“Rising Violence Against Transgender Community Sparks Concern on Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nova Scotia
Amidst increasing violence and hatred towards the transgender community, Veronica Merryfield, founder of the Cape Breton Transgender Network, emphasized the importance of marking Transgender Day of Remembrance this year. As she participated in a solemn ceremony to raise the trans flag outside the provincial legislature, Merryfield expressed deep sorrow and concern for the lives lost due to anti-trans violence.
Rising Incidents of Transphobia in Nova Scotia
Merryfield highlighted a significant surge in anti-trans hate in Nova Scotia, particularly in schools. She recounted receiving numerous requests for help from parents whose children experienced transphobia in Cape Breton schools, including one report of a student sustaining head injuries after being physically attacked.
Spread of Transphobic Rhetoric to Canada
Merryfield linked the increase in transphobic rhetoric to the United States, which has now permeated into Canada. She cited examples of school policies in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan that require parental consent for students under 16 to use their preferred first name or pronouns at school. According to Merryfield, such policies pose a significant risk to trans students, especially those living in hostile environments.
Calls for Action to Combat Homophobia and Transphobia
Lisa Lachance, the NDP spokesperson for 2SLGBTQ+ affairs, echoed Merryfield’s concerns and called for proactive measures to address the discrimination and violence faced by young people and their families in schools and communities.
Importance of Support for LGBTQ+ Students
Drawing attention to a survey revealing that 15% of students in Nova Scotia have experienced homophobia or transphobia at school, Lachance emphasized the need for increased resources and support for LGBTQ+ students within the education system.
Political Responses and Calls for Change
Both the NDP and the Progressive Conservative government have been urged to take action and denounce transphobia. Premier Tim Houston expressed commitment to creating an inclusive and tolerant Nova Scotia, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized the unacceptability of transphobia and violence.
On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, the heightened levels of violence and discrimination faced by the transgender community in Nova Scotia are a cause for grave concern. It is imperative for society to come together and address these issues, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their gender identity, can live openly and authentically without fear of violence or hatred. The continued support and advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights are essential in creating a more inclusive and compassionate world for all individuals.”
Original Article: The Canadian Press, Nov. 20, 2023.