March 31, 2023, Ottawa, Ontario – The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, issued the following statement today on the International Transgender Day of Visibility:
“The world is scary for trans people. It feels like every day we awake to a new law being proposed to strip us of our human rights, or more violence that extinguishes yet another trans life. It is up to all of us to take a stand against this rising level of hate. In a world that seems to be slipping increasingly into darkness, we each need to light a candle of hope.”
Emma Wakelin, a trans woman and community activist who is passionate about encouraging trans visibility in politics and government.
“Emma, and so many other transgender Canadians are calling on every single one of us to take a stand against the disturbing rise in anti-transgender hate both in-person and online – not just today on the International Transgender Day of Visibility – but always.
The Government of Canada has been clear: trans women are women, trans men are men, and we will stand against hate whenever and wherever it occurs. The attempts in Canada, and around the world, to erase the lived experiences of trans people are unacceptable, and blindly ignore the many contributions of trans Canadians such as, Julie Lemieux, the first openly transgender mayor elected in Canada; Judge Kael McKenzie of the Manitoba Provincial Court, the first openly transgender person to be appointed a judge in Canada; and Jessica Platt, the first openly transgender woman to play in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League; and of course Jackie Shane, a pioneering transgender soul singer who performed in Toronto in the 1960s – whose memory lives on in a Heritage Minute.
These trailblazers will forever be etched in our collective history.
The story of trans people in Canada is one of triumph in the face of adversity, and our government reaffirms that transgender, non-binary, and Two-Spirit people are an important part of our social fabric, while also recognizing the lives, the joys, and the contributions of trans activists, artists, educators, public servants, community leaders, family members, and friends.
Though, we must acknowledge that transgender people continue to experience significant disparities due to longstanding discrimination, a lack of mental health supports, unemployment, homelessness, and harassment. Which is why we will continue to prioritize building a safer and more inclusive country by funding initiatives that support queer communities through the historic Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan, while ensuring transgender people have the right to respectful, dignified, gender-affirming health care wherever they are in Canada.
As we celebrate the International Transgender Day of Visibility, let’s celebrate the advocates, survivors, and community leaders who picked up the torch and who continue to fight for a more equal and inclusive Canada.”