Friday, April 06, 2012

Toby's Act Reintroduced For Fourth Time

I've been writing posts about NDP MPP Cheri Di Novo's attempts since 2007 to cover trans people's human rights in Ontario by adding gender identity and expression to the Ontario Human Rights Code via Toby's Act. 

It was named for Toby Dancer, a music producer and trans parishioner of DiNovo's who committed suicide a few years ago.  She has attempted three times to get this passed but it either has languished in the Ontario Legislature or has died due to the Legislature being dissolved for provincial elections..   

On February 21 DiNovo introduced Toby's Act at Queen's Park with members of the Trans Lobby Group in the house to observe what they and MPP DiNovo hope will be a successful effort to pass it this time.   It has support not only from the NDP, but Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi and Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott are also co-sponsors of Toby's Act.

"As a tri-party sponsored bill, it really has a good chance of success," DiNovo says in an Xtra interview.. "What I am hoping is it takes a much more direct method. The government can bring it in after first reading. Maybe they just need a nudge. So we are appealing to the premier and appealing to the cabinet to do the right thing and move on this."
Especially in light of the September 2011 case of blatant trans discrimination that blew up at the Trail's End Market in London, ON that garnered international attention and the recent Talackova case that highlights the need for Canadian trans citizens human rights to be protected..

If the federal government is going to be slow to act in terms of protecting the rights of Canadian trans citizens, then the provincial legislatures need to step up and act where the Conservative majority federal government won't.

Here's hoping that Toby's Act finally passes in Ontario and my trans cousins long wait for coverage under the Ontario Human Rights Code ends this year.

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