Post to Rainbow Health Network Email List

May 23, 2008

This is something I posted to the Rainbow Health Network this morning.

I would like to take up Linda’s couple of questions” though first a few disclaimers.

Please bear with me because I’ve learned through bitter experience, even on this list, that formal credentials and qualifications, of which I have none—other than my entire life’s experience and struggle as a transsexual woman, through transition, human rights complaint, surgery and on into the rest/beginning of my life—have in my own community made me something of a pariah.

Not universally, but enough to render despair, even in the face of success, a lifelong companion who is reluctant to leave.

I do not pretend to understand all the lengthy tracts posted in response to current events or even the strength to read all of them, though I did read Drescher’s response and was, at first, mystified as Linda.

But then I realized, in many quarters of the various “communities”–in quotes because I’m unconvinced there are such things between and among GLBTTQ peoples—what happens to transgender and transsexual people really is an adjunct to the “larger” question. And with respect to surgery, we are, by definition, speaking of transsexual people.

I have written about some of these issues—and the way they impact organizations that purport to be allied with us here:

https://jessicalive.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/inconvenient-divisive-and-ultimately-unnecessary/

and here:

https://jessicalive.wordpress.com/2008/05/13/marginal-among-the-marginal/

It is really quite simple, Drescher is not speaking to trans “communities” at all; he is speaking to the “community” he believes matters—the gay and lesbian community.

It certainly does. But in all of our “communities” gay and lesbian people make up the overwhelming majority and in the majority/minority dynamic—which is inescapable—take on, and their organizations take on, even when they purport to be LGB(T), the very thing gay and lesbian people have struggled with—privilege.

When I discovered this at Egale Canada some years ago—when it was of some relevance to all of our “communities”–I was quite shocked. No longer.

The ‘complicated’ theory, journal reports and statistical support Zucker has amassed regarding the future development of gender-variant male-bodied children, leading to his assertion that most of us end up as gay, certainly leads me to believe his apparent fear—certainly the goal of his “therapy”–has little to do with us—i.e. transsexual people. Rather in his homophobia he has, as it seems Blanchard also has, completely erased our existence.

As I have pointed out elsewhere (link above) our lives, issues and struggles are just “inconvenient, divisive and ultimately unnecessary.”

All struggles for human rights and medical access are inconvenient, divisive and ultimately absolutely necessary—as long as one’s commitment to equality and dignity for all is profound and steadfast.

I exist.

We exist.

Deal.

And if these two “respected” clinicians, their supporters on the Clarke-Western axis–“axis of evil”(?)–cannot see us, well, this remains the problem it always has.

But, of course, they do not deal as so many others do not deal.

Totally excluded from the organizing taking place in Toronto on behalf of trans communities—as with ALL Toronto based “province-wide organizations”—I only know by report, rumour and word of mouth of the work the THLG/THRC, Susan Gapka et al, and the Trans PULSE Project have done. I’m grateful for their work but continue to wonder at how inconvenient the participation of someone who lives north of Steeles Avenue remains.

My point remains that despite good work being done by such organizations and individuals in Toronto and elsewhere, these things happen, when you get down to it, without our input–and not for trying.

In Ottawa, I’ve watched in some amazement as the Ottawa Citizen has called “transgendered people”–I truly HATE that umbrella term–“more marginal than drug addicts” as a passing swipe at Poilievre:

The Courage of Poilievre
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/editorials/story.html?id=f68e086c-6a0e-48b2-b67b-d20d70ab04a7

My own comments on Poilievre:
https://jessicalive.wordpress.com/2008/05/20/who-is-pierre-poilievre/

And despite my own efforts over recent years, it is simply inconvenient to establish even a “table”–which I believe is the term now current in social service circles for bodies to discuss matters of concern to various marginal populations. In Ottawa we have, for example, the Gay Men’s Wellness Initiative. A ‘trans services initiative’ is simply not yet in the cards.

On Tuesday, I emailed the office of my MP, Paul Dewar, Ottawa Centre NDP, to ask that he speak out against the absurd idiocy of Poilievre, not only as one of his many trans constituents but because the NDP, as a party, remains one I have worked with—I have worked with Bill Siksay for a number of years, whose response Gapka recently posted to this list—and, like many, assume it is the one most resonant with our issues, needs and struggles.

It is Friday morning and it is still silent.

As of this morning, the Egale Canada website remains silent, nor have we heard a word out of Helen Kennedy, Executive Director, who recently, gratuitously and in error indicated transgender and transsexual people in Canada have formal human rights. Only in North West Territories is this the case..

We may have human rights for LGBTQ people in Canada, but you’d never know it based on these results,” said Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale.

Two-Thirds Of Canadian LGBT Students Feel Unsafe At Schoolhttp://www.365gay.com/Newscon08/05/051208bul.htm

(Previously in the St. John’s Telegram)

Helen, you know better. Shame on you.

The Mikki Gilbert op-ed in yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen, at:

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=e7e297f9-9f2b-40fd-ad9d-4c64277f984c

is quite curious.

The picture at the center of the piece in the printed edition is the mirror reflection of a Thai katooey putting on her lipstick. Those of you who have read Namaste certainly know the classic error/diversion of such a display. And while I’m more than happy to accept the positive support of anyone, I can only wonder at the choice of someone whose situation in the transgender-transsexual spectrum is as a self-declared crossdresser, and as such a transgender not transsexual person, to speak for us.

Or above us. Or without us.

His life and struggle, certainly a part of any transgender/transsexual coalition—trans coalition—are not mine and I can no more understand his than he can mine. Make no mistake, I have always worked towards the human rights of all transgender and transsexual people though when it comes to questions of surgery—the goal of those whose lives from birth are dissonant in the extreme—the question raised by Smitherman’s recent announcement, where is the commentary from a transsexual person in anything other than a subsidiary manner? Letters to the editor, interviews, etc.

Too many do not see our lives and struggles when they consider the question of surgery, rather they see impacts on what gay and lesbian people have achieved—which certainly show us what can be achieved—but in their cissexual privilege do not see us.

This also raises issues of professionalization—discussed on this list—privilege, oppression, exclusion and alienation. All the daily fare of transgender and transsexual people.

I write today in great anger at my exclusion from these debates that have governed my life from the moment I was born—if not long before. I also write in great relief that now, post-op, there is little that bigotry, privilege, ignorance, prejudice, hate and even inconvenience can do to me with regard to the question of surgery, at least.

I am not certain about the future and wait for the time our voices are heard on matters that concern us, not others–except in their commitment to equality and dignity for all–and are positively responded to.

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Who is Pierre Poilievre. . .

May 20, 2008

and why is he saying these things about transsexual people?

And does it really matter?

In reaction to last week’s announcement of George Smitherman, the Ontario Minister of Health, that Ontario would again fund transsexual surgery, Pierre Poilievre, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Nepean-Carleton, declared:

“People are waiting too long for basic cancer treatment and MRIs and the Liberal government found money for the (Dalton) McGuinty sex-change program instead.” http://www.ottawasun.com/News/National/2008/05/20/5613551-sun.html

He has also said:

“I think if people want this medically unnecessary treatment, they have that right. But taxpayers should not have to pick up the tab for it,” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080520.wsexchange20/BNStory/National/home __._

It is always nice to be caught in a political crossfire, especially by one of the Conservatives’ pit bulls. There is an interesting entry in Wikepedia at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Poilievre

He never misses an opportunity to take partisan or personal advantage, especially when he thinks no one will notice or that those he attacks are so marginal that no one will care–or notice.

He was one of those MP’s who opposed equal marriage, though in his speech to the House of Commons he espoused “the Canadian way: respect and tolerance” calling for all the trappings of marriage for gay and lesbian people but not the name. The rest of his speech can be viewed on the Canadians for Equal Marriage website at:

http://www.equal-marriage.ca/resource.php?id=322

Though I wonder where his ‘respect and tolerance’ is for those of us who are even more marginal than gay and lesbian people that even today there is nothing on the Egale Canada website on any aspect of this. But then, the Executive Director of Egale Canada has recently declared that transgender and transsexual Canadians have formal human rights–when she knows this is simply not true, except in the North West Territories.

It is clearly in this void that statements of such ignorant hate and prejudice can be spoken.

It is darkly amusing that Poilievre calls it the ” McGuinty sex-change program” considering McGuinty really wants nothing to do with transsexuals either. In 2003, Dalton McGuinty announced that SRS was “not a priority,” said Susan Gapka, the head of the Trans Human Rights Campaign and the Trans Health Lobby Group on the Xtra.ca website, and would not be re-listed. See:

http://www.xtra.ca/public/viewstory.aspx?AFF_TYPE=1&STORY_ID=4786&PUB_TEMPLATE_ID=2

It is even more interesting that in 2004 Smitherman was on the verge of announcing the relisting of transsexual surgery when Dalton McGuinty, the Premier got wind of it through a story on the Osprey News Service Wire and issued a press release only hours before his Health Minister was to make his announcement.

See: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/print/CTVNews/20040527/ont_sexchange_040527/20040527/?hub=Health&subhub=PrintStory

Rumour certainly had it that, unlike the bare bones program expected from the current initiative–simply a return to the way it was in 1998 when Mike Harris’ reactionary Conservatives first delisted electrolysis and then surgery completely–the 2004 initiative, developed in part in discussions with Gapka and the Trans Health Lobby Group (THLG), was much more.

Long standing demands of the THLG state the program must be community based and include coverage for hormones, hair removal and counseling.

See: http://www.rainbowhealthnetwork.ca/transhealth

Also see the website of the Trans Human Rights Campaign at: http://www.transhumanrightscampaign.org/

The former program seemed to make the same assumptions Poilievre makes, that transsexual people are well enough off to afford much of their treatment for their own disability–unlike most other marginal people.

Some transsexual people are indeed well off and can afford, on their own, significantly more than the basic surgery. Many transsexual people live in abject poverty. Transsexual women, according to the AIDS Committee of Ottawa are at the highest risk for HIV/AIDS, surpassing even gay men. It is evidence of this greatest marginalization that this fact is quite ignored and raises gales of indignant rebuttal from those who certainly ought to know better.

Some of us are in the middle and in some ways are even more invisible.

In my own case, I spent over $5000 on beard removal and hormones in one year–it was a great financial burden, though I was able to claim a tax credit for all of it which helped some.

I was only able to afford surgery because of the settlement of a human rights complaint.

But to return to Pierre Poilievre and his typically ignorant bravado declaring he will write to Jim Flaherty, the Federal Finance Minister–and a member of Poilievre’s Conservative Party–asking for assurances the federal government won’t fund this ‘medically unnecessary’ procedure.

There is even the possibility Flaherty might also indulge in his own bravado–as part of an ongoing criticism of the Liberal party that makes up the Ontario government. But bravado and bluster is all that it will be.

The Canada Health Act which is the federal legislation governing the way federal money moves to the provinces simply does not define what “medically necessary services” are and despite this great achievement of former federal Liberal Health Minister Monique Begin it is unlikely this government, any more than any previous one, would actually infringe upon a province’s discretion.

In my conversations with Bill Siksay, the NDP MP who is the author of a private member’s bill to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity and gender expression (GI/E) and another private member’s bill to amend the Criminal Code provisions on hate crimes and sentencing directives also to include GI/E, he has made it clear it is not within longstanding tradition to dictate to provinces either to include something as “medically necessary” or to exclude it. And is not something he will attempt.

Sadly.

Smitherman’s press secretary, Laurel Ostfield, is quoted in a Canadian Press story in the Toronto Globe and Mail today:

“This sexual reassignment surgery is regarded amongst the mental health community as a necessary treatment for a very small number of individuals,” she said.

“It is listed in other provinces, such as Alberta. So, if Mr. Poilievre wants to play politics with people’s health, it’s really rather unfortunate.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080520.wsexchange20/BNStory/National/home __._,_._

fresaffcxc

For those even slightly in the loop–such as myself–there is little question the current initiative will be nothing more than what was and that hopes for the positioning of the Sherbourne Clinic–which specializes in trans health, is trans-positive and employs many trans people–as the gatekeeper instead of the old Clarke, now the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the home of both Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard, are unlikely to be answered.

There are more than a few ripples going through our communities today and there will be some response in the media in coming days.

However, as with so much concerning us, this seems not really to affect the inevitability of things–even, in this case, the inevitability of something positive.

But then that is the definition of marginalization in society. Whether the stupid statements of someone like Pierre Poilievere or the Executive Director of Egale Canada.ttle

Quite frankly, I’m so glad I’m now beyond what a Ken Zucker, Ray Blanchard, Pierre Poilievre, or the Executive Director of Egale Canada can do–or not do.

Even though it still mightily offends my sense of what is right and what is wrong–and if anyone actually asked for my help, I would be glad to give it. Though in these communities, that is a long shot at best.

————————————————————————

More on Pierre Poilievre

https://jessicalive.wordpress.com/2008/05/26/more-on-pierre-poilievre/


Inconvenient, Divisive and Ultimately Unnecessary

May 19, 2008

In this blog, I am what Autumn Sandeen has recently described as being a bad tranny.

I will criticize the way some lesbian and gay people, particularly those in positions of power in Egale Canada (and Canadians for Equal Marriage), have responded to the demands of transgender and transsexual people for equal voice and equal resources to fight for those goals long accepted by this very organization.

Egale Canada advances equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified people, and their families, across Canada. (http://www.egale.ca/)

This is the mandate of Egale Canada as taken from its website.

If Egale Canada, its staff and board had ever been truly committed to its avowed goal, as declared in their mandate, this blog might well have been an act self-destructive to the goals I espoused while a volunteer there–and probably would have never been written.

They never were.

And because of this Egale Canada is now irrelevant not only to transgender and transsexual people but also to gay, lesbian and bisexual people because it never heeded the future.

Sadly, it never had to be this way.

The title of this blog was the phrase the former Executive Director of Egale Canada gave when asked why Egale Canada and Canadians For Equal Marriage would not refer to transgender and transsexual people (trans people for short) with equal profile nor afforded comparable resources as gay and lesbian people.

Later he denied using this phrase–though I suspect his earlier candor gave way to something else. But even if this was a case of cryptonesia on my part (remembering something that never happened), it is still the most apt description of the attitude of Egale Canada–and many gay and lesbian people to this day–even when it has proven self-destructive to Egale Canada.

I was not the only one who predicted this. None of us were heard.

His rationale, and I remain grateful for it, is quite simple.

For an organization based upon the struggles of gay and lesbian people and sexual orientation, which is the defining characteristic of gay and lesbian people, the development of another message based not on orientation would clearly be inconvenient–even if it is the right thing to do.

How can they change direction after all this time? How can we ask them to give up a winning formula–even/especially when it has won what it set out to win?

There is also an assumption that media will never be able to understand those other than gay and lesbian people who are marginal and are struggling for the same recognition. That this assumption has never been tested seems not to have impinged upon this attitude.

Such a different message would clearly be divisive because the unity of the/their movement is based upon their self-defined oneness as those who love people of the same sex–the definition of themselves through whom they are attracted to.

Certainly, there is an internal/spiritual component to this, but the decision was made long ago that the most convenient way to achieve oneness was to concentrate on the notion of relationships and upon those who are the least offensive to straight people–regardless of need.

So, this became a movement that has historically thrown overboard all those who do not conform with this notion of oneness–and inoffensiveness–that has expelled not only transgender and transsexual people in its quest for acceptance as just another, slight, variant of straight.

Such a different message is clearly divisive.

Why has it proven impossible even to conceive of a movement inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity and gender expression? Why has the power of imagination of these long time warriors now failed? What is the possible future for an organization whose leaders no longer have the ability to see the future?

There were many internal criticisms of the images long associated with equal marriage–which in its origins, as once posted to the equal marriage website, was clearly limited to gay and lesbian people–which never included people of colour nor those not of middle-class or middle age.

All of us excluded from the equal marriage campaign are clearly far more marginal than white, middle-class, middle age gay and lesbian people.

This is an attitude only possible for those who have achieved more than a little comfort and more than a little affluence.

Ultimately, it is quite unnecessary to include transgender and transsexual people because, ultimately we will come out as gay or lesbian and once we so identify all these gay and lesbian only policies will apply to us and we will naturally accept their professional leadership.

Over the years gay and lesbian people have developed professional skills and personalities that once upon a time they did not have and might have been criticized by straight people for not having them yet wanting to do what ‘only professionals can do’–and gay and lesbian people responded that they were homophobic.

This is precisely where transgender and transsexual people now are–though we dare not respond that they are transphobic.

There is a certain arrogance to this position because it conveniently erases the concerns transgender and transsexual people have before they ever get to the point of being able to come out as gay or lesbian. How the hell can we have a sexual orientation when we don’t have a sex/gender from which to have orientation?

(I remain unconvinced that, even post-op, my understanding of sex/gender and orientation will ever be the same as any cissexual person.)

And where do our health needs come in that are not those of gay and lesbian people?

And where do our human rights come in? Despite routine misinformation transgender and transsexual people do not have formal, explicit human rights anywhere in Canada–except North West Territories.

And what about those transgender and transsexual people who are not gay or lesbian? Where do they fit in? Do they fit in with sexual orientation?

And for that matter where do gender-variant gay and lesbian people fit in? Is their gender expression covered by sexual orientation?

All of this places transgender and transsexual people much further to the margins than gay and lesbian people.

At the moment the Civil Marriage Act–the law that recognizes the marriage of any two people, regardless of sex/gender, though this was never used as a basis for public messaging–was passed into law in mid-2005, Egale Canada noticed a precipitous drop in fundraising–because, obviously, many people had achieved their goal and were no longer interested in what some felt was exorbitant demands for money from both Canadians for Equal Marriage and Egale Canada. They tag teamed the same fundraising lists every month.

And they were simply not interested in the needs of those more marginal than themselves.

I, among others, pointed this out to the then ED but he was, at the time, unconcerned.

Egale Canada entered a funding crisis it has never escaped. This was the beginning of the downsizing of staff and office space, of its profile and of its relevance to anyone.

During my involvement, I was not the only person who advocated for Egale Canada to take up the cause of transgender and transsexual people. This would have been a good thing not only because it is right and that Egale Canada had long committed itself to this–though the then ED admitted he had been unaware of this long policy history until I pointed it out–but because it is the future.

It would have positioned Egale Canada to benefit from the inevitable rise in the profile of transgender and transsexual people as the awareness that it is our human rights that are the last frontier among marginal people–and it is/was the best way for Egale Canada to continue its institutional existence.

Sadly, this never happened.

I have read on the xtra.ca website that Egale Canada is gearing up for a big campaign on trans issues this fall. However, true to its politburo style, no one seems to have heard anything about this–or been invited to help.

Yet there is at this moment not even a press release on the recent declaration of the Ontario Minister of Health that transsexual surgery will be relisted under Ontario medicare. True to long standing form, not even this is possible. Anyway, such a release would itself be inconvenient, divisive and ultimately, of course, unnecessary.

What can be said of the commitment of an organization which would rather remain true to its past glories than advocate for the ‘equality and justice’ of those most marginal in society–and in its mandate–or even take the necessary steps to maintain its institutional existence?

The best that can be said of those gay and lesbian people facing the past is that they were long-time warriors for their cause with a warrior’s focus on their own struggles.

I would have been proud to continue my work with Egale Canada–my application for the board of directors was sat on for 3 years–to continue its best traditions.

I no longer regret I won’t have that opportunity.


Trans Rights Are Human Rights

May 14, 2008

Riding up Bank St here in Ottawa this afternoon, past the Canadian Union of Postal Employees (CUPW) storefront, I saw two huge banners–in their even bigger street facing window–in English and in French shouting out for all to see:

TRANS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS

It is the slogan of the Trans Human Rights Campaign here in Ontario to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity. To effect this change the current vehicle is Toby’s Law–though only yet a private member’s bill in the Ontario Legislature.

I let out a yelp of joy–I’m sure no one on the bus realized why I was so excited.

And yes, I am SO excited.

The world has changed.

Over the few years I’ve been an advocate for trans people, I’ve known so many who will, in private, express their support but manage not to give public voice to it.

One candidate for the New Democratic Party (NDP) nomination to run for Parliament in my riding in the last federal election spoke movingly about the power of coming out as a gay man in his speech. And yet he responded to my email asking if he supported amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity and gender expression (GI/E) by saying he would never say this in public. None of the other candidates were that blunt.

Fortunately, he never did win the nomination.

The outgoing Member of Parliament–Ed Broadbent, a former leader of the NDP–in his speech to the meeting mentioned “all sexual orientations” but said nothing about GI/E, as if sexual orientation said it all–clearly a common misconception and sometimes intention.

One non-candidate for the nomination who gave a speech actually said “all sexual orientations and gender identities.” I went up to her after the speeches and thanked her–I always do this when people declare themselves because it is so rare and so wonderful; she didn’t think it was anything special.

And it shouldn’t be.

I have always why wondered those who present themselves as champions of the marginal and excluded are so unaware and/or unwilling to break the silence about those who remain excluded from the formal articulation of their human rights, probably the last marginal people who are–and as a consequence of this silence remain among the most marginal in society.

In my own case, I know precisely why I was silent–for 40 years.

I was ashamed.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s it was part of the very fabric of my being that I could not speak this. People coming along now do not understand how effectively this shame was transmitted, especially to male-bodied children. There was no time when I did not know this shame and the reason why.

No words were needed.

As an adult it took 12 years of therapy–for depression, of course–before I could say the words. And although my psychiatrist had never worked with a transsexual person before, he knew me more than well enough by this time that he gave me my first diagnosis on the spot. Within the year I went to the only doctor in Ottawa who prescribes hormones and the rest is history.

For myself, I realized that to get the words out was quite simply to change the world.

Reflecting, I realized this is the flipside of cissexual privilege and why the world remains silent about people like me and I learned a truth about privilege and its flipside, oppression.

I had expected all gay and lesbian people and their organizations–and especially when they adopt the T–to understand this in a way those who share in the privilege of white, middle-class, heterosexuality just don’t. That they would have examined privilege and understand that, as I now do, it is not so much a stagnant body of water it is, like oppression, a series of cascades.

And that we are all quite capable of it.

I know I am.

But how can they be silent? Or worse, speak what is clearly not true? Is it shame, that maybe if they acknowledge that GI/E is different from sexual orientation they will lose their status in society? And be reviled as so many trans people are?

Or that as individuals they will lose their positions, income and personal privilege? This is not, of course, shame. It is inconvenience.

The struggle for human rights is not convenient and it is certainly divisive.

But on whose side will you be counted?

On the posters on the windows of the CUPW storefront are big, beautiful butterflies.

This has become more and more a symbol used by those few who serve our communities. When recently in Montreal for surgery, I noticed that Dr. Pierre Brassard–pretty much one of the very best, if not the best in the world–uses it. As does Helma Seidl the gender specialist, actually better described as a transition assistant here in Ottawa who has helped me through so much.

Through transition and even more so now post-op and through all the truly metamorphic changes in my life I know that even while their convenient silence continues to offend my sense of right, it can no longer shame or harm me in any way.

I don’t need them. And more importantly, we don’t need them.

The world is dividing into those who are right and those who are wrong. The die is cast.

The divisions will be clear for all to see and the excuse “It was inconvenient” will take its place in history with “I was only following orders.”

TRANS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS


Marginal Among the Marginal

May 13, 2008

Transgender and transsexual people do NOT have formal human rights anywhere in Canada except for North West Territories; that NWT does was one of Egale Canada’s most spectacular, if little known, lobbying successes.

This seems to be common misinformation since same-sex marriage became the law of the land–Canadians for Equal Marriage made this error in its last press release; the Ottawa Pride Committee made this same error in its Official Pride Guide at the same time.

All these organizations certainly ought to know better.

An argument can be made that having sexual orientation in federal, provincial and territorial human rights law is meaningless–but I have not heard that message very clearly articulated. Nor have I ever heard any call for removing sexual orientation from these laws.

This is significantly worse for the most marginal of “LGBTQ people in Canada” (no formal human rights is fundamental evidence of this greater marginalization) than the usual silence as it persuades those who might otherwise join in the struggle there is no longer any need.

And it casts those of us who have long been deeply concerned with this and stood up for our human rights–as gay and lesbian people long have and long been our inspiration–as crazy liars and “justifiably” silenced.

It is difficult to understand how one who has signed a letter of support for Toby’s Law–Cheri di Novi’s private member’s bill in the Ontario Legislature to add gender identity to the Ontario Human Rights Code–could make this casual error.

After the purges of transactivists from committees–and expulsion from membership–the secret abolition of the Trans Issues Committee, the retreat from the federal jurisdiction and abandonment of long standing policy to lobby for the amendment of the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity and gender expression and abandonment of the policy to bring over the supporters of same-sex marriage to support this, what are the transgender and transsexual people of Canada to believe about Egale Canada, its staff and Board of Directors?

What are all those whose commitment to equality and dignity for all is profound and steadfast to think?

Is it really so inconvenient and divisive to acknowledge that gender identity and gender expression ARE different from sexual orientation, that they have no necessary connection to sexual orientation and that the message must be different and must be just as loud, clear and long lasting as the message, and the struggle that followed from it, that placed sexual orientation into legislation–and for precisely the same reasons?

I have always wondered why Egale Canada has never had the political will to work with transgender and transsexual people to craft this message and work with us on this necessary long term struggle..

We have watched virtually all American LGB, LGBT, and T organizations come out loudly and proudly from an inclusive ENDA because of their profound belief that T’s are not parasites on the work of the G’s and L’s, but have been part of the same movement from the beginning and that there is no true equality while some of us remain excluded because it is just inconvenient to include us.

(Except for the Human Rights Campaign.)

Can we as Canadians do any less? It certainly seems so.

Two-Thirds Of Canadian LGBT Students Feel Unsafe At Schoolhttp://www.365gay.com/Newscon08/05/051208bul.htm

“We may have human rights for LGBTQ people in Canada, but you’d never know it based on these results,” said Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale.