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'Transgender' added to Ontario human rights code, first in North America

First jurisdiction in North America to protect transgendered, lawmaker says.

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A man holds rainbow flags during the pride parade in Bratislava on June 9,2012. (SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Politicians of all political stripes voted unanimously today to add “transgender” to the Human Rights Code in Ontario, Canada’s largest province.

It was New Democrat lawmaker Cheri DiNovo’s fourth attempt in six years to pass a bill to protect transgendered citizens.

“A long time coming, but it’s a very good day,” DiNovo said, The Canadian Press reported. 

“There’s a whole host of things that will be opened up for trans people because of this, and really this recognizes them simply as humans, with all the rights of every other human in Ontario.”

DiNovo said Ontario becomes the first jurisdiction in North America to make the move.

The Ontario code will celebrate its 50th birthday on Friday, The Toronto Star reported, with its first addition since the 1980s when politicians added clauses for homosexuals.

The new law adds “gender identity” and “gender expression” alongside protections for race, creed, color or sexual orientation.

DiNovo, a minister in the United Church, dubbed the act Toby’s Bill in honor of a transgender choir director at her church who committed suicide.

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“I feel like we’ve pushed an elephant up a mountain and we’ve been successful,” Susan Gupta, a transgendered Torontonian, told the Star.

Ontario became the first province in Canada to protect transgendered citizens officially.

It was a rare show of solidarity among politicians, with right and left lawmakers from Ontario’s three main political parties co-sponsoring the bill, CBC said.

Christine Elliott, deputy leader of the Progressive Conservative party, said the new law will “prevent discrimination against anyone in Ontario.”

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/120613/transgender-added-ontario-human-rights-code-first-north