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By Amber Randall
Canadian feminists are fighting a transgender bill that would potentially allow transgenders to enter spaces reserved for women.
Two feminist activists believe Bill C-16 will negatively affect women’s spaces, like rape centers. Under Bill C-16, which would update the Canadian Human Rights Act, it would be illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression.”
“We are worried that this well-intentioned legislation will be used to undermine the rights of women and the crucial work of women’s groups,” Hilla Kerner,a Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter member, said to a committee.
Another feminist activist said the bill’s language makes it seem that a person can just choose their own gender at will.
“This language is a big problem because it treats gender as a personal choice. It treats gender as though it’s the clothes that I wear or my makeup or my behaviour or the way we sit,” Meghan Murphy, founder of the website Feminist Current, said to senators.
Kerner added that her rape center only allows “female-born” people because women usually want to be surrounded by women who can relate to their experiences.
“Female-born women and people who were born male and self-identify as women have different life experiences. I don’t know what it means to ‘feel like a woman’ — I know what it is to be a girl and to be a woman, and the experiences and the feelings I have because I am a woman,” Kerner explained.
A Christian group and a feminist group recently joined up to fight a transgender bill in the United States. The Family Policy Alliance and the Women’s Liberation Front both fought an Obama administration mandate that allowed transgenders into the bathroom of their choice. (RELATED:Christians And Feminists Band Together To Fight Obama’s Transgender Policy)
“How wrong does something need to be for a Christian family group, and a radical feminist group, to take their argument together to the Supreme Court?” Autumn Leva, the leader of the Women’s Liberation Front, said.