On Tuesday, February 21st, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo tabled for the fourth time Toby’s Act, a private members bill that seeks to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to include “gender identity” and “gender expression” as protected statuses. Co-sponsored by Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi and Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliot, Toby’s Act, if passed, would offer far greater protections for people in Ontario who are not cissexual, cisgendered, or normatively sexed or gendered.
We are calling on queer and trans communities across Ontario to support “Toby’s Act” and to let Premier McGuinty, Andrea Horwath (Leader, ONDP), Tim Hudak (Leader, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario) and their parties know that we support the inclusion of “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the Human Rights Code.
Given the undue amount of discrimination faced by Trans communities, the need for “gender identity” and “gender expression” to be explicitly outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code as protected statuses is all so important. According to an Ontario wide survey of Trans communities conducted by the Trans PULSE Project, over 50% of those surveyed experience both silent and verbal harassment with over 30% having been threatened with physical violence. As well, more than 40% of those surveyed had a post-secondary education yet over 50% live below the poverty line.
It’s time for the government to stop ignoring the voices of Trans communities and their allies and to take meaningful steps to enshrine greater protections for Trans communities into law.
I support the inclusion of “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the Ontario Human Rights Code and I strongly encourage you and your party to do the same.