Toronto – November 20, 2018 – Since 1999, the Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed annually on November 20, following the murder of transgender woman Rita Hester in the United States. The day seeks to highlight the disproportionate loss of transgender lives due to violence and transphobia towards members of the trans community.
According to the Trans Murder Monitoring Project, a total of 226 lives were lost in Europe this year to violence against transgender individuals. The Human Rights Campaign, meanwhile, reported 29 trans-related murders in the U.S. last year. In Canada, the federal government recently passed Bill C-16, which adds gender identity and gender expression as protected human rights under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. However, despite this important step forward, trans people continue to experience discrimination and hate on a frequent basis.
When it comes to employment, many trans individuals face barriers at the time of hiring or at the point of transitioning, and are subject to the bias of colleagues who may not accept their gender identity. As a strong and longstanding supporter of trans rights, UFCW Canada believes that all forms of repression against the transgender community must be confronted and denounced, whether it be in the workplace or in our communities. However, equity cannot be achieved if trans individuals continue to face barriers in accessing employment and important public services like health care.
Accordingly, UFCW – in collaboration with the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health – is proud to release our third annual scan documenting the availability of publicly funded gender-affirming coverage throughout Canada. As the scan demonstrates, while there have been notable gains in health care coverage since our first cross-country scan, it is evident that disparities persist for trans persons living in communities such as Red Deer, Alberta. In addition, gender conversion therapy is still legally subsidized by all provincial health care systems in Canada, except in Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and the City of Vancouver, where intense advocacy has helped eliminate this practice.
As Canada’s leading and most progressive union, UFCW believes that every person deserves the right to dignity and equity at work, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. For this reason, we will continue to declare that Trans Lives Matter, that respect and dignity are necessary in creating workplace inclusion, and that these issues are non-negotiable. To learn more about UFCW Canada’s work on transgender advocacy and LGBTQI2S rights, visit our Union Pride page.
Paul R. Meinema