Justice and Public Safety
November 20, 2015

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

Recognizing Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today, the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission is joining with residents of the province to observe Transgender Day of Remembrance, held annually on November 20. The day is specially designated to memorialize those who have faced discrimination, violence, and murder due to transphobia.

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been prohibited in Newfoundland and Labrador since 1997, when sexual orientation was added to the Human Rights Code. However, as a group, and often as individuals, transgender people have encountered violence and discrimination and suffered at the hands of groups and individuals intolerant and hateful towards their right to full inclusion and right to live with dignity and safety.

"The commission commemorates the Transgender Day of Remembrance as an important time to reflect on the human rights accomplishments, as well as the challenges trans individuals continue to face in Newfoundland and Labrador. In December 2013, the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act was amended to include specific provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and expression, further expanding protections for the human rights of trans individuals in the province.

"The commission has received human rights complaints, and has heard testimonies of trans individuals in Newfoundland and Labrador who cannot currently access certain medical procedures through the provincial health care system. These medical procedures would assist individuals who wish to undergo sexual reassignment surgery in fully transitioning to their personal gender expression. Other concerns relate to challenges trans individuals face regarding medical evaluations, which currently require trans Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to travel to Toronto for evaluation, in order to be eligible for select provincial health care services.

"Such barriers can be the source of significant stress for trans individuals, especially youth, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and expose them to social and economic vulnerabilities. It is important to take steps to minimize these vulnerabilities, especially when the province's human rights legislation prohibits any discrimination in the area of employment, access to services, and accommodation for trans individuals in Newfoundland and Labrador."
- Remzi Cej, Chair of the Human Rights Commission

The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission is committed to ending all discrimination, and this includes transphobia. The commission aims to promote compliance with the Human Rights Act, 2010, and offers public education programming designed to educate about legal human rights protections, the benefits of diversity, and the goal of full and meaningful inclusion of all people in society, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. For more information on the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission, please visit: www.thinkhumanrights.ca .

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Media contact:

Carey Majid, LLB
Executive Director
Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-2709, 800-563-5808

2015 11 20                              10:00 a.m.