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An important, final vote in the House of Commons for Bill C-389—a bill that would grant proper human rights protections for transgender and transsexual Canadians—will take place Feb. 9 between 5:30 and 6:00pm EST.

The bill would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act by adding gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination and would also amend the hate crimes and sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada.

CUPE national president Paul Moist wrote a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, strongly urging him and other Conservative members to vote in favour of the bill.

Explicit reference under the CHRA would afford transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, intersex, gender-queer, gender non-conforming, and gender-open individuals clearer protection against discrimination to create a safer Canada for us all” said Moist in the letter.

I urge you and your colleagues to support Bill C-389.”

The vote is expected to be a close one.

The private members’ bill was introduced by NDP MP Bill Siksay. It’s Mr. Siksay’s third attempt to pass a bill to recognize the rights of transgender and transsexual people.

On Feb. 7, Mr. Siksay spoke passionately about the bill in the house, stating “As a gay man, I know that the battle for my equality in our society was often led, often championed, by members of the transgender and transsexual community… I am confident that the change we seek will come. Justice will be done, and perhaps very soon the open and proud voice of transgender and transsexual Canadians will be heard loudly and clearly in this place.”