have been legally protected, but they have not felt protected,” Anton said. “So it’s extremely important for a community that is vulnerable that they know they’re protected, that they know government is behind them.”

Two Liberal MLAs criticized the change, but did not vote against it. Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness said “gender identity and expression” has been legally recognized as part of “sexual orientation” in the code, along with race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital or family status, sex, age and criminal conviction unrelated to employment.

“I would point out that this has not been done for any other group,” Throness said. “One might specify certain races or religions or ethnicities. I can think of many disabilities, say of developmental delay, or perhaps impairment of sight or hearing or some other impairment, who must experience discrimination as well.”

Throness said he does not accept that “gender is fluid,” but rather is “fixed” and a product of biology. He added that the change is “not about protection as much as it is about the programs that will flow from this special recognition.”

Surrey-Panorama MLA Marvin Hunt cited rulings that found transgendered people are protected against sex discrimination.

“Transgender people are clearly included in the B.C. Human Rights Code,” Hunt said. “Now, the Jews aren’t mentioned in the code, but they are also covered.”

NDP MLA Selina Robinson said Throness’ comments “sounded like he felt the government got bullied by the LGBTQ community.” The Vancouver Pride Society refused to allow Premier Christy Clark to walk in their parade last year unless she supported Chandra-Herbert’s amendment.

 

Just Posted

Environment, finance top of mind for new Surrey Councillor Steven Pettigrew

Unexpected advocacy led to political mentorship, says first-term councillor

Noted fiddlers bring kids to Surrey stage for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’ concert

Bell theatre date for Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy as they reunite for 23-city tour of Canada

South Surrey native wins ‘Oscars of hairdressing’ award

Simon James named Contessa 2019 Texture Hairstylist of the Year

Surrey-based business donates $1M to hospital’s children centre improvements

Surrey Hospital Foundation kicks off campaign for ‘transformation’ of children’s centre

OUR VIEW: Surrey’s unsung heroes inspire

The Now-Leader was proud to celebrate some deserving unsung heroes in this city on Wednesday night

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

5 to start your day

BC Hydro says outages have tripled in the last five years, two men charged after alleged butter thefts and more

California wildfire death toll hits 63

Sheriff says hundreds still missing in nation’s deadliest wildfire

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Trudeau to meet key Pacific trade partners at APEC leaders’ summit

Canada became one of the first six countries to ratify the CPTPP

Judge orders White House to return press pass to CNN’s Acosta

U.S. District Court Judge will decide on White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta

WikiLeaks chief could see charges, US court filing suggests

Charges against Julian Assange could help illuminate the question of whether Russia co-ordinated with the Trump campaign

Federal MPs denounce controversial Facebook post targeting Sajjan

Okanagan Conservatives apologize for controversial Facebook post

Canada has enough pipelines to get the moon

Pipelines totalling 840,000 kilometres run across Canada

Most Read