News / Saskatoon

Social media campaign #Time4Rights promotes transgender equality in Saskatchewan

The question is simple: Why do you support transgender rights?

Since members of the Gender Equality Society of Saskatchewan (GESS) launched the Time4Rights campaign in December, they have been asking people through social media to send in their answers along with a self-portrait.

“We’ve had lots of pictures coming through on our Facebook group, so much so that I haven’t been able to keep up with transferring them over to our Instagram,” said founder Mikayla Schultz, a trans woman from Regina.

“The response has been overwhelming.”

Schultz explained the movement is calling for wording to be placed into the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code protecting people of all gender identities and expressions from discrimination.

There are already six provinces and territories – Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, P.E.I., Ontario, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories – that have this kind of legislation in place, she added.

“Now is the time,” said Schultz.

While she said there is Canadian case law to set precedent for certain segments of the trans community including medically transitioning transsexuals, according to Schultz the language in the Saskatchewan code doesn’t go far enough.

For example, she said, there is no mention of those who identify as intersex, or those who appear to be one gender but express themselves as another.

“There’s lots of uncertainty,” said Schultz.

Many trans people in the province feel isolated from the rest of society, she said, which is where the social media comes into play.

“A lot of our efforts are kind of hiding behind the computer monitor,” she said.

But Justice Minister Gordon Wyant says the legislation is fine as is.

He said in an emailed statement to Metro that after consulting with officials from the Ministry of Justice as well as the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, he is confident the existing wording “protects against discrimination to transgendered persons under the grounds of sex and/or gender.”

“I do not believe the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code needs to be amended to protect transgendered persons, as it already serves that function,” said Wyant.

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