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When Bill C16 passed in 2017, many women rang the alarm against legislation that would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include protection against hate speech with regard to gender identity or expression. Concerns about the Bill were that gender identity protections would supercede protections for women. While there was a promise that a gender-based analysis (GBA) report would be forthcoming, it has not been released. That’s not good enough for Jennifer Joseph, who has launched a petition for the release of this information.
“We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada,” resolves the petition, “call upon Candice Bergen to ask for the Gender-Based Analysis report be made public, and for Statistics Canada to explain their analysis or publish the results.”
Women who voiced concerns back in 2017 were not listened to and were accused of transphobic hate speech for broaching concerns about Bill C16. Yet much of what they predicted has come to pass. Women who speak out against having male-bodied persons in women’s spaces are called names, ostracized, and shut out of those places themselves.
In 2018, Kristi Hanna left a Toronto shelter for abused women rather than share a room with a male-bodied trans person. Her complaints were unheeded by staff. Vancouver Rape Relief, Canada’s oldest rape crisis centre, was denied funding by the City for not being inclusive enough to male-bodied trans persons. A human rights complaint was filed by Kimberly Nixon in 1995 against the center for the refusal to train Nixon, born male, to become a peer counsellor. Vancouver Rape Relief did not believe that Nixon could be a peer counsellor to other women, because Nixon was not born female. A rape relief center did not want women who had been raped to have to be counselled by a male person, so they lost their funding entirely.
The case of Jessica Yaniv, who has brought multiple complaints before the Human Rights Tribunal, accusing women of being hateful for not wanting to wax her male genitalia, shows how absurd this entire thing has become. Women’s rights to determine the work they would do in their private homes were questioned under Bill C16.
The petition states that police departments across Canada are no longer recording the sex of alleged offenders, “but instead the gender by which they identify.” The reasoning is that a person’s sex is too personal, and irrelevant to the charge of a crime committed. It is reasonable to consider that this change is to avoid running afoul of Human Rights legislation. Problems with this new practice include the confusion of crime stats, which then record crimes committed by male-bodied female-identifying persons as women’s crimes.
The Bill also interferes with parental rights, forcing parents to go along with their minor children’s ideas about medical alterations to their healthy bodies.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Bill C16 is the one that is most readily dismissed by trans activists. Bill C16 seeks to rewrite protections for women by removing the definition of the word. This denial of a biological definition of the word woman is what has allowed women to be brought up on charges of human rights abuses when they define the word to exclude persons who are born male.
Bill C16 offers protected classes for “gender identity” and “gender expression,” which terms are not legally defined. This defacto changes the meaning of the word woman to “whatever if feels like” to any given individual. In essence, this has meant that a person who dresses up as stereotypically feminine can say they are a woman, and gain access to those protections, such as abused women’s refuges, rape crisis centres, women’s prisons, and women’s hospital wards, that have previously been designated for the care of women.
This is done out of compassion for the individual who identifies more with those stereotypes that are associated with the opposite sex than with their own, but in doing so, it offers no consideration for women who need spaces and protections that male-bodied persons, no matter their fashion choices, do not. This petition seeks redress of these grievances by obtaining information on the effects of the law and is open for signatures until April.