Waterloo woman starts petition calling on Canada to provide asylum to trans and non-binary people
A Waterloo woman is the driving force behind a petition to help transgender and non-binary people around the world facing safety concerns in their home country. The petition asks that they be allowed to claim asylum in Canada.
Cait Glasson started the petition after learning about legal changes in the United States and United Kingdom that harm transgender and non-binary people.
“I picked a petition… as a means of directly approaching the government with something I feel is urgent and important,” she said. “The reality is, without urgent action, trans people will be losing their lives. I've lost too many [people] to let that keep going on.”
Glasson said since Canada already has Gender Expression and Gender Identity as part of the Human Rights Code, it’s a good country to offer asylum.
“Get the government to recognize that the U.S. and the U.K. are no longer safe countries for trans people,” she said.
Recently, many states in the U.S. have introduced or passed bills that ban gender affirming care for minors, including puberty blockers and hormone therapies.
Other U.S. states are also allowing people to misgender transgender people.
In the United Kingdom, the British government recently blocked a law that would have allowed easier access for people to legally change their genders.
“You’re seeing this wave of really anti-trans law that are aimed at morally mandating us out of existence,” Glasson said.
The petition is being supported by Mike Morrice, the Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre, who calls the legal changes in the U.S. and the U.K. “disconcerting.”
“As you all see some of these laws passing, like Nebraska and Oklahoma, this is a scary time for trans and non-binary folks in those places,” Morrice said. “Canada should always be a safe place for people who are feeling that their lives are in danger.”
The petition has gathered more than 24,000 signatures in less than a month.
Morrice said it’s the most of any petition that any MP across the country currently has open on the House of Commons website.
“I’m really inspired by how widely this has been shared and how quickly Canadians have responded, affirming that Canadians are wanting to stand up alongside trans and non-binary folks in places where laws that would criminalize gender affirming care are being discussed or even passed,” he said.
Rainbow Railroad, a non-profit organization that supports LGTBQ2S+ people who are being persecuted around the world, said it “unequivocally condemns the increase in persecution faced by trans communities worldwide. Through our work we see firsthand that LGBTQI+ asylum seekers experience unique and intersecting barriers to safe resettlement - and this is especially true for trans asylum seekers. Rainbow Railroad continues to advocate to the Canadian government for a flexible, LGBTQI+-specific refugee stream that can be responsive to international crises, and a direct referring partnership to allow Rainbow Railroad to refer its most vulnerable cases directly to safety in Canada.”
The petition can be signed until May 26. Morrice will then present the petition in the House of Commons. The federal government will have 45 days to respond.