Justice and Public Safety
May 17, 2017

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

Human Rights Commission Recognizes International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

On May 17, the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission commemorates the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). The day draws annual attention to the discrimination and challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people. IDAHOT is the largest LGBTIQ solidarity event to take place throughout the globe, with more than 130 countries taking part.

The focus for IDAHOT 2017 will be on the rights and roles of LGBTIQ families. The goal of this year’s IDAHOT is to strengthen the visibility and voice of LGBTIQ parents, caregivers and children within society. IDAHOT 2017 attempts to reinvent “family values” through a more progressive and inclusive lens. Keep an eye out for local events in your community celebrating the day, such as the annual DanceWalk in St. John’s hosted by Raise Up Fundraising and the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Sexual orientation has been included as a prohibited ground of discrimination in Newfoundland and Labrador since 1997. The provincial Human Rights Act was amended in 2013 to expressly include gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination. It is the role of the Human Rights Commission to investigate complaints alleging discrimination or harassment based on any of the prohibited grounds.

The Human Rights Commission also provides mediation options through our Voluntary Resolution Path, with over half of the complaints accepted entering into the process. For example, a complaint was filed alleging discrimination in the workplace on the basis of the complainant’s gender identity. While the respondent denied the allegation of discrimination, the parties were able to reach a successful settlement agreement within three months.

The Human Rights Commission is committed to fighting the devastating effects of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia by promoting an understanding of, acceptance of, and compliance with the anti-discrimination provisions contained in the Human Rights Act.

As part of its mandate, the commission also works to educate the public 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. The Human Rights Commission is available to provide public education programming on these and other human rights areas.

“The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission supports members of the LGBTIQ community and their families. IDAHOT is an important reminder that we need to continue to acknowledge and foster inclusion within our communities. Same sex couples have been able to jointly adopt children together since 2002 and have been legally allowed to marry since 2004. However, in our daily lives there is always more we can do to raise awareness. Discrimination persists and it’s important to create safe spaces for members of the LGBTIQ community. We can shift our messaging to welcome all people, rather than exclude or alienate people, with our choice of language and traditional gender markers. Our province is committed to protecting the rights of LGBTIQ families and will continue to uphold the dignity, worth, and equality of all people.”
Kim Mackay
Vice-Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission

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Learn more
For more information on the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission, please visit www.thinkhumanrights.ca external link and follow us on twitter @nlhumanrights external link.

Media contact
Kim Mackay Vice-Chair
NL Human Rights Commission
709 729 2709

2017 05 17                              9:40 a.m.