Voting FAQ for Trans Canadians.
No, I’m not going to tell you how to vote. At the end of the post, I’ll list several tools you can use (or not) to make up your own mind.
But voting comes with its challenges for transsexual and transitioning folks, and I don’t want trans readers to be dissuaded from taking part in the process.
You can vote on Monday, May 2nd if you’re a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older as of election day, and are registered to vote. If you’re not registered to vote, you can register on site, but in that case, it’s recommended that you go early. If you don’t know where to go, you can find out on Elections Canada’s website.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you’re entitled to vote, even if someone doesn’t like your gender presentation. If you are given any trouble, you can contact either the returning officer for the riding, the Elections Canada office in Ottawa, or the candidate of your choice — but do so quickly, so you can still vote before polls close. Polling hours are also listed on the website.
If you’ve legally changed your name and are concerned about gender markers on identification or having to explain your name change in front of a crowded room, don’t worry about it. Elections Canada outlines three different options you have in supplying the identification you need to register, and there’s a good selection of options that don’t have gender markers on them. If you’d rather not risk a public fuss, then it’s fine to just register under your new name (again, go early if possible) — the only condition, of course, is that you only vote once. You don’t need to reference your old name, and you don’t have to bring in your voter card if you received one in the mail with your previous name.
If you’re voting to support human rights inclusion for trans people, the NDP, Liberals and Green Party have all pledged their support at the party level. As for the Conservatives, well, aside from 5 supporters, their votes on February speak for themselves. So if you’re voting by the party, you have three choices.
CBC’s Vote Compass can help you determine which party is most in line with your personal perspectives.
CBC’s riding-by-riding overview can give riding background and voting history for those who want to vote strategically.
There is a Vote for Trans Rights group on Facebook that may also have more information.
And if you’re in Alberta, I’ve conducted a local survey on the question, compiled in an XLS spreadsheet.
And by the way, Voter turnout was at an all-time low in 2008, with 59.1% nationally, and 52.9% in Alberta. So don’t be claiming that your vote doesn’t count. The problem is that progressives aren’t standing up enough to be counted.
Monday’s the day to vote. And encourage others to do the same.
h/t to Matt