Trans rights bill promises a better future for Montreal family
Published Tuesday, June 20, 2017 9:11PM EDT
For Kimberley Manning, the recent passing of a bill providing protection under the law to Canada’s transgender and gender-fluid communities marks the end of a fight for her daughter’s future.
Bill C-16, which was passed by the Canadian Senate on Thursday, bans discrimination against people based on gender identity or expression and gives them protection from hate speech. On Monday, it was given royal assent, making it an official part of Canadian law.
In May, Manning testified before a Senate committee in favour of the law.
“To be there and to be able to speak and participate was quite extraordinary,” she said.
Her passion for the bill stems from her fierce protectiveness towards her daughter Florence, an 11-year-old who has known since a young age she was meant to be female.
“I was definitely fighting for my child but we’ve been very fortunate so far in our capacity to create safe and affirming environments around our daughter,” she said.
The family was in Ottawa for the vote.
“The moment just before it passed, when they were voting on it, I was just squeezing my mom’s hand so tight,” said Florence.
Now, the whole family is looking forward to a future that they hope will be more inclusive and more understand of people like Florence. It’s also taught them lessons about themselves.
“It’s taught me a lot about listening. It’s taught me a lot about how political movements work, the role of emotion in political movements like this,” said Manning. “It’s completely changed my life.”
To stand on the threshold of history has been quite the experience for Florence herself.
“To be 11-years-old and be able to watch your country take this step is quite extraordinary,” she said.
For Manning, the successful passing of the legislation was the culmination of a two-year fight but she said she’s grateful towards a community that has been battling for recognition for much longer.
“There have been trans activists who have been working on this issue for 15 years or 20 years,” she said. “To have the opportunity to participate in this forum was very humbling.”