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CUPE is celebrating a resounding victory for transgender and transsexual rights today, after a historic vote in the House of Commons ensured the passage of Bill C-389.

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

This is a historic day for trans people across the country,” said Martine Stonehouse, CUPE National Pink Triangle Committee trans representative. “It brings us one step closer to achieving visibility, credibility, and recognition as equal persons in Canada.”

The private member’s bill, introduced by NDP MP Bill Siksay, passed by a  143 to 135 margin. It’s the third time that Siksay has attempted to ensure proper recognition of transgender and transsexual by amending the law. The bill now moves on to the Senate.

We certainly applaud MP Siksay’s efforts,” said CUPE national president Paul Moist. “It’s been a long hard battle for the transgender and transsexual community, and he’s been there pushing for this for a long time.”

The victory is a timely one for Siksay, who in December 2010 announced that after 25 years in federal politics, he would not seek re-election.