Justice and Public Safety
November 18, 2016

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

Human Rights Commission Observes Transgender Day of Remembrance

The Human Rights Commission will join with residents of Newfoundland and Labrador 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 Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Code. However, as a group, and often as individuals, transgender people have encountered violence and discrimination and have suffered at the hands of groups and individuals who are intolerant and hateful towards their right to full inclusion and right to live with dignity and safety.

In December 2013, the Provincial Government amended the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act to expressly include gender identity and gender expression in the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

"The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a moment to reflect on the human rights achievements of the transgender community. As members of the transgender community advance, so does our society. This day is also a time to reflect on systemic injustices that transgender individuals in Newfoundland and Labrador have faced and continue to face, including challenges and differential treatment in accessing services available to other individuals in the province.

"Such barriers can be the source of significant stress for transgender 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 transgender individuals in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Importantly, Transgender Day of Remembrance is also a day to express solidarity with and support for transgender individuals in other parts of the world, where being transgender can place one’s life at risk. The recent opposition by a number of countries to the appointment of the United Nations Independent Investigator for LGBTQ rights is disappointing, and demonstrates the world has a long way to go. Our actions to make homophobia and transphobia a history must extend to advocacy for the protection of the human rights of all LBGTQ people, regardless of where they live."
- 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 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 external.

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Media contact:

Remzi Cej
Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-2709, 800-563-5808

2016 11 18                              1:35 p.m.