Beyond 'He' or 'She': The Changing Meaning of Gender and Sexuality

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The OHRC has also been actively litigating cases related to gender identity. Ontario Government and Consumer Services[2] a case that dealt with requirements for transgender people to change the sex-designation on their birth certificates. Peel Regional Municipality Police Services Board et alwhich dealt with how police services search transsexual detainees, [3] and in Hogan v.

Ontario Health and Long-Term Care dealing with access to sex reassignment surgery services. Inthe OHRC did a literature review revealing a wealth of information on how gender identity and human rights is understood from a variety of perspectives. We received more than responses to the survey from members of the public as well as community services organizations, educators, unions and employers.

OHRC staff also conducted one-on-one interviews with a range of individuals and organizations to explore issues in depth and to identify individuals and groups who could take part in future outreach and education activity. The following sections outline the questions we asked and some of the responses we received. The Code does not define the grounds of gender identity, gender expression or sex.

Instead, the understanding of these and other related terms, and the implications for the Code and OHRC policies, is evolving from tribunal and court decisions, social science research as well as self-identity and common everyday use.

Like any other words describing individual characteristics, the language we use is deeply personal, and it changes over time. To guide us in the best choice of language for the policy, we asked survey participants to comment on a series of draft descriptions. Here is a sample of the different comments we received for each term.

Research, media reports and human rights case law show that transgender people experience negative stereotypes, discrimination and harassment that have a pervasive and often traumatic impact on many aspects of their daily lives. For trans people, some of the fundamental things that many people take for granted, like jobs, housing and the problem with binaries coding for gender and sexuality life, are potentially at risk because they identify as trans or are seen to be trans.

We asked people to tell us their experiences of discrimination and harassment, and to offer ideas on what can be done about it. Skip to main content Skip to global navigation Skip to footer. Understanding the new grounds The Code does not define the grounds of gender identity, gender expression or sex. This signals profound discomfort with the idea the problem with binaries coding for gender and sexuality self-identification for this group — should not be part of the definition Recognize gender fluidity, not just people who conform to binary vision of gender Some think both grounds apply to everyone, others think that gender expression applies to everyone regardless of trans identity Some trans people simply want to be recognized as the gender they identify with e.

Others have gender the problem with binaries coding for gender and sexuality outside the binary — trans, gender non-conforming, etc. Important for descriptions to have a non-medicalized approach. What does gender identity look like? The idea that because there are two sexes there have to be two genders Should include masculine, feminine, androgynous and outside of these the problem with binaries coding for gender and sexuality — not only binary folk have or express a gender.

Transphobia Not just fear and hatred — also unexamined biases Irrational fear, hatred and intolerance Remove irrational — is subjective — many people noted this. They also may be HIV positive, and face stigma because of this, as well as HIV non-disclosure charges Discrimination contributes to poverty and lack of housing, then trans people often face further barriers and discrimination when trying to access services e.

Often they may be deported back to countries that actively discriminate, and provide no protection from violence and hate crimes. Trans women are often targeted by the problem with binaries coding for gender and sexuality — for frisks and stops, and their reports of harassment or sexual harassment are not taken seriously Ability to travel is severely affected — harassment by border officials, asked invasive personal questions about their gender and sex.

Employment — harassment and penalties including firing because of trans identity, although it may not always be obviously so i. Housing can be difficult to access — a lot of subtle discrimination. Public education — campaigns — legal requirements and rights. Show trans people as positive, contributing members of society Education in public schools is important — teachers and administrators etc.

Decriminalize sex work and HIV non-disclosure Eliminate requirements for a person to legally change their name to access services and be recognized in their lived gender identity Ensure complete ease in changing name and gender in all documents All official records, data collection and forms should use inclusive language. Policing of gender norms for all people is negative… change the culture Education — this should begin at an early the problem with binaries coding for gender and sexuality, in the public schools, etc.

Creating an easy way to change name, gender, etc. Providing health benefits Training for all staff — education for staff, management, unions, union representatives Ensuring people know how to file a complaint of harassment or discrimination Education about the Human Rights Codeand that the person is exercising their rights 4.

Allow easy changing of documents for any official purposes — e. Needs to be a system in place to address any harassment or uncooperation from other employees re: What about services that focus on women only? Miscellaneous comments Importance of broader public education — challenge heteronormative and cisnormative narratives Importance of changing media representations Need public and private sector leadership and role models Need for funding for trans-specific services, housing, employment, etc.

Attachments Attachment Size Backgrounder — Talking about gender identity and gender expression Backgrounder — Talking about gender identity and gender expression.

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