Sometimes it’s the small stuff you need to fret about.
Things like going to the grocery store or banking – these daily errands shouldn’t bring up painful memories. But for trans people, ordinary activities can force them to confront their old identities. Government and corporations need to be more aware of this reality.
Take what happened to Emily Minier, Assistant to the Executive Directors and Outreach Coordinator – Trans Community, for Fierté Montréal. She recently sent an email money transfer to Fierté President and founder, Eric Pineault. Simple. But Eric didn’t get money from Emily. Instead, he received a transfer from the person Emily used to be – despite the fact she had already changed her name with her bank, Desjardins. Emily did all the required paperwork and thought the matter was settled. It wasn’t.
“I had no idea that was happening,” she said. “Eric told me he jumped in his seat when he received the notification.” Emily said her bank told her in order for email transfers to reflect her real identity, she would have to create a completely new profile with the company. “But then I would lose years of contacts in my old profile,” she said.
She went through a similar experience at the grocery store with her Metro points card.
When Emily got to the cashier, the screen above the register showed her deadname. “I was told changing it was too complicated,” she said. “(Metro) told me the process of changing my name would be the same as if I wanted to take over the card of my dead spouse.” Emily needed to get a new card. “But getting a new one means I lose all my points and the promotions I earned,” she said. Emily says she doesn’t feel “persecuted” by these events, but they are a regular reminder that corporations don’t yet fully respect a trans person’s transition.
Aside from day-to-day errands forcing trans people to confront their old identities, there is the more serious issue of parental rights. There is currently only partial parental legal recognition for trans people. If a Canadian citizen who is trans changes their name on their child’s birth certificate, the statement of parental recognition remains the same. Trans parents can therefore not have their gender identity reflected on their children’s birth certificates.
Montréal Pride calls on corporations, governments and all other organizations to be aware of the trauma trans people suffer when confronted with their past identities. We also encourage corporations and governments to create internal working groups tasked with reviewing policies to ensure they are inclusive to trans people. We call on the Québec government to allow trans parents, especially for non-binary parents or those who are not identifying with father or mother, the right to have their true identities reflected on the birth certificates of their children and support the ongoing lawsuit against Québec’s Attorney General brought forth by Montréal’s Centre for Gender Advocacy. The lawsuit seeks to remove provisions of the Civil Code that are responsible for the exclusion, prejudice and discrimination of trans and intersex people and their children under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Furthermore, Montréal Pride wishes for young trans people to have access to the same legal care and procedures as adults.
Changes in the law and in corporate policies are essential in order for trans people to be fully respected in society. Emily says governments and corporations need to be conscious of the fact that old names and former gender identities carry a lot of difficult emotions and memories for trans people. “When you’re confronted with that and it’s made public, it’s discriminatory and it’s hurtful,” she said. Companies, she added, should create internal working groups tasked with coming up with plans to make policies more inclusive. “It’s about showing a client – someone you should respect and want to keep – that their identity is valid and their transition is respected,” Emily said.
An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code:
Court case challenging 11 sections of Quebec Civil Code: