Transphobia: How Research From Sociology, Psychology and Political Science Can Help the Problem

by lizzfowler on April 13, 2015 - 8:25pm

In recent news, Senator Donald Plett proposed an amendment to Bill C-279. Bill C-279 added gender identity to the Canadian Charter of Rights and freedoms as a basis for hate crimes. For example, it is illegal to deny a person health care or financial aid because of their gender identity. Senator Donald Plett believes that female members of his family have a 'right' to use the washroom with other members biological sex. In doing so, he is putting the rights of one group, cisgender females, over the rights of another group, transgender and gender-non-conforming folks. Plett proposed to amend this Bill in making it moot in gendered public spaces, such as washrooms or changing rooms. In doing so, he proposes that everyone use the washrooms or changing rooms that correlate to their given biological sex at birth. This can be extremely dangerous for trans and other non-binary and gender-non-conforming individuals because it open the door for physical/sexual assault if they use washrooms correlating with their given sex, and can lead to their prosecution and arrest if they use bathrooms correlating with their gender identity. To read more about the amendment to Bill C-279:

I have been inspired by the civil rights movement for transgender men and women in recent news, and I am compelled to read academic work to better understand it because I beleive that no person should be denied any privilege over harmless life choices and things that they cannot control. I believe in doing academic research I will be able to better my knowledge on the topic and perhaps inspire others to do the same. In ignorance there is no way that we will be able to change the way that things are, and unfortunately so many people are ignorant to the rights of trans people. In news stories such as the one above, I believe that I will be able to find relevant research topics under the disciplines of psychology, sociology and political science.

The question that I will seek to answer in my research is "how can certain laws, such as the amendment to Bill C-279, be positive or negative on the LGBTQA+ population of Canada and North American society?".

In doing such research I will hope to answer that question specifically and also to dive deeper into why as a society there is even a reason to deny rights to anyone based on their life choices and what influences us to do so.

There are many different faculties at McGill University, including the three that I will be using for my research: