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Update on Ontario’s anti-bullying and gender identity bills

June 19th, 2012 Comments off

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It’s official! Bills 13 and 33, Ontario’s anti-bullying and gender identity bills, were given royal assent today at 3:15 pm. This means that the bills have officially become law, marking a new era for LGBTQ rights and recognitions in Ontario.
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An Invitation to Celebrate!
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Queer Ontario will be hosting a Victory Party on Saturday, June 23rd at the 519 Community Centre’s Ballroom, where we will have some special guests, light food, and of course: some cake! Event details can be found on our website, here, and on our Facebook Page, here.
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Information about Bill 13 can be found here: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=2549

Information about Bill 33 can be found here: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=2574
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We hope to see many of you there!
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The Queer Ontario Steering Committee
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A Message from Nick Mulé, Queer Ontario Chairperson, on Bill 33

June 12th, 2012 Comments off

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Hi Everyone,
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I’m sending this message to inform all of the social, legal, cultural and historical importance of Bill 33, Toby’s Act: Right to be Free from Discrimination and Harassment Because of Gender Identity or Gender Expression, 2012.  On Monday, June 11, 2012 Queer Ontario deputed before the Ontario Legislative Standing Committee on Social Policy with regard to this Bill urging them to pass it.  See the Queer Ontario deputation at: http://queerontario.org/2012/06/11/bill33-deputation/
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This is somewhat lengthy, but I ask that you bear with me as their is some important information here I wanted to share.
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Significance to Trans Communities:  It goes without saying that this Bill is long overdue to ensure the social recognition and legal protections needed for the trans communities.  Trans people have been calling for this for a very long time, the Bill is currently in its fourth (4th) attempt at being passed and the Ontario Human Rights Commission has been calling for the inclusion of ‘gender identity’ in the Ontario Human Rights Code since 1999.  Queer Ontario, with a mandate that addresses the needs of gender and sexual diverse people inclusive of trans and genderqueer communities strongly supports the passage of Bill 33.  For our comprehensive position on this Bill, see our deputation at http://queerontario.org/2012/06/11/bill33-deputation/
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Significance to Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals:
 Following Queer Ontario’s deputation, the Ontario Human Rights Commission as represented by Barbara Hall, Chief Human Rights Commissioner, deputed.  Clearly in support of Bill 33 to ensure social and legal recognition and protections, she outlined a series of amendments to the Bill.  One of the amendments involves enumerating ‘sexual orientation’ under sections 2(2) and 5(2) dealing with harassment.  This is a long-standing recommendation by both the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the LGB communities.  25 years ago when our predecessor, the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO) succeeded in getting ‘sexual orientation’ added to the Ontario Human Rights Code following an 11-year campaign, the primary activists involved recognized it wasn’t a complete victory, as harassment was not covered.  The NDP’s Cheri DiNovo, who is shepherding Toby’s Act through Parliament indicated that the NDP would be using the OHRC amendments for the Bill.  There is now an opportunity to redress this gap within Bill 33.
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Historical Significance:  The anticipated passage of Bill 33 holds great historical significance at this particular time in queer history:
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- Passage would take place just over 25 years after ‘sexual orientation’ was added to the OHRC

- Inclusion of ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ in the OHRC could come into place during the same week the Ontario Human Rights Commission has its 50th anniversary

- The vote for Bill 33 is to take place on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 exactly 13 years to the day (June 13, 1999) police raided the Bijou, a gay/bisexual sex bar/theatre (since closed) in downtown Toronto.
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We have come a long way as a queer community.  This is one of those rare times, close on the heels of the recently successful passage of Bill 13 Accepting Schools Act addressing bullying and GSAs we are on the verge of another successful bill passage.  To witness a highly anticipated historic moment attend the third (3rd) reading and vote on Bill 33 at Queen’s Park on Wednesday morning, June 13, 2012 at 9:00 AM.
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All the best,
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Nick Mulé
Chairperson,
Queer Ontario
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Call to Action – Support Toby’s Act Now!

May 3rd, 2012 No comments

Help add “gender identity” and “gender expression” into the Ontario Human Rights Code!
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On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo tabled Toby’s Act for the fourth time — a private member’s bill that seeks to add “gender identity” and “gender expression” as protected statuses in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Co-sponsored by Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi and Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliot, Toby’s Act, if passed, would offer far greater protections for people in Ontario who are not cissexual, cisgendered, or normatively sexed or gendered.
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When we last left off with Toby’s Act, then Attorney General Chris Bentley shot down the Bill, claiming that protections were already offered under current Human Rights Code and that no further amendments to the Code were necessary. Queer Ontario understands that this isn’t the case, given that many transsexual, transgender, and otherly-gendered persons are still the targets of service, employment, and housing discrimination.
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What Can You Do To Help?
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We are calling on queer and trans communities across Ontario to support Toby’s Act and to let Premier McGuinty, Andrea Horwath (Leader, ONDP), Tim Hudak (Leader, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario) and their parties know that we support the inclusion of “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the Human Rights Code. Here’s a few simple ways you can do that:
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1.  Sign our Petition

Let Premier McGuinty, Andrea Horwath (Leader, ONDP), Tim Hudak (Leader, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario) and their parties know that you support the inclusion of “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the Ontario Human Rights Code. For every person that signs the petition, an e-mail will be sent to all the parties listed above letting them know that you support Toby’s Act. So sign now!
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Call your MPP and let them know you support Toby’s Act

A list of current MPPs with their contact information can be found here. If you are unsure of who your MPP is, then you can use this handy tool to find your Riding, which can then be found on the contacts link.
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3.  Join us at the Ontario Legislative Building on Thursday, May 10th.

The bill is set to be discussed at around 2:00 pm. The more people we can get into the galleries to show support, the better!
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Together we can make this fourth attempt a success, and to finally have gender identity and gender expression recognized in the Ontario Human Rights Code. We extend our thanks to the Trans Lobby Group, and to MPP Cheri DiNovo, for their vigilence and persistence.

 

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