The Canadian government’s new questionable policies regarding trans rights are fueling the 2SLGBTQ+ community to fight back.
One thousand pro-trans protesters gathered in front of the Ministry of Education in Montreal on Sunday to continue fighting for their rights. This is the second nationwide counter-protest for trans rights following the first protest one month ago.
Now, defending trans rights is crucial after a controversial bill was passed in western Canada.
On Friday, Saskatchewan passed Bill 137, the Parental Bill of Rights, which uses a notwithstanding clause to prevent trans youth from changing their names or pronouns in schools. The bill suggests that if a trans youth under 16 wants to change their name, they must have parental consent. If they do not get consent and insist on having their name or pronoun changed, the bill excludes the possibility of suing the government.
New Brunswick also passed a similar law over the summer in July.
Furthermore, Quebec Premier François Legault discussed creating a “comité des sages” (committee of wise people), regarding gender identity. The Minister of Families Suzanne Roy will be the committee’s chair. It is unclear who will sit on the committee, but it is set to be revealed during the holidays.
Celeste Trianon, trans jurisist and activist, is horrified by these new legislations appearing all over the country. She expressed that the 2SLGBTQ+ community will not back down, warning opposing groups they will continue to defend their rights.
“Anti-trans legislation is an existential threat to Canadian democracy and everyone should be concerned,” Trianon said. “Even the very groups, especially most conservative groups, which depend on this very Canadian charter to defend its rights.”
Trans rights protesters and groups such as P!nk Bloc, Montréal Antifaciste, and Première Ligne rallied together for the fight. Trans flags gracefully blew in the wind alongside signs that read “Trans Rights = Human Rights,” “Education is not indoctrination” and “Protect Trans Youth.”
On the other side, anti-trans protesters arrived at the scene holding signs such as “Leave our Kids Alone” and “Hands Off our Kids.” Young children were also present; one of their signs read “Stop confusing me, I’m just a kid.”
A pro trans protester, whose identity will remain anonymous, finds these kids’ participation in the opposing movement sad and disheartening. They believe the group’s mission to “protect their children from the indoctrination of sexualisation and gender identity,” is causing more harm than it is trying to protect the kids.
“[The kids] have no idea what they’re really doing, you know, and it’s just their parents sort of teaching them this hate,” they said. “It makes me sad because if any of them are trans, they’re just taught from the beginning to hate themselves, and they don’t have any protection. They’re not being protected.”
The protester was not aware of Bill 137 passing and when they found out, they were devastated. However, they recognize that the beautiful 2SLGBTQ+ community and their peers are a beacon of love in their life. While their love makes the difficult journey a little bit easier to get through, doubt still creeps in.
“There is this support in the [2SLGBTQ+] community that stands with me and that I can stand with that sort of gives me this hope for the future, but then it’s also like the government doesn’t care about me,” they said.
The heart of the protest was that trans lives deserve to be here. Trianon encourages everyone to keep voicing their support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community no matter what the government is doing.
“Things are not going to change unless the general population wakes up to this. Anti-democratic movements must face resistance from populations,” Trianon said.
She explains that most civil rights have been acquired through protesting, striking, and acting against institutions in power. “That is how we got the minimum wage, how people now have humane working conditions. That is why we are here now,” Trianon said, adding that this is why the Canadian Charter, the Quebec Charter and other protections which haven’t codified in law for decades. “That is why women can now vote, why people can now live their best lives and that is why I can actually exist in this society.”