C-389: The Religious Right Responds

Jillian at Patent Pending points to and discusses some recent rhetoric being spouted by the far right in response to Bill C-389 by CFAC, REAL Women of Canada, CLC and others.  If you want to know the details, it’s worth a look.

Meanwhile, my Quick Facts will be going up at The Bilerico Project, probably tomorrow.  If the misinformation is going to escalate, then the response needs to also.  The TBP article will be free for people to distribute to educate people regarding C-389, and if you have an issue with me personally, you don’t even have to have my name on it (you just can’t claim to be or imply that you’re the author).  But if DBM readers miss it there, here are the updates that will be going up in that article, including some responses to the Lifesite text that Jill mentions.

Updated Information

Bill C-389 passed the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights without changes. It now heads toward third vote and final reading, likely in December.

It’s not over after that. Afterward, the Bill needs to go through three readings in the Senate. I don’t know how long that takes — I believe it’s a much shorter time frame than as with a private member’s bill like C-389 takes in the House (this one has taken about a year and a half or more). It is true that opposition parties could unite to topple the Conservative government, causing an election to take place, and this would end passage though the Senate. However, the opposition parties have largely supported Bill C-389. If this happens, then we need to push them for a commitment that if any of these parties come to power in Canada, they’ll re-introduce this bill as a government bill, passing it in a much shorter time frame. LGBT Canadians would need to work together on this.

The Far Right Response

Lifesite.ca, Gwen Landolt of REAL Women of Canada and Brian Rushfeldt of Canada Family Action Coalition (which was formed with assistance of and retains ties to Focus on the Family) have united to respond to Bill C-389, raising the washroom panic (addressed above) and claiming that:

“The bill’s extremely dangerous,” [Gwen Landolt] said. “It’s alright to be in favour of human rights, which we all support, but this is being in favour of a mental illness, and playing into it. It’s not good for individuals, let alone society.”

“It’s extremely dangerous for children to be taught that transgendered is equal to heterosexual and normal gender,” she continued, pointing out that the American College of Pediatricians warned this spring that sexual confusion should not be reinforced.

These are two new memes, since the religious right in the US is realizing that the washroom fearmongering and attempts to conflate us (as is usually done with any emerging communities) with predators has limited effectiveness once the facts are known.

The medical community has been coming to realize that transsexuality is not dismissable as an irrational mental illness, and has been looking to adapt to find a way to codify a diagnosis that acknowledges the reality that people can have an identity that is out of sync with their birth sex which is not just “all in their head,” as witnessed by the facts coming forward in the many medical studies into a possible biological origin of transsexuality. References are all over the Internet on this, so I’m not sure what to link to, except maybe the American Medical Association’s affirmation that gender dysphoria is a real enough condition that it does call for transsexuals having access to health care that provides for gender reassignment surgery if they need it.

The second meme cites the American College of Pediatricians, since this is as close as they can get to a legitimate-sounding medical body to oppose the rights and validity of transsexuals. In fact, despite its name, the ACP is a non-authoritative body that screens its membership according to far-right views on abortion and homosexuality, and is therefore not representative of pediatricians in general. It was in fact founded by ex-gay therapists, including Joseph Nicolosi of NARTH and the infamous George “carry my bags, dear rentboy” Rekers. The American Academy of Pediatricians is the accepted authority, and has responded in emphatic opposition to the ACP publication that Landolt cites in this Lifesite.ca article.

Curiously, the Lifesite article says that “that the government asked NDP committee member Joe Comartin to move that all clauses be carried.” By this, they’re trying to embarrass the federal government into fighting passage tooth and nail. But there may be some truth to it. Some Conservative MPs, who either have past familiarity with transsexuals because of family or friends who’ve transitioned, or who have met with trans constituents do in fact support the bill (again, the reality dispels a lot of the myth, and that is why it is so important to tell our narrative). Xtra reports that there was concern that with the possibility of an impending election, time was of the essence:

“Maybe a couple of people obviously voted against it, but a general consensus that the bill was so straightforward, the amendments so small both in number and in consequence, that we didn’t have to call witnesses, we didn’t want to go through a detailed analysis of what it was going to do because it was so straightforward,” Comartin says.

The fact that there were no hearings does disappoint Siksay.

“I think it would have been great if we’d been able to have transgender and transsexual people speaking for themselves before the committee,” he says. “That was their opportunity to talk about why this was an important change.”

Some organizations did submit briefs on transsexuality and Bill C-389, although it is uncertain whether they were distributed prior to the meeting. I may post one on my blog as we get closer to Third Reading.

To support this bill, you can:

  • Express your support to your Member of Parliament
  • Here is a letter you can download, fill in the blanks and mail in (postage to Parliament is free) to show your support.
  • If you see Bill Siksay, thank him for tirelessly bringing trans rights to the forefront, in his long trek to make this bill a reality.

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