Today, Toby’s Act (Bill 33, introduced for the fourth time in five years by MPP Cheri DiNovo) became Toby’s Law. Gender identity and gender expression are now enshrined in the Ontario Human Rights Code (making Ontario, iirc, one of only two jurisdictions in North America – the other being the North West Territories – to protect gender identity and gender expression in their human rights legislation).
This is good news.
I know there are folks who are feeling kind of “Meh” about it. There are loads of people who would rather see legislation that effects concrete things like SRS funding or being able to change the gender markers on their ID without having to jump through a heap of gate keepers’ hoops.
Which makes sense.
However I also see human rights legislation as a wedge that can be used to push for the more concrete things.
I know that Bill C-279 went through its second hour of debate last week, and I’d like to see this bill become law for specifically that reason (although give Mercedes Allen a read about the negative effects of a possible amendment to the bill – she raises some very good points). I think that if it’s illegal to discriminate against someone based on their gender expression, then this can (I hope? In theory?) be used to push for, say, ditching the requirement that someone have had SRS (and signed documents to prove it) before they can have their passport, health card, and other ID updated to reflect their real gender.
So. Yes. Ontario stepped up (finally). Hopefully things will follow suit on the federal level, ideally in short order.