Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

Transgender Day of Remembrance: NDP Leader and LGBTQ critic statements

Published on November 20, 2020

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Transgender Day of Remembrance

QUEEN'S PARK – "On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we honour the memory of those who have died because of Transphobic violence, hate or prejudice, and mourn their loss. We acknowledge the persistent epidemic of violence, discrimination and dehumanization committed against Transgender people.
We’re grateful for the incredible strength and advocacy of individuals and organizations in the Transgender and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities working to combat Transphobic hate, violence and prejudice. On behalf of the Ontario NDP, I commit to working with the Trans community to ensure that the rights of Trans people in Ontario are upheld, the experiences of Trans people reflected in our laws, and that policies that exclude, misgender or marginalize Trans individuals are opposed and eradicated.
This work includes ensuring that Transgender youth are heard and protected in Ontario schools, and that our education system is free of Transphobia, and reflects the diversity of experiences within the Trans community.
We know Trans, two-spirit and gender diverse people face heinous rates of violence and harassment in all settings, including at school, at work, in public, at home, in shelters, in correctional facilities and when accessing public services. We know that Transgender people of colour, Trans women and Trans women of colour face higher levels of violence and danger, all the time. We know the murders of Transgender people often go unreported.
Many in the community are grieving the tragic death of Coco, a Black Trans woman who recently died in police custody in Toronto.
We must not stop the work of speaking out against this pervasive violence. We need to be loud in our condemnations of Transphobia and anti-Transgender discrimination in all forms, and in mourning, honouring and celebrating the lives of the many people who have lost their lives to this epidemic of hate."

NDP LGBTQ Issues critic Terence Kernaghan on Transgender Day of Remembrance: 

"Although activists and community members have made significant progress for Trans inclusion in recent years, Transphobia and Trans misogyny remain hateful and violent ideologies in our society. Too many members of the Trans community lose their lives due to outright violence, or because of mental health issues caused by Transphobia. This is particularly true of Black, two-spirit, and other racialized Trans folks who disproportionately face Transphobia in addition to racist and colonial violence.  
This year, the Trans Day of Remembrance may be more difficult than previous years. Normally, we might gather with Trans friends and allies for candlelight vigils and other collective acts of remembrance. Like so many other things, COVID has changed that. But there are still ways we can pay our respects safely – I encourage my colleagues in the Legislature to attend a virtual ceremony this year. 

Although the way we mourn this year may be different, the loss we feel for the Trans community and our calls for justice remain strong. In recent weeks, we’ve seen efforts to legitimize Transphobic hatred by granting bigots like Charles McVety and his Canada Christian College more rights. But I want to clearly say today that someone’s gender identity or gender expression should never be open for debate. 

Trans Ontarians should never feel unsafe in their schools, workplaces, hospitals, or communities. Your safety matters.

We must be proactive, as well, in ensuring that Trans Ontarians can live freely as their authentic selves. That’s why we must listen to Trans activists and advocates pushing for OHIP to cover all gender-affirming transition drugs, and to ensure that all health care decisions respect the standards of care established by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. These steps are vital for Trans inclusion and acceptance.  

On this Trans Day of Remembrance, we mourn the dead and continue to fight for the living. On this day, and every day, Trans Rights are human rights."