How are laws written in Canada

Gender Debate - In Canada it is illegal to discriminate against transgender people - not everyone likes that

In Canada, it is illegal to discriminate against transgender people - not everyone likes it

Even as a child, Marni Panas knew that she was somehow different. "I've never felt like a boy, didn't fit in anywhere, and I hid the real me for a long time." At that time Panas still had the first name Marcel and lived in a small village on the vast plains of Canada.

Today Panas is a slim woman in her forties and lives in the big city of Edmonton. She gave up her male maiden name three years ago and since then has officially been living as a woman, that is, the gender with which she identifies. A few weeks ago she also surgically reconstructed it. Coming out as a transgender was a rocky road for Panas. "I had to rearrange my life and risked a lot in the process: my family, my job, my friends." Today Panas is at peace with herself and leads a self-determined life. The liberal attitude of many Canadians helped her, because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's country is one of the pioneers worldwide in the protection of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, intersex people and people who do not want to commit to any gender.

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Trudeau stands for a comprehensive understanding of gender roles: Half of his cabinet is made up of women, and the text of the Canadian national anthem has been changed under him to be gender-neutral. A year ago, a law on the protection and equal rights of transgender people was passed on his initiative. Since then, no one has been allowed to be discriminated against by the government because of their gender identity or gender expression. Hatred of transgender people is illegal. Crimes based on hatred are severely punished.

The law applies to all federal authorities and to companies that are regulated by the federal government, such as banks. In concrete terms, it means that more and more institutions are introducing gender-neutral toilets. Transgender officials have an actionable right to a non-discriminatory job. Prisons must accommodate prisoners based on their gender identity.

Gender X

The law has an impact on the authorities: Canadian passports have recently been given gender X as an option. On the electronic entry permit for Canada, which visitors from abroad must apply for, you can tick “other” in addition to “male” and “female”. Canadians can choose a third gender at the next upcoming census in 2021.

"Canada sends a signal of inclusion in times when Donald Trump is exactly the opposite in the US," says Kristopher Wells, gender expert at McEwan University in Edmonton. The fact that Trudeau is dedicated to the subject is important. "This has an impact on companies and associations that have not yet been covered by the law."

Not all Canadians think that's a good thing. There is criticism especially in church and conservative circles. University professor Jordan Peterson made headlines when he publicly refused to address his students with gender-neutral pronouns. Even in the more conservative Senate in Ottawa, there have long been concerns about the new equality law. But the influence of the critics is waning. Fears that there could be a kind of culture war have not yet come true. A year and a half after the new law came into force, observers see no significant increase in litigation. According to a survey, 8 out of 10 Canadians are in favor of equality for transgender people, 7 out of 10 are in favor of a society with fluid gender roles, and 6 out of 10 are in favor of the new passports.