A transfeminist activist and jurist from Quebec has gone viral on Instagram for raising the alarm on a dangerous new anti-trans platform released by the People's Party of Canada.
Celeste Trianon's post has been shared almost 15,000 times and has garnered heated discussion, including nearly 400 comments.
The post, an eight-image gallery outlining the Maxime Bernier-led far-right party's policy on "radical gender ideology" in both English and French, warns of the PPC's eyebrow-raising platform. On its website, the PPC claims transgender people have an "evil agenda" and are planning to "destroy" society with the help of the "woke far left and all establishment parties."
The plan includes modifying the Criminal Code to outlaw the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and any form of bodily mutilation on minors with the goal of “transitioning” to another sex, as well as forbidding “biological men” from entering women’s bathrooms, shelters, prisons and change rooms.
It echoes similar moves taking place in the United States, including most publicly in Florida, which has been under the spotlight recently for passing several bills that directly target queer and trans communities.
These include a ban on sexual orientation and gender identity materials in classrooms, also known as the "Don't Say Gay" law, and a ban on transgender women and girls taking part in school sports consistent with their gender identity.
While some in the comments of Trianon's post downplay the threat of a party that has no elected seats, she warns that it's dangerous to be complacent.
"For those who say it's an American problem, it's not," Trianon tells Yahoo News Canada. "It's very local as well."
Trianon says this kind of policy sets an extremely dangerous precedent and directly targets the trans community.
“This is going to send a very strong message to Canadians that trans Canadians are not worthy of protection,” she says. “This is an anti-freedom policy from a party that’s promoted freedom for so long.”
When she posted about the PPC's policy on LinkedIn, the party responded in the comments, telling her to "read to whole statement before jumping to conclusions."
"They don't even think that this is anti-trans, which is the most horrifying part," she says. "They're not even aware of what they're doing."
Trianon says the PPC introducing this kind of platform is tapping into many people’s fears about gender non-conformity and gender roles by targeting an already marginalized group. She urges Canadians voting in the next election to do so with human rights at the top of mind.
“If you vote against human rights, you might be the next human targeted,” Trianon says.
While the PPC won no seats in the 2021 election — even leader Bernier could not win his Beauce riding — more than 840,000 Canadians voted for the party, almost 5 per cent of all votes. It had more than tripled its support from just two years prior.
This is going to send a very strong message to Canadians that trans Canadians are not worthy of protection.
Where do Canada's political parties stand on LGBTQ+ issues?
The anti-trans policy announcement from the PPC has some reexamining where the other main political parties stand on issues that impact the freedom and safety of the LGBTQ+ community.
Wilbur Turner is the chair and founder of Advocacy Canada, a Canadian advocacy group for queer and trans communities. He spoke to Yahoo Canada News about Canada's political parties' track records on LGBTQ+ issues.
On the NDP website, the party devotes an entire section to upholding LGBTQ+ rights, which includes increasing access to gender affirming procedures and medication.
Turner says the NDP have always been very supportive of the LGBTQ+ community.
“There’s definitely no concerns or question marks with regards to where they stand,” he says. “They’ve been supportive. Whenever there’s been a vote with regards to any kind of rights, like the bill to protect trans rights in the criminal code, they’ve always been in favour. They have a good track record of supporting the community.”
The Liberals' website highlights the party's record in fighting for LGBTQ+ rights throughout history, which includes decriminalizing homosexuality in 1969, and the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, which protects all Canadians from discrimination.
Turner credits the Liberals for having a “really great track record” on LGBTQ+ issues.
“They’ve done a lot of things to help out the community,” he says.
Turner says the Liberal government is loud on the world stage when it comes to rights being eroded in other countries, including Uganda, which recently signed one of the world’s most severe anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law.
However, he admits there are some things the Liberals promised that took a long time to get done, like a review of blood donation guidelines, which banned men who have sex with men from giving blood.
“There’s been lots of promises made and for the most part those have been kept,” Turner says. “(The Liberals) have been the ones supporting things that have changed, in terms of laws protecting trans people. We even saw the prime minster in his first year in office marching in pride parades.”
"There’s always more to be done," Turner adds. "Going back to what’s happening with regards to oppression and discrimination against the queer community, I think the Liberals need to step up and be very loud about this."
The Conservative's 2021 recovery plan, under then-leader Erin O'Toole, stressed the party's commitment to fundamental human rights. It vowed to advocate for persecuted sexual minorities and pledged that a Conservative government would "speak clearly and confidently for the inalienable human dignity of LGBTQ people and deploy resources to help their activists." The party promised to make the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Project a permanent government program.
However, Turner says he’d give the Conservatives a big question mark when it comes to their platform on LGBTQ+ issues, as a result of their mixed messages coming from within the party.
“Overall they have the message that they’re supportive, but then there are people in the party that behave otherwise, so it makes us very concerned if there was ever a Conservative government and it depends on who the leader is and what kind of voices they have in caucus to what might happen,” he says.
Some examples include:
Former leader Andrew Scheer refused to comment on his stance on same-sex marriage when leader of the party, even though he had spoken against it in the past.
62 Conservative party members voted against banning conversion therapy in the third reading of the bill in 2021.
Kelowna-Lake Country CPC MP lashed out at the LGBTQ+ community after being banned from attending Pride.
Turner says it’s a sign that the reality of what the queer and trans community faces isn’t always represented in those politicians, especially when party members have a long history of voting against any bills related to the LGBTQ+ community.
The Green Party states under its values section its respect for diversity, which includes "recognition of and respect for sexual minorities" and "equality between people of all genders in all spheres of social, economic, political and cultural life."
Turner says that although the Green party isn’t well represented across Canada, for the most part there hasn’t been anything from the party that causes him concern.
“I haven’t seen any red flags that would leave me alarmed,” he says.