Pro-family groups step up the fight against transsexual ‘bathroom bill’

  • November 25, 2010
landolt hughsOTTAWA - Pro-family groups are raising alarms about a bill before Parliament that would give expanded rights to transgendered and transsexuals.

They argue it could expose businesses, schools and religious groups to a host of new human rights complaints that trample on their religious freedom and freedom of expression.

“Our government has come one step closer to passing the ultra-radical, private members’ Bill C-389,” warned Campaign Life Coalition Nov. 5 shortly after NDP MP Bill Siksay’s bill passed through the Justice Committee by a 9-2 vote. “If passed, it would add ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ as a protected class within the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.”

The bill comes up for a vote on Dec. 2, and socially conservative groups have asked members to contact their MPs to oppose it.

Creating these new rights “will result in male cross-dressers and drag queens having the legal right to use girls’ bathrooms,” Campaign Life warned, noting the bill would also protect transgendered persons who believe “one can be a man on the outside but a woman on the inside or vice versa.”

“It’s absolutely crazy,” said Campaign Life president Jim Hughes. “It’s an opening of a Pandora’s Box to every kind of misconceived perceived right.”

Siksay has argued that the bathroom fear is a “red herring” because use could be handled appropriately. He has argued in the House of Commons about the real discrimination and even violence transgendered and transsexual individuals face.

Hughes admitted he was shocked at how rapidly this bill has rocketed through the House.

“I thought this was a bit of a joke at first,” he said. “We’re going to be in a real mess in this country if we continue to allow this to happen.”

REAL Women of Canada national vice-president Gwen Landolt raised alarms over the bill when it passed second reading in June only weeks after it was introduced. She said people who think they are transgendered need counseling not surgery.

The Catholic Civil Rights League has also flagged this bill to its members.

“Of real concern is that many aspects of gender identity issues contain a strong element of self-definition,” said executive director Joanne McGarry in a Nov. 15 statement. She pointed out gender identity questions are listed as a psychological disorder. 

“To protect by law a quality that the law does not even define could have serious implications for employers in their hiring and assignment decisions,” McGarry said. “People who believe they have faced discrimination on ‘gender expression’ grounds could file human rights claims.

“This system is already misused by those who believe the issue was discrimination when it wasn’t; to complicate it by opening the process to more subjective grounds isn’t in anyone’s best interest,” she said.

Even without the bill, complainants are using present human rights legislation as if these grounds are already included. A man who had not undergone sex change surgery launched a complaint against the owner of an all-women’s gym when he refused the man membership. Two transgendered “women” sued a plastic surgeon for refusing to do cosmetic surgery on their reconstructed female parts. And a transgendered “woman” complained of discrimination against a rape crisis centre when “she” was refused a job as a counsellor.  

Hughes worries about the implications for education if gender identity and expression are added to the law and schools begin to teach children from a young age that it is normal to think you are trapped in the body of the opposite sex. He said some psychologists have said sometimes there is a transient sense of this in young people that goes away if the young person is properly guided.

Landolt has warned of the dangers both to religious freedom and freedom of expression should this bill become law and Catholic teaching on this issue becomes subject to hate complaints.

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