trans rights Bill 2 Quebec systemic transphobia

Bill 2 would cement systemic transphobia in Quebec

The proposed legislation would scale back the existing right of trans Quebecers to change the sex on their birth certificates.

Last Thursday, Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette proposed changes to the province’s family law in the form of Bill 2 — a bill that would cement systemic transphobia in the province by actually scaling back trans rights and exposing trans Quebecers to further discrimination.

While Quebecers have been permitted to change the sex designation on birth certificates and other ID since 2015 — an arduous and expensive process — Bill 2 would amend the civil code to to restrict that right to people who’ve had bottom surgery. Those without surgery could request that the “sex” category be renamed as “gender,” and choose the gender that matches their identity. Therefore anyone holding a Quebec birth certificates marked “gender” in lieu of “sex” would automatically be outed.

The Quebec Liberal Party and Québec Solidaire have denounced the legislation as regressive, with the Liberals saying in a statement that Bill 2 could make transgender people in Quebec feel pressured and obligated to undergo surgery.

Trans rights advocacy groups Trans Estrie and the Centre for Gender Advocacy are already talking about legal challenges based on the bill’s violations of equality and privacy laws. LGBTIQ+ Family Coalition executive director Mona Greenbaum told the CBC that the bill opens the door to even more transphobia in the everyday life of trans Quebecers.

“A trans woman who hasn’t had surgery will still have an M for her sex and an F for her gender on her legal documents,” said Greenbaum.

“What that does is it puts that person in danger. You have a document that says you were born an M, but you became an F and you have to show that document to other people.

“It obliges you to make do with coming out, whether you want to or not.”

—Mona Greenbaum

Justice Minister Jolin-Barrette failed to (openly) recognize this as a step back for trans rights, claiming that it would “give people more options to self-identify on official documents.” This section of Bill 2 is a response to a Quebec Superior Court ruling earlier this year that suggested adding X to gender options alongside M and F. That ruling was viewed as a win for non-binary and trans Quebecers at the time.

The bill, which includes 300 articles, will be studied by a parliamentary committee and be subject to public hearings before it can be passed.

Quebec Liberal MNA Jennifer Maccarone and official opposition spokesperson for the LGBTQ2 community

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