July 11, 2014

The following is being distributed at the request of the Human Rights Commission:

Human Rights Commission Celebrates Pride Week with Newfoundland and Labrador LGBTQ Community

The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission joins residents of the province in the celebrating Pride Week 2014 which takes place from July 14 to 21. Pride Week is a celebration of the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities in Newfoundland and Labrador and the recognition of the province as an inclusive community.

“Community-organized events marking the celebration of sexual diversity in our province will take place in towns and cities across Newfoundland and Labrador throughout July and August,” said Remzi Cej, Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission. “This is a perfect opportunity for community leaders, employers, labour organizations, community groups, and individuals across the province to express their support for LGBTQ members of our communities by sponsoring or participating in local gatherings. Whether as LGBTQ Newfoundlanders and Labradorians or as allies, our residents play an integral role in sending a strong message to anyone who may be tempted to discriminate against sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. This is a time to show that there is no place for homophobia and transphobia in our communities.”

The Human Rights Act, 2010 recognizes that every individual is free and equal in dignity and rights. On December 10, 2013, an amendment was made to the act to include gender identity and gender expression as protected grounds of discrimination. This amendment extends formal protections, delivering a message of inclusion for individuals who identify as trans or transgender and contributes to public education and dialogue about issues surrounding gender identity and expression. A guideline from the Human Rights Commission on the amendment can be found online: www.justice.gov.nl.ca/hrc/publications/index.html#guidelines

Since the amendment was introduced, the Human Rights Commission has received a significant increase in calls on this particular issue from potential complainants as well as employers who want to ensure compliance with the Human Rights Act, 2010 and who want to foster an inclusive work environment. The commission is pleased with this response to the amendment.

“The recent amendments to the Human Rights Act, 2010 to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination ensures explicit protections for the trans community in the province. The commission will be working with community activists and others to ensure that government and other services reflect this change over the coming months to support trans residents across the province,” said Mr. Cej.

For more information on the Human Rights Commission or the amendment to the Human Rights Act, 2010 please visit www.thinkhumanrights.ca EXTERNAL or call our office directly at 729-2709 or 1-888-563-5808 and ask to speak to a Human Rights Specialist.

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Media contact:
Carey Majid
Executive Director, Human Rights Commission
Department of Justice

2014 07 11                                        10:45 a.m.