Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee and Minister of Education and Minister responsible for the Women and Gender Equity Directorate Jeanie McLean have issued the following statement:
“Every year on November 20, we observe Transgender Day of Remembrance. On this day, we mourn and remember transgender people whose lives were lost to violence and rededicate our efforts to ensure that transgender, Two-Spirit+, and gender non-conforming people are able to live life to the fullest, without experiencing hate, discrimination, abuse or violence.
“Unfortunately, transgender, Two-Spirit+ and gender non-conforming people continue to face significantly higher risk of violence and abuse. Transgender women of colour experience the highest rates of gender-based violence compared to any other group in our society. The abuse and violence they face is rooted in the intersection of racism, transphobia and misogyny.
“Recently in Canada, we have seen a surge in legislation and political agendas that target the rights of the transgender people and undermine the safety of transgender community. Those pushing such discriminatory policies targeting transgender rights are responsible for creating a climate of intolerance and exclusion that encourages acts of discrimination, abuse and violence toward the transgender community.
“In 2021, our government made a commitment through the LGBTQ2S+ Inclusion Action Plan to work with 2SLGBTQIA+ community in the territory to ensure they can enjoy the same rights, representation and access to services that many of us take for granted. We continue to stand by our words. One of the ways we support and celebrate the diversity of students in Yukon schools is through the implementation of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Policy (SOGI). This policy promotes the rights of all students in their acceptance and expression of their sexual orientation and gender identity. It also ensures school initiatives champion equality and non-discrimination and the collective responsibility of adults to identify and respond to discriminatory attitudes and behaviours. This policy focuses on the inclusion and equality of transgender youth and the 2SLBGTQIA+ community as a whole.
“Schools have access to SOGI resources that support the delivery of the curriculum in inclusive ways. Prejudice and discrimination are often based on fear, ignorance and negative stereotyping. When students have a better understanding of what it means to be 2SLGBTQIA+, they are less likely to experience bullying or bully their peers. SOGI resources also provide teachers with the tools they need to create and promote inclusive classroom environments.
“Together, through education and collaboration, we can work towards a more equitable and more inclusive society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, where we celebrate transgender people for their achievements and contributions, rather than mourning their deaths. While we have much to celebrate in the Yukon when it comes to inclusion, diversity and implementation of our LGBTQ2S+ Inclusion Action Plan, Transgender Day of Remembrance remains a solemn day and a day of reflection on lives unnecessarily cut short due to violence and hate.
“We know this is a challenging day for many and we encourage you to reach out for help if you need support:
“Canadian Mental Health Association Yukon Reach Out Support Line (operates from 2 pm to 10 pm daily): 1-844-533-3030
“Kids Help Phone (Online or phone help line for youth and young adults): kidshelpphone.ca
“Contact information for support lines can be also found on Queer Yukon website. Tonight at 5 pm, Queer Yukon will be hosting a vigil at their headquarters for those seeking to gather and show their support.”