Parents urge Senate to support bill on gender identity, gender expression

Parents urge Senate to back gender bill

OTTAWA — Parents of Canadian transgender youth are pleading with senators to back the Liberal government’s legislation on gender identity and gender expression.

Some members of the Senate, including Conservative Sen. Don Plett, have expressed misgivings about the bill, including the notion that “gender expression” is not an identifiable group.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says the government is following discussions and debates in the Senate around the legislation, adding it is important to speak loudly about the purpose of the bill.

She says it will fill gaps that currently exist in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, and ensure individuals who express their identity can do without fear of discrimination.

Wilson-Raybould says human rights are not conditional and it is important to dispel myths and stereotypes that exist about transgender and gender-diverse people.

Melissa Schaettgen, the mother of a nine-year-old transgender girl from Carp, Ont., says parents advocating for the legislation are fighting for their children’s lives and futures.

The Canadian Press