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Human Rights Commission marks transgender day

The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission is observing the annual international Transgender Day of Remembrance today.

The day is designated to memorialize those who have faced discrimination, violence and murder due to transphobia, the commission said in a news release.

 Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been prohibited in Newfoundland and Labrador since 1997, when sexual orientation was added to the Human Rights Code. However, as a group, and often as individuals, transgender people have encountered violence and discrimination, the commission noted.

“The commission commemorates the Transgender Day of Remembrance as an important time to reflect on the human rights accomplishments, as well as the challenges trans individuals continue to face in Newfoundland and Labrador,”  commission chairman Remzi Cej said in a news release.

In December 2013, the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act was amended to include specific provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and expression.

 “The commission has received human rights complaints, and has heard testimonies of trans individuals in Newfoundland and Labrador who cannot currently access certain medical procedures through the provincial health care system,” the commission said.

These medical procedures would assist individuals who wish to undergo sexual reassignment surgery in fully transitioning to their personal gender expression. Other concerns relate to challenges trans individuals face regarding medical evaluations, which currently require trans Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to travel to Toronto for evaluation, in order to be eligible for select provincial health care services.”

More information on the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission is available at

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