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Sunday 09 April 2017

Anti-Transgender Activism in Canada

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 7th December 2016

As the Canadian transgender community nears the end of its decade long campaign for inclusion within national antidiscrimination laws, the Canadian Christian Right is mounting one last unpleasant, spiteful rearguard action that targets the Canadian Senate.

Writing on the far right Canadian anti-LGBT, anti-abortion, anti-feminist and anti-leftist website Lifesite, Lianne Lawrence (24.11.2016) reported on the current hateful rhetoric of Canadian transphobes. As can be predicted, much of it is tiresome regurgitation from the US Christian Right to its immediate south and copies its propaganda, tactics and strategy almost verbatim.

Indeed, the title of Lawrence's own article should pose a warning about its subsequent content and what sort of organisations are involved in these hatemongering scare tactics. Given that prior versions of Bill C-16 have had public hearings, the Trudeau administration felt it was wise to save public time and money by side-stepping the select committee stage, so the lower House of Commons enabled it to progress to its third reading and then sent it to the Canadian Senate.

As noted in previous P&R columns, Bill C-16 is about the addition of gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds for discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Parroting US anti-transgender groups such as the Family Research Council, Pacific Justice Institute and Traditional Values Coalition, the Canadian Christian Right has once again began scaremongering about imaginary 'tranvestite sexual predators' lurking in women and girls' changing rooms and public toilets should transwomen be granted ablutionary use equality, despite the fact that previous Canadian Senate investigation of jurisdictions with existing trans-inclusive antidiscrimination laws found no evidence from criminal justice or law enforcement statistics to verify this nonsensical claim.

Surely the anti-abortion "Campaign Life Canada" pressure group should have been lobbying against the recent introduction of euthanasia within Canada, but no, apparently the persecution and harrassment of transwomen and transgender children is 'more important' to them. It has been mouthing alarmist claims about "religious persecution" and punishment of anti-transgender bigots if this legislation should pass.

One Conservative Party leadership candidate, Brad Trost, echoed similar claims about imaginary 'transvestite sexual predators' despite the aforementioned rejection of those claims within criminal justice statistics from juridisctions where transgender legal equality already exists. Liberal Senator Jane Cordy said so back in 2013:

"In none of these jurisdictions has there been an increase in unlawful or inappropriate activity since this bill was passed. The perception is that there's a line up of people, transgender people, waiting until this legislation is passed and then suddenly, they're going to be breaking the law. I think it's unrealistic to have that expectation. There are no more criminally minded people within that community than any other community, is that correct?"

The antifeminist Canadian Christian Right women's (?) group "REAL Women of Canada" has also attacked Bill C-16, as it had also done in the context of its predecessors. Bizarrely, its leader, conservative Catholic lawyer Gwen Landolt, claimed that the legislation was an 'embarassment to Canada' and was based on 'politically correct ideology, without facts or evidence.'

This is a ridiculous claim to make. Most of Canada's provinces now include transgender status directly within their provincial antidiscrimination legislation, so in effect, Landolt is saying that British Columbia, Alberta, Sasketchewan, Manitoba, the Northwestern Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Labrador and Quebec all have it 'wrong'! Furthermore, Landolt is a lawyer and has no medical qualifications, so what entitles her to mouth this nonsense?

Remember, when it came to Bill C-269 during the Harper administration, a wide range of Canadian civil society organisations backed it- the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Bar Association, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, University of British Columbia, Canadian Action for Population and Development, Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union, Canadian Association of Social Workers, Canadian Association of University Teachers, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Womens Association, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Communities Addressing Suicide Together, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, Greenpeace Canada, Independent Jewish Voices Ontario, Kids Help Phone, the National Union of General and Public Employees, the Northern Territories Federation of Labor, Ontario Secondary School Teachers Association, Canadian Humanist Society, Oxfam Canada, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Sasketchewan Public Health Association, United Church of Canada, the University of Guelph and YMCA Canada are all listed as supporters of trans-inclusive antidiscrimination law.

Clearly, this mainstream professional wide-ranging support outpaces the pitiful collection of cherry-picked and misquoted anti-transgender research cited in anti-transgender US conservative Catholic activist Dr Paul McHugh's New Atlantis diatribe against transgender rights.

It should be remembered that despite that highly biased source, his own John Hopkins University has resumed transgender reassignment surgery and that Medicaid no longer obstructs public health insurance funding to reassignment surgery due to McHugh's obstructionist selectively cited and miscited 'research' sources. Exactly why should mainstream Canadian (or New Zealand) civil society, human rights, civil liberties and professional associations heed the work of someone who was directly responsible for the very recent anti-transgender dogma of the Catholic Church, adopted only twelve years ago? Furthermore, if one is going to cite US sources in this context, then what about the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Public Health Association, all of whom support the right to reassignment surgery, hormone treatment and trans-inclusive antidiscrimination laws? It is the work of a sheer scientific illiterate to claim that prescientific, premodern conservative Catholic "natural law' dogma somehow 'trumps' this cumulative medical and scientific evidence. It clearly does not.

Even the Canadian Conservative Party is trying to distance itself from the ridiculous antics and accusations of the anti-transgender activists in their country. Lawrence's Lifesite article reported that all but two candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Opposition voted for Bill C-16.

The Canadian Christian Right is trying to rope in ex-transsexual (?) Walt Heyer, and REAL Women is going to regurgitate its earlier repetition of US Christian Right anti-transgender propaganda in any Senate submission that it gets the opportunity to deliver. Campaign Life Canada is calling on the Conference of Canadian Bishops to pontificate against C-16.

All of the above is also attributed to a peculiar conspiracy theory called "cultural marxism." Devised by US conservative activist Paul Weyrich, "cultural marxism" refers to the quaint belief that the mere presence of affirmative gay images and characters on network television is 'evidence' of a 'cultural revolution' masterminded by members of the Frankfurt School, a defunct group of conservative marxists who ironically prefered higher prestige elite culture compared to 'corporate capitalism' popular culture.

Starting with Weyrich's "Free Congress Movement," it wended its way through other fringe right-wing US groups such as the "alt right", Tea Party movement and World Net Daily,and was one of the chief influences behind Anders Breivik, the Norwegian neofascist terrorist and mass murderer who killed scores of Young Social Democrats when he went on a shooting spree. Some advocates of the 'cultural marxist' worldview see nothing wrong with associating with open neofascists.

All of this looks like desperate rearguard action. One hopes that this time, it will fail. And it looks as if that may well be the case, according to Dylan Robertson (28.11.2016), who described the ongoing progress of C-16 within Canada's LGBT newspaper, Daily Xtra. C-16 will receive its second Senate reading on Wednesday 29 November. It is anticipated to receive a smooth transit through the upper Canadian parliamentary house, with only one Canadian Senator Robertson contacted stating that they would vote against it.

The Canadian Senate usually does not vote against or obstruct government bills, and Liberals and independents now outnumber anti-transgender Conservatives in this parliamentary session. Indeed, one Conservative Senator, Michelle Rempel, stated that she had changed her mind and would now vote for C-26. It looks as if the 'hotline' from the Canadian Christian Right that existed under Stephen Harper has been permanently disconnected.


Egale Canada: Equal Rights for All: Civil Society Statement in Support of Bill C-279: rights-for-all-civil-society- statement-in-support-of-bill- c-279-the-gender-identity-bill

Rachel Browne: "How discrimination got in the way of the federal transgender rights bill" Macleans: 15.02.2015: canada/transgender-bill
[Bill C-279]

Lambda Legal: "Professional Organisations Supporting Transgender People in Healthcare" publications/fs_professional- organisations-supporting- trans-health

Paul McHugh's role in determining conservative Catholic anti-transgender bias: http://www.religioustolerance. org/transsexu15.htm http://www.religioustolerance. org/catholic-views-on- transgender-htm

"Ally of Christian Right Paul Weyrich addresses Holocaust denial conference" Southern Poverty Law Centre Intelligence Report: 20.09.2002:https://www. intelligence-report/2002/ally- christian-right-heavyweight- paul-weyrich-addresses- holocaust-denial-conference

Dylan Robertson: "Trans bill likely to pass Senate" Daily Xtra: 28.11.2016:http://www. ideas/news/trans-bill-likely- pass-senate-211192

Not Recommended:

Lianne Lawrence: "Trudeau opening doors to outright persecution as he fast tracks trans rights 'bathroom bill': Critic" Lifesite News: 24.11.2016:https://www. liberals-trans-rights-bill- appears-to-be-on-fast-track- to-becoming-law

Craig Young - 7th December 2016

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