Critics blast Rob Anders for saying transgendered rights bill would endanger children
Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, October 4, 2012 7:16PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 4, 2012 7:44PM EDT
Conservative MP Rob Anders is under fire once again for launching a petition against a bill that he says would give transgendered men access to women’s public washrooms.
Bill C-279, a private member’s bill sponsored by NDP MP Randall Garrison, aims to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to give groups based on gender identity and gender expression protection from discrimination.
But Anders and other critics have dubbed it the “Bathroom Bill.”
“Its goal is to give transgendered men access to women’s public washroom facilities,” Anders said on his website, calling on other MPs to vote against the bill.
“And it is the duty of the House of Commons to protect and safeguard our children from any exposure and harm that will come from giving a man access to women’s public washroom facilities.”
Transgender advocates and rights groups denounced Anders’ petition Thursday, saying it promotes fear-mongering and further marginalization of transgendered people.
“Clearly Mr. Anders is misinformed about the importance of Bill C-279,” said Susan Gapka, chair of the Trans Lobby Group.
“Trans people have been going to the washroom since the beginning of time.”
Gapka said Anders’ “fear-mongering, storytelling and myth-making” shows why the bill, which passed second reading, needs to become law.
Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale, a national LGBT rights organization, said the petition is “ignorant” and “ill-informed.”
“The bill is about basic human rights for all members of Canadian society,” she told CTVNews.ca.
“When you look at trans people in Canada, they have limited access to health care, housing, employment, education and they have no protections under the Canadian Human Rights Act.”
Andrea Houston, an activist and reporter with Toronto-based Xtra, said Anders and other critics of Bill C-279 “want to make trans people out to be some kind of sexual predators and that is just as disrespectful as it is insulting.”
“This is playing into people’s fears, particularly parents and right wing conservative groups and religious people who for whatever reason just don’t understand trans people, don’t know any gender non-conforming people or have already made up their minds on this issue,” she said in an interview with CTVNews.ca.
Anders made headlines earlier this week after he told iPolitics that Thomas Mulcair had hastened former NDP leader Jack Layton’s death by pressuring him to campaign harder than he normally would have during the last federal election.
Layton was ill with cancer at the time, and died a few months after the election.
Anders later apologized for the comments.
Houston said Anders needs to be held accountable for his comments about transgendered people as well.
“I don’t believe that he gets to play the stupid card,” she said. “He’s an elected official and he has a portfolio and has a vote. He’s held to the same standard as every other MP in the House.”