Episode 69: Transgender and Non-Binary Asylum Seekers in Canada
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Episode 69: Transgender and Non-Binary Asylum Seekers in Canada
Broadcast Date: September 7, 2023
In 1991, Canada was “the first country to accept refugee petitions based on persecution due to sexual orientation or gender identity.” Over the years, recognition of 2SLGBTQIA+ vulnerability has caused the number of sexual orientation and gender identity refugee claims to increase in the country. Does Canada’s identity as a safe haven allow for an easy entry system for these claimants? In this podcast, host Sarah Rowe addresses this question and more with guests Kelly Ernst and Jay De Santi.
- Kelly Ernst, PhD, Chief Program Officer, Centre for Newcomers; President, End of the Rainbow Foundation
Kelly Ernst is the Chief Program Officer at Centre for Newcomers in Calgary, Alberta and the President of the End of the Rainbow Foundation. He has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Calgary and additional education including from the Harvard Business School.
Kelly has more than 3 decades of human rights advocacy, education, and publishing associated most recently with his current roles, but also as Past-President of the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association, Senior Program Director at the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, and through many other board or professional positions. His work has included helping to press for legislation in Alberta to allow GSA’s in schools. It has led to various awards such as The Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal, 2020 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award, and the Alberta Civil Liberties Human Rights Award.
- Jay De Santi, BA (Hons), BCL/LLB, LLM, PhD student, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Barrister & Solicitor
Jay De Santi is a PhD student at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, where they previously completed their Master of Laws degree. Their doctoral research engages in a comparative project on rights protection regimes in the extradition systems of multiple common law states. Their research interests include the interaction between law and borders, including extradition and criminal law, the uses and limitations of rights protections, as well as the impacts of the law on trans people. They obtained their bachelor of laws/ bachelor of civil law from McGill University, and they are a member of the Law Society of Ontario.
- Sarah Rowe, J.D. Candidate, Faculty of Law – Common Law Section, University of Ottawa; Law Student, CIAJ
Sarah Rowe is a second-year law student at University of Ottawa interested in social justice issues related to health, immigration, and marginalized communities.
She was born and raised in St. John’s, NL and lived there for most of her 20s. She worked as lifeguard for 11 years from high school into her undergraduate degree and during her first-year of law school. She spent quite a bit of time abroad, including studying abroad in England, working abroad in France, and general travel around Europe, the United States, and Canada.
In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, running, biking, and going to the gym, as well as writing and playing music.
On anti-trans legislation in the United States and the United Kingdom:
- For a comprehensive look at all anti-trans legislation in the United States, see: https://translegislation.com/
- For a better understanding at the political dynamics underpinning this legislative onslaught, I would encourage people to listen to The Anti-Trans Hate Machine, a podcast hosted by journalist Imara Jones, available here: https://translash.org/antitranshatemachine/
- Cancelled event in Montana: https://nbcmontana.com/news/local/butte-library-cancels-transgender-speaker-event
- Dr Lady J, non-binary trans woman and drag queen, explaining drag bans’ role in the context of anti-trans laws: https://publicintegrity.org/inside-publici/newsletters/watchdog-newsletter/how-drag-bans-fit-into-larger-attacks-on-transgender-rights/
- On the “Full Faith and Credit” clause of the American Constitution: https://constitutioncenter.org/the-constitution/articles/article-iv/clauses/44
- Regarding Gender Recognition Acts in the United Kingdom: https://www.thepinknews.com/2020/09/22/gender-recognition-act-reform-liz-truss-announcement-self-id-trans-healthcare/
- On recent activities by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the United Kingdom regarding trans peoples’ human rights: https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxdzwn/ehrc-trans-rights-leaked-emails and https://www.vice.com/en/article/3ab5my/leaked-ehrc-guidance-trans-people-gender-recognition-certificates
- For a better understanding of the dynamics of anti-trans ideologies in the United Kingdom, Professor Grace Lavery recently reviewed the work of some of the philosophical leaders of the movement: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/gender-criticism-versus-gender-abolition-on-three-recent-books-about-gender/
On gender-affirming care for trans and gender diverse people:
- WPATH’s Standards of Care 8 are available here: https://doi.org/10.1080/26895269.2022.2100644
- Plain-language explainers on gender affirming care: https://healthlaw.org/gender-affirming-care-for-youth-is-good-health-care/ and https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/21/health/gender-affirming-care/index.html
- Information about the American Medical Association’s statement in support of gender affirming care for youth: https://www.endocrine.org/news-and-advocacy/news-room/2023/ama-gender-affirming-care
- WPATH statement in response to anti-trans legislation in the United States: https://www.wpath.org/media/cms/Documents/Public%20Policies/2023/USPATH_WPATH%20Statement%20re_%20GAHC%20march%208%202023.pdf
On Refugee Claims and Trans People in Canada’s Refugee Process:
- Trans woman asylum seeker and identity documents: https://globalnews.ca/news/7165883/transgender-refugee-immigration-canada/
- Information on Petition e-4268: https://xtramagazine.com/power/canada-trans-immigration-petition-245702
- IRB Chairperson’s Guideline 9: https://irb.gc.ca/en/legal-policy/policies/Pages/GuideDir09.aspx
- CBSA Detention Standards: https://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/security-securite/detent/standards-normes/menu-eng.html
- Information on the Safe Third Country Agreement: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/mandate/policies-operational-instructions-agreements/agreements/safe-third-country-agreement.html
- End of use of the Designated Countries of Origin List: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2019/05/canada-ends-the-designated-country-of-origin-practice.html
- Internal Flight Alternative: https://irb.gc.ca/en/legal-policy/legal-concepts/Pages/RefDef08.aspx
- Professor Sean Rehaag’s work on sexual minority refugee claimants: (1) Sean Rehaag, “Patrolling the Borders of Sexual Orientation: Bisexual Refugee Claims in Canada” (2008) 53 McGill LJ 59; (2) Sean Rehaag, “Sexual Orientation in Canada’s Revised Refugee Determination System: An Empirical Snapshot” (2017) 29 CJWL 259.
- Xtra Magazine articles on reasons queer refugee claims were denied: https://xtramagazine.com/power/five-reasons-canada-might-decide-youre-not-gay-69571 and https://xtramagazine.com/power/six-more-reasons-canada-might-decide-youre-not-gay-69583
On the Rise of Anti-Trans Political and Legal Acts in Canada:
- The Policy 713 changes in New Brunswick: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/policy-713-explainer-1.6890043
- Pierre Poilievre and Straight Pride T-Shirt: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pierre-poilievre-straight-pride-t-shirt-1.6904758
- Danielle Smith and Straight Pride T-Shirt: https://globalnews.ca/news/9823900/danielle-smith-straight-pride-photo-message/
- People’s Party of Canada Platform: https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/radical_gender_ideology
- PPC’s vote share increase, 2019-2021: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/peoples-party-election-2021-1.6182680
- The controversy over Bill 2 in Quebec: https://pivot.quebec/2022/05/13/projet-de-loi-2-amende-une-victoire-pour-les-communautes-lgbtq/ and https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1833965/projet-loi-2-reforme-droit-famille-pluriparentalite
- Anti-drag protests in Canada: https://globalnews.ca/news/9756581/us-drag-bans-canada-impact-lgbtq2/
- Presence of white supremacist and neo Nazi groups at anti-drag protests in Canada: https://www.antihate.ca/canadian_neo_nazis_join_anti_drag_protests and https://www.antihate.ca/anti_gay_motorcycle_club_resurfaces_protest_drag_events
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