Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. We began marking this day in 1999 in response to the brutal killing of Rita Hester, a Black Trans woman. On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we honour all Trans, Two-Spirit, and non-binary people who were victims of violence, hatred, and discrimination and who had their lives taken.
Transphobia, trans misogyny, and all other forms of violence, including racism against Black, Indigenous, and racialized Trans people, have no place in Canada.
In 2017, we added protection for Trans and non-binary people in the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act. Last month, we reintroduced legislation to protect LGBTQ2 Canadians from conversion therapy, including coercive efforts to change a person’s identity. And starting in 2021, the Census of Population will include identification of sex at birth and gender identity. This will provide us more insight into gender diversity in Canada, and allow our Government to better understand and respond to the unique needs of Trans people from coast to coast to coast.
Although progress has been made, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that there is still much work to be done to protect Trans and gender-diverse people in Canada, who are more likely to experience discrimination during these unprecedented times.
We must do better by continuing to condemn all acts of violence against transgender people and to integrate Trans perspectives into Canadian institutions so that they can meet the needs of all Canadians.
Vigils and celebrations will look different this year due to the pandemic. Nonetheless, today we pause to recognize the lives of those we have lost.
As Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Government of Canada, I encourage Canadians to honour the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence, as we work together to make all communities safer and consciously more inclusive.