Sometimes, I am very amazed at just how much violence and discrimination I see in a lot of the news coming out of America. From bathroom bills to violence committed against transgender people, it is often very unbelievable that such a high level of hate is still prevalent in 2016. It is also very hard to fathom because I live in Canada and being on the north side of the border changes the game more than you might think. Transgender rights in Canada are miles or should I say kilometers ahead of where they are in America. In many ways, it is a transgender paradise in Canada compared to America.
In 2015 there were approximately 24 murders of transgender people in America while at the same time Canada experienced 1. Granted, America has a much higher population than Canada, but nonetheless, it is much safer to be transgender in the land of maple syrup and beaver tails. In fact, more Canadians died from complications from eating back bacon than from being murdered for being transgender. Violence towards transgender people is not prevalent in any sense of the word in Canada. Any violence that does occur is not a regular occurrence and just not something transgender people need to worry very much. Personally, I have experienced absolutely no violence at all and I have lived in 4 different provinces since my transition.
The bathroom issue that dominates the news in America is really not much of a blip on the Canadian radar. Most provinces have protections guaranteed for gender identity. A few provinces do not but interpret it under sex, which serves as a protection for transgender people. Overall, as long as you are in the Great White North, you have protections in place. In Canada, the bathroom is totally not an issue and the few challenges I have heard of raised by Conservatives have not even come close to being successful. In this beautiful country it is okay to pee where your gender identity wants to and in both official languages.
I am not going to claim that Canada is discrimination free because I have heard of some folks who have had brushes with discrimination. I have personally never encountered it here since I transitioned. When I broke stealth and went public last year, there was nothing, not a single mean comment, no mistaken pronouns, absolutely nothing. Honestly, I was almost disappointed how much of an non event it turned out to be. I do have passing privilege, which could very well be a big part of the lack of discrimination I have experienced. People who do not pass very well undoubtedly run into it much more frequently.
If you look at the costs associated with Gender Affirming Surgery they can be quite pricy. In many Canadian provinces our free Health care pays for that too. The waiting period for surgery can be up to two years but it is after all covered. Many provinces will also allow you to change gender markers on ID without surgery, which also includes birth certificates. This would not help you if you were born out of country on the birth certificate part.
Canada is a great country to be a transgender person in compared to many other countries. It could very well be time for you to consider moving here to live a better life. After a while you’ll get used to all the toques and everyone saying ‘eh.’ Did I also mention we have a pro trans Prime Minister named Justin Trudeau who just made the process of becoming a Canadian citizen easier? Quite honestly, there has never been a better time for transgender Americans to consider becoming Transgender Canucks.