Religious right behind opposition to transgendered rights

While the path towards equality winds toward uniform and universal rights and freedoms for every single Canadian, it is littered with burdensome and regretful obstacles that question our commitment, as a country, to the fulfilment of the ideals of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The House of Commons, an institution which we hope will protect our individual liberties, voted by a grossly narrow margin of 143-135, to pass Bill C-389 – the Transgender Bill of Rights. The bill, though with some limits, would add gender identity as grounds for hate crimes prosecution in the Criminal Code and as grounds for discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act.

With the exception of six government members, including house leader John Baird, the Conservative Party voted against granting transgendered Canadians equal rights, joined unfortunately by seven Liberals whose own party brought Canada the Charter.

So why did the Conservative Party so unabashedly shove the Charter’s commitment to equality in the faces of the transgender population of this country? If the rhetoric of several religious lobby groups is any indication, the Conservatives cherish the support of these far-right religious groups more than the rights of a minority group whose most basic request is an adult conversation about their identity that less resembles the intellectual equivalent of a childish sandbox war.

Without a doubt the true Christianity of the umpteen number of groups that came out against this law can be called into question. They want to love thy neighbour until they identify as trans. They want to offer compassion and love to all of God’s people until they are different than the image they have conjured up in their heads of who God’s people are.

Before I elaborate on what these groups have said, I want to first clearly state that they are an entrenched conservative and religious faction. There are so many more Canadians – left wing and right wing – who both subscribe to religion and the implementation of this act. I do not for a moment think that religion and believing in gender identity equality are incompatible.

I do, however, think the religious right deserves a substantial amount of blame for Conservative opinion on this issue. Life Site News officially opposed the act because of the danger it poses to women who will face increased attacks by men in public washrooms. Does this fear mongering assertion, based completely outside of fact, falls within the doctrine of an all-loving God?

While failing to understand that this bill doesn’t even deal with gender neutral washrooms (which it unfortunately doesn’t), Life News is missing an even greater point (and I can’t believe I have to spell it out for them): transgendered Canadians are not trans because they want to make sexual assault easier. They, like every other Canadian, were born who they are and are only seeking equal legal protection from their government.

Joined by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, REAL Women of Canada, and the Canada Family Action Coalition, the Campaign Life Coalition has made the ridiculous assertion that transgenderism will be taught in Kindergarten if C-389 becomes law.

Transgenderism cannot be “taught.” It is not a “learned behaviour.” What we can do, though, is build good character. As Christians, these groups should realize that compassion and justice for all is an important concept for every Canadian to learn and perhaps, as evidenced by these groups’ discriminatory and unjust reactions, we should figure out where the school system went wrong in failing to instil these values in them.

Ironically, these groups further assert that this act is an attack on Canadian family values.

The only family values these groups seem to purport is diminishing those who are different, inflicting majority opinion on those who don’t have a voice, demonstrating next to no compassion for those who fail to fall within the “normal” image these groups purport and judging people based on characteristics they choose to find disturbing and offensive.

So if the Conservative Party (along with seven Liberals) want to sympathize with these religious groups that’s fine, but they should know that they will be historically judged as being regretful impediments to achieving eventual equality for transgendered Canadians.

The Conservatives have shown themselves to believe that they are tough on crime except when it is a hate crime, in which case they think it is liberally redundant and that they want government out of your life, so long as it isn’t your sexual orientation, gender identity or uterus that you want them to stay out of.

I dare the Conservatives in the Senate to block this bill. I dare the Conservatives in the Senate to stand in the path of equality; to try to erase transgendered peoples from their picture-perfect painting of an equal Canada. I dare them to try. I guarantee the will of the transgendered population is stronger and has endured far more than a bunch of traditional Senators blocking their rights from the cushiness of a Senate chamber.

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