Concerns arise over Liberal plans for trans rights

A Yukoner who had to fight for his rights as a trans man is raising concerns about the newly elected Liberal government’s stance on transgender rights.

A Yukoner who had to fight for his rights as a trans man is raising concerns about the newly elected Liberal government’s stance on transgender rights.

“My overall assessment is that we were not considered in their platform,” Chase Blodgett told the News Thursday.

The Liberal platform doesn’t specifically mention issues trans people in the territory face.

It only says a Liberal government would “conduct a legislative, policy and practice review to ensure the Yukon government meets rules and social standards for LGBTQ non-discrimination.”

Transgendered people in the territory have registered a number of small victories over the past few years but that often required going through human rights complaints, which is a lengthy process.

Trans people are still some of the most vulnerable people in the territory, Blodgett said.

One of the longstanding request he and others have made is for the government to amend the Vital Statistics Act.

As it stands, Yukoners who want to change the gender on their birth certificates have to undergo sex reassignment surgery.

B.C., on the other hand, only requires a letter from a doctor to make the change.

The issue came to light when Yukoner Shaun LaDue fought to have his preferred gender on his driver’s license, which required him to show his birth certificate.

This year the Yukon changed its policy for driver licenses, allowing people to fill a separate form if they want it to have a gender other than what’s listed on their birth certificate.

But that didn’t solve the birth certificate issue.

The other pressing issue, Blodgett said, was for the government to amend the Human Rights Act to better protect transgendered people.

“Those are urgent matters,” he said.

Liberal leader and Premier-designate Sandy Silver committed to amend the Human Rights Act while in opposition.

In May 2015 he supported a motion asking the government to include gender identity and gender expression in the Human Rights Act as prohibited grounds for discrimination.

Both the Yukon Party and the NDP pledged to amend both the Vital Statistics Act and the Human Rights Act during this fall’s election campaign.

Last week the Liberals refused to comment on whether they plan to amend either act.

A spokesperson for the Liberal transition team told the News the party wouldn’t comment until the new government was sworn in.

Last week All Gender Yukon, a group exploring gender identity and expression, hosted a forum on trans, two-spirited and non-binary rights.

It was a success, Blodgett said, with Yukon government employees, health practitioners, and some politicians in attendance.

He said Silver emailed him before the forum, apologizing for not being able to attend.

“What is more important than the most vulnerable residents in the territory?” Blodgett asked.

“We’re running out of daylight after a two-year fight,” he said, referring to efforts to amend Yukon legislation.

Blodgett hopes the Yukon government will establish gender sensitivity training for its employees. The City of Whitehorse, he said, is already doing it.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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