NEWS
11/30/2017 11:57 EST | Updated 12/01/2017 06:41 EST

Ontario private member's bill calls for Trans Day of Remembrance to be law

TORONTO — An Ontario New Democrat's effort to enshrine Nov. 20 in law as an annual Trans Day of Remembrance passed a key step with all-party support Thursday.

Cheri DiNovo's private member's bill to officially recognize the day passed second reading with the support of the governing Liberals and the Opposition Progressive Conservatives.

She said it may seem redundant because the legislature has been observing a moment of silence on that day for three years and also raised the trans flag this year, but it's important to make it law in case a future government decides to stop observing it.

"It is the most oppressed community and minority in the world right now and we owe it to them to do something," she said. "It's not just about death, although there's a lot of it...It's about our willingness and our ability to accept difference in our communities."

The passage of second reading of the bill comes on the same day that Toronto police identified a body found as that of a twenty-seven-year-old Alloura Wells — a missing transgender woman.

Trans advocate Susan Gapka mentioned Wells in a morning news conference, just hours before the grim police announcement.

Trans Day of Remembrance vigils often include a reading of a list of names of trans people who have died in the last year. As of Nov. 20 there were more than 270 people on that list, with Brazil having the highest rate, Gapka said.

"In Toronto there's a woman named Alloura who's been missing for three months," she said. "We fear about her well-being."

Egale Canada executive director Helen Kennedy said trans people are some of the most marginalized people in society.

"What (the bill) does is it recognizes the violence against a group in our society but it also makes us aware and allows us to start talking about the children who are directly impacted, about the health impacts on trans people who are marginalized, about the impacts around employment, around housing," she said.