It's time to enshrine the rights and protections of transgender Canadians.

Author:Mitchell, Senator Grant

Diversity, inclusion, acceptance and understanding are core Canadian values. We believe that they define who we are, and we are very proud that they do. And yet, in what we all hold to be a remarkably open and inclusive society, transgender people face an extreme level of exclusion, discrimination, prejudice and violence.

Research projects by the Ontario Trans PULSE Project and by Egale, and the 2015 report Being Safe, Being Me, provide stark and startling evidence of what trans people face in Canada today. These studies found that, of those transgender people surveyed with respect to employment barriers and economic marginalization, 13 per cent had been fired for being trans; 18 per cent were turned down for jobs because they are trans; over 70 per cent are earning less than $30,000 per year; and their median income is $15,000 per year. This is despite the fact that they are highly educated: 70 per cent have some form of post-secondary education, and 44 per cent have post-secondary undergraduate and graduate degrees.

* With respect to discrimination in medical care: of those people surveyed, 10 per cent who had accessed an emergency room were refused care because they were trans; 21 per cent avoided emergency at one time or another specifically due to being trans; and 40 per cent experienced discriminatory behaviour from a family doctor.

* With respect to bullying and violence: of those studied, 20 per cent had been physically or sexually assaulted; 34 per cent had been verbally threatened or harassed; and 24 per cent reported being harassed by police.

* With respect to mental health and suicide: of those studied, more than 50 per cent presented symptoms consistent with clinical depression; 77 per cent reported that they had considered suicide; 43 per cent had actually attempted suicide and--this is striking and startling--of those, 70 per cent had done so at 19 years of age or younger.

* With respect to youth, of those studied: 90 per cent reported being subjected to transphobic comments frequently, often daily; 23 per cent of students reported that teachers directed transphobic comments at them; 25 per cent of students reported physical harassment; 36 per cent had been physically threatened or injured in the past year; 9 per cent had been threatened or injured with a weapon; 33 per cent said they had been bullied through the Internet in the past year; and trans youth are more than twice as likely as their non-trans counterparts to...

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