By Emily Rawbon
Last Wednesday, July 20th, a friend and colleague sent me the following message: FYI you are officially protected under the BC Human Rights Code now only took until 2016.
She followed that up with a statement by Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton in which the Minister announced an amendment to the B.C. Human Rights Code that stated that all individuals, including transgender persons, have the right to equal protection under the law.
The B.C. New Democratic Party and groups such as the BC Teachers Federation were quick to applaud the changes to the code with statements like, Transgender rights are human rights or Today marks a big step forward for British Columbia, a step towards a more open, diverse, and tolerant society.
As an inter-sexed, gender variant individual, I feel that our governments position on human rights bodes well for a community that has been marginalized and discriminated against for far too long.
However, I know this about tolerance; it requires reciprocity. Without it, the discrimination and violence in which some individuals and groups feel privileged to enact upon the transgender community are going to continue law or no law.
So, how do we end this intolerance? In my opinion, its most likely never going to end. The male/female-only dichotomy has been with us a very long time and, like the abolishment of slavery, the right for women to vote or civil rights for African Americans, the idea that transgender individuals have equal rights under the law is at first going to be a hard pill to swallow for some people.
Regardless of any intolerant views, the transgender community is officially protected under the law. Eventually in time, with patience and with education we as a society will hopefully look back at this period of history and ask ourselves why was this issue such a huge concern in the first place.