‘Regressive’ bill threatens to roll back trans rights for Canadians in Quebec

Quebec justice minister Simon Jolin-Barrette

A “regressive” bill is could roll back trans rights in Quebec, Canada, threatening trans folks’ “equality, dignity and personal integrity”.

Bill 2 was brought forward by Quebec justice minister Simon Jolin-Barrette on Thursday (21 October), according to CBC.

It aims to change Quebec’s civil code to require trans people to undergo surgery before being able to legally change their gender, and could even bring in separate sex and gender markers on government ID.

Trans Canadians in Quebec have been able to change their legal gender without surgery since 2015, and there are currently no other Canadian provinces that require surgery for legal recognition.

Some trans people do not see surgery as a necessary part of their transition, and others may be unable to access surgery.

Florence Ashley Paré, a doctoral student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law who specialises in cases relating to trans youth, told Global News: “This would absolutely make Quebec the most regressive in Canada for trans rights.”

“All other bills were about progress,” they added.

“This is an exceptional case where we would go back on rights… [It would also create] situations where people might get surgery they otherwise didn’t want just to meet the prerequisite from the government.”

The possibility of having separate markers for sex and gender on government-issued ID could also put trans folk at risk.

Executive director of the LGBTIQ+ Family Coalition Mona Greenbaum told CBC: “A trans woman who hasn’t had surgery will still have an M for her sex and an F for her gender on her legal documents.

“What that does is it puts that person in danger. You have a document that says you were born an M, but you became an F and you have to show that document to other people.

“It obliges you to make do with coming out, whether you want to or not.”

The bill cannot become law until it has gone through a parliamentary committee and public hearings, in which Quebec citizens will have their say on the changes to the civil code.