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The methodology for this discussion paper included:

  • consultation with members and representatives of the transgendered community,
  • review of jurisprudence and legislation in Canada and in other jurisdictions,
  • literature review, and
  • review of other human rights commission policies.

Although the reviews of literature and case law were not exhaustive, the intention was to identify significant trends and developments related to the issue of gender identity.

The prime objective of the consultation was to identify human rights issues affecting transgendered persons. The consultations were conducted in face to face meetings and discussions. In total, approximately ninety people participated in the discussions. Four questions were used to initiate the discussions, but discussions also addressed other topics. The questions were:

  1. What issues do you feel are important in advancing the human rights of transgendered people?
  2. Are there specific laws or areas of law in Ontario that you consider a priority?
  3. How do you think the Commission could best help to address the equality rights issues affecting the transgendered community?
  4. Is there anything you would like to add that might assist the Commission to identity other areas of concern and plan possible strategic approaches to deal with issues of discrimination against people in the transgendered community?

Meetings with representatives of the transgendered community were informal and qualitative rather than quantitative and were intended to be the first of ongoing discussions. Meetings took place in Toronto, Ottawa, and South-western Ontario. Individual representatives included human rights advocates, educators, counsellors, and activists. As well, spouses and one parent of a transgendered person participated in the consultations. Four large group meetings were conducted on transgendered issues. Male to female transsexuals, female to male transsexuals, cross-dressers and intersexed individuals were also part of the consultations.

A staff member at the Gender Identity Clinic at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry[7] contributed information on this issue. There were telephone discussions with selected government ministries. Finally, discussions with the British Columbia Human Rights Commission and with human rights advocates from that province who are working in the area of transgendered rights were conducted.

The discussion paper will be released to the consultees providing them with the opportunity to provide feedback its contents.

[7] This research institute is located in Toronto and is dedicated to research, education, and care relating to mental illness and mental health. The Gender Identity Clinic, located within the larger institution, is responsible for assessing, counselling and treating individuals who identify themselves as transgendered or are referred for treatment.


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