Statement from CBA President John Stefaniuk, K.C. on the rise of anti-2SLGBTQI+ demonstrations

  • September 19, 2023

As we witness a rise of anti-2SLGBTQI+ activity and rhetoric across Canada, we need to redouble our efforts in the fight for equality, which is far from over. Hate, misinformation and violence targeting Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary and gender diverse persons must never be tolerated. Efforts to curtail their rights to live openly and authentically, receive appropriate medical care, and be treated with equal dignity and respect go against their basic human rights and are profoundly harmful.

Many members of our legal community fought in the past decades to decriminalize homosexual acts, to counter discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and to protect transgender and gender diverse individuals from hate crimes and discrimination. These efforts are ongoing as members continue to work tirelessly to improve access to justice, inclusion in the legal profession, and adherence to the equal rights of Two-Spirit, transgender, non-binary and gender diverse people.

According to data released in 2023 by Statistics Canada, police reported hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation rose 64% from 2020 to 2021. An increase was also reported in harassment, intimidation, threats of violence, misinformation, and hate-motivated protests throughout Canada, targeting primarily gender-inclusive public facilities hosting gender neutral washrooms and drag story time events. Many members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community currently do not feel safe.

The CBA is committed to creating inclusive spaces for Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary and gender diverse people within the CBA and the legal profession. We aim to lead by example in the legal profession. As leaders of Canada’s legal community, we also have a duty to defend and protect the rights of the most disadvantaged people in our society. It’s the right thing to do, and we all benefit from the incredible opportunities that come from a fully engaged and inclusive society.