International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia: Bill C-16 promises crucial protections for transgender rights in Canada

May 17, 2016

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network applauds the federal government’s introduction today of Bill C-16, which will update the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to recognize the rights of transgender people. As Canada’s leading organization working on human rights issues related to HIV, we have previously called for federal legislative measures to ensure full legal protection against discrimination and hate crimes based on gender identity or expression (and on intersex status). As we said to the new federal government in our series of recommendations released last December, on the occasion of World AIDS Day: “HIV does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It does, however, thrive in conditions of stigma and discrimination.” Today’s announcement goes a significant step towards eliminating some of those factors. We now call on Parliament — both the House of Commons and, in particular, the Senate of Canada, where previous such initiatives to protect human rights have been unconscionably blocked — to recognize the universality of human rights, including for transgender people in Canada, and to pass this bill without delay.