Canada asked to consider giving asylum to trans people fleeing countries with transphobic laws

Justin Trudeau in front of a US flag

Tens of thousands of citizens have asked the government in Canada to turn the country into a safe haven for trans asylum seekers.

At the time of writing almost 30,000 people had signed a petition calling for new asylum rules for trans people.

“We, the undersigned residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to extend to transgender and non-binary people the right to claim asylum in Canada by reason of eliminationist laws in their home countries,” the petition states.

This includes what the petition deemed so-called Western democracies, “which have historically been presumed safe”.

The petition specifically calls out the UK, where prime minister Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering removing protections for trans people from the Equality Act.

It also mentions the US, noting that more than a dozen states have enacted or are considering anti-trans legislation.

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Recent findings from US legislative researchers found that at least 301 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been proposed there since the start of the year.

The petition was initiated by Ontario resident Caitlin Glasson on 26 January and quickly passed the 500 threshold required for a government response. It will be open for the signatures of Canadian citizens until 26 May.

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Signatories include Green Party politician Mike Morrice. “We had the minimum number of signatures in two hours,” he told the Toronto Star. “It is the top petition in the country open on the House of Commons’ website.”

Glasson told CTV News that she chose the petition as a means of directly approaching the government with “something [she] feels is urgent and important”.

She cited Canada’s generally positive track record with gender-affirming care and trans legislation, including gender expression as a protected characteristic in the human rights code.

“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.

“You’re seeing this wave of really anti-trans law that are aimed at morally mandating us out of existence.”

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