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Definition of Sexual Identity : The Centre for Gender Advocacy and the Clinique Juridique Juripop Will Sue Quebec.

by The Centre for Gender Advocacy


Montreal, Novembre 20th, 2013 – On the occasion of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the Centre for Gender Advocacy and the Clinique Juridique Juripop announce that they will shortly sue Quebec in order to invalidate the article 71 of the Civil Code of Quebec, which restricts trans people’s constitutional rights and liberties by imposing on them the obligation to undergo surgery if they want their true sexual identity to be recognized by the state, while Parliament still procrastinates about necessary changes to Bill 35 that would amend the Civil Code regarding the question of civil status.

The article 71 of the Civil Code of Quebec requires that every person who wants to change the designation of sex on his or her act of birth has to be an adult, a Canadian citizen, and "has successfully undergone medical treatments and surgical operations involving a structural modification of the sexual organs intended to change his secondary sexual characteristics". "Not only is this article discriminatory, but, considering that the suicide rate for trans people is over 40%, it is also dangerous for these people’s lives. The obligation to undergo surgery and to be an adult is a direct harm to trans people, and an obvious discrimination based on sex. Regarding the obligation to be a Canadian citizen, this article is also a strong barrier to the integration of these people in Quebecois society", claimed Gabrielle Bouchard, Peer support and Trans Advocacy coordinator at the Centre for Gender Advocacy.

"The state condemns trans people to go under the knife, otherwise it denies their true identity, both psychological and physical. It appears obvious that the definition of identity based on the only consideration of sexual organs is a blatant example of sexual discrimination, denying the sincere and personal conviction of the person concerned, in contradiction with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms", explained Marc-Antoine Cloutier, founder and Executive Director of the Clinique juridique Juripop, who asks Me Bertrand St-Arnaud, Minister of Justice, and opposition parties to take responsibility and change the Civil Code of Quebec in order to respect the rights of trans people, before the proceedings are filed in the coming weeks.

The Centre for Gender Advocacy believes that such an infringement on the rights of trans people creates a cleavage between different classes of citizens, and that trans people have fewer rights and freedoms than other Quebecoises and Quebecois. "For instance, trans people who are minor, immigrants, or who have not undergone surgery, cannot officially change their legal identity of their license, experience difficulties while traveling, must constantly explain discordant appearance with their gender at school, or in any other occasion when they have to identify themselves. They are hence constantly reminded about their difference, marginalized for a matter purely related to sexual organs, while all they want is to integrate into society under their true identity", continued Ms. Bouchard.

Fundraising

The Clinique Juridique Juripop and the Centre for Gender Advocacy are also launching a fundraiser in order to facilitate participation in proceedings, as well as an awareness campaign on the importance of this issue.

« Citizens can contribute financially to the filing of our application by visiting our website (www.juripop.org), where they can also learn about the argument, and show their support by signing and sending a letter to the Quebec Minister of Justice», concluded Marc-Antoine Cloutier.

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Clinique juridique Juripop

The Clinique juridique Juripop is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of promoting access to justice for all. It is also a social business with innovative projects to increase knowledge of the law. The organization has three sections: a section offering free or low cost legal consultations to citizens who are excluded from legal aid but cannot afford lawyer's fees; the Juripop Affaires section for not-for-profit organizations, independent workers and small businesses with low income; and the legal information section, which organizes projects addressing particular needs.

Centre for Gender Advocacy

The Centre for Gender Advocacy is an independent, student-funded, Concordia University organization, mandated to promoting gender equality and empowerment particularly as it relates to marginalized communities.

For more information :

Jeanne Simonato, Media Relations

(514) 894-0684

Marc-Antoine Cloutier, Executive Director of the Clinique juridique Juripop, and Gabrielle Bouchard, Peer support and Trans Advocacy coordinator at the Centre for Gender Advocacy, are available for interviews.

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