HALIFAX — DalOUT, the award winning LGBTQ society, is calling on the government to amend the Human Rights Act to include gender identity and gender orientation as prohibited grounds for discrimination. The student society is doing a series of actions to promote equal human rights for gender variant and transgendered students, and all Nova Scotians generally.
“Students who are transgender, gender-variant, intersex, or gender non-conforming face barriers in the form of discrimination. Legal protection from discrimination does not exist in areas such as employment, tenancy, access to services, or participating in volunteer organizations. In 2012, nobody should face discrimination just because of who they are,” says John Hutton, representative for the LGBTQ community on the Dalhousie Student Union.
DalOUT is encouraging the public to contact Ross Landry, the NS Minister of Justice, to call for legislation in the fall to amend the Human Rights Act. The society's website has been updated to include a pre-written email that people can send. DalOUT will be marching in the LGBTQ Pride Parade on Saturday, July 28th with the theme “Trans Rights are Human Rights.”
“It's time for the NDP government to take concrete steps forward for equality for trans people. Ontario just passed legislation to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and gender orientation with all-party support, and the federal NDP has been vocal on the issue federally,” says Hutton. “The trans community expects support from the provincial government, and that means making legislative amendments to the Human Rights Act a priority.”
The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) is supporting the action and will be in attendance. The Union's council recently passed a motion to support DalOUT's call for change and will be marching in the parade with DalOUT.
“High tuition fees aren't the only barrier to accessible education,” says Aaron Beale, External Vice President of the Dalhousie Student Union. “Students already struggle with high loads of debt. Having to face discrimination as well is unjust. The DSU is proud to be supporting the trans community in demanding equal rights for all.”