Yesterday I posted about a group of Canadian mothers of transgender kids who were starting a "bathroom movement" in order to advocate on behalf of their children. In that diary, we met Anne Lowthian and her child, Charlie.
In Saskatoon Megan Cheesbrough and Fran Forsberg commandeered a men's restroom to drive home the point.
As of early March, Bill C-279 is awaiting the outcome of a Senate committee report consideration.
This private member's bill is seeking to change current federal laws in order to introduce gender identity to the Human Rights Code of Canada. The bill passed its first two readings and went to committee, at which point Senator Donald Plett introduced amendments.
[The amendments] exempt federal spaces from being bound by legislation. His rationale was that he wanted women's shelters or women's bathrooms and change rooms to be able to exclude trans women where they feel it is an issue of safety.
[That] is ridiculous because you can't exclude an entire group of people for safety, that's what bigotry looks like. So, in order to stand up for our trans children, we are here to pee in the opposite gender's bathroom and make that statement that if our children are going to be forced into the wrong bathroom, then we're going in there to make it a safer space for them.
Sponsor of C-279 Senator Grant Mitchell says that the bill is now at "report stage" in the Senate, so is undergoing debate. Mitchell says he had introduced an amendment to rmov the "bathroom amendment" introduced by Plett in the "committee stage."
I believe that this amendment is inherently discriminatory and have urged my colleagues to vote in favour of passing Bill C-279 without this 'bathroom amendment"
There's nothing that's wrong with my daughter. Senator Plett needs to educate himself about transgender people, altogether, because he obviously is not educated in that area and to me, in this day and age, there is no excuse for that kind of ignorance.
Forsberg compares the legislation prohibiting a transgender person from using a washroom or a shelter to keeping a person out of a washroom because of their race.
People confuse gender with somebody's sexuality. And gender is how you present to society. Senator Plett doesn't understand this.
More about Forsberg and her transgender child is available here.
For his part Plett says he is entirely misunderstood and is being castigated totally unfairly.
He said he does not think he is being treated fairly in the debate and views himself as a champion of transgender rights.
I really want to emphasize that I believe we need to represent all members of society, including the transgender community.
The fact of the matter is I have been entirely supportive of their argument when it comes to employment and when it comes to housing, which they told me was their biggest concern. The transgender community has come miles from where they were and largely because of my work on this particular bill.
But someone has to stick up to protect the rights of women, and that, says Plett, is where he is at. Which I can only interpret to mean, that he doesn't believe that transgender women are women.
Still killing ourselves laughing over here at Plett's quote about how the trans community has come so far *largely* because of his work.
I find it quite difficult when they call me 'transphobic,' when I, in fact, have worked diligently on bringing this bill to a vote, which has now been stalled by a Liberal senator by bringing for an amendment in the Senate chamber.
As Bill C-279 awaits a report from the senate committee, activists continue to take selfies in the opposite sex's washroom as a form of protest.
Jillian Page has an analysis of where C-279 actually stands.
With or without the controversial “bathroom amendment,” the bill will have to return to the House of Commons “where the (three or two) Senate amendments will be accepted or rejected,” Senator Mitchell says in a Liberal Senate Forum report.
The House of Commons is unlikely to debate the bill’s amendments — once it finally gets back there — before its summer break. Then, Parliament will be dissolved in the fall, an election will be called, and Bill C-279 will die and have to be re-introduced as a new bill.
And round and round we go. The new bill will be the third attempt, and even when it passes through the House of Commons again, it will still face a Conservative-dominated Senate.
Senator Plett also assured Canadian transgender people that “The bathroom that Trans people feel comfortable using now will be the same bathroom they will use after this law (amended) passes.”
In other words, when the dust settles from all of this during the summer, it will be bathroom business as usual for transgender people — regardless of whether a miracle happens and the House of Commons and the Senate team up for a successful Hail Mary play soon to get Bill C-279 passed.