• For those who are interested but haven’t yet heard, Bill C-389, the NDP bill to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code, successfully passed the report stage on December 8. It has only one step left in the House of Commons, the debate and vote on third reading, expected in February; but it must then get through the Senate before an election is called in order to become law.

    This was the first time the whole house held a recorded vote on the issue. The tally was 143 for and 131 against. All New Democrats and Bloquistes present voted in favour, as did most Liberals; however three Liberals voted against and several abstained. Most Conservatives voted against, but five voted in favour, including one who spoke against the bill at second reading, which to me indicates that they can be turned. Exciting days ahead.

  • On a related subject, some sad news for our community: Bill Siksay, the MP for Burnaby-Douglas, BC, and the NDP’s critic on LGBTT issues, as well as the proposer of Bill C-389, has announced he won’t run again in the next election.

    I’ve had the opportunity to meet Bill several times, and a more self-effacing, caring, devoted MP, with more integrity and commitment to our communities and giving voice to the silenced, you will never meet. He has been in politics for every one of the right reasons. We’re going to lose one of the best MPs Canada has ever had, in my opinion, as well as an unprecedented voice for trans and genderqueer equality.

    However, he is not resigning now, but staying in parliament until the next election. So he will continue to shepherd C-389 until then. Also, the bill was seconded by no fewer than 12 MPs, including Megan Leslie of Halifax who has worked with the trans community for years and gave a wonderful speech at 2nd reading. So if it doesn’t pass in this parliament, I’m confident it’ll be reintroduced in the next.

  • I have the opportunity to travel to San Francisco – I’m writing this on the plane for posting later. I’ve never been, so I’m finally making the pilgrimage! Among other things I’ll be taking part in Solstice gatherings with the Radical Faeries and the Reclaiming Tradition. I can’t wait. I’ll write about my trip when I get back!