Calls grow for Canada to accept more asylum claims for trans people from U.S., U.K.

By Cormac Mac Sweeney

There is a push to change the practices of Canada’s asylum and refugee system in order to allow more transgender and non-binary people from the United States and the United Kingdom into the country.

In recent months, lawmakers in many U.S. states and the U.K. have passed anti-trans laws or blocked access to gender-affirming care.

Advocate Cait Glasson has started a House of Commons petition demanding more acceptance of asylum claims from Canada’s closest allies. As of Friday morning, it received more than 160,000 signatures.

The e-petition is the third-largest ever to be presented to the House.

“In the same way that we’re stepping up for people in Uganda, I absolutely think we need to be stepping up for people in the U.K. and the U.S., as their laws get worse,” Glasson explained.

She tells CityNews that over the last seven years or so, there have been hundreds of asylum claims from trans and non-binary people coming from the U.S. However, Glasson says very few are accepted.

“Six-hundred-and-forty claims from the United States, of which two were granted. What I’m hoping for is to go from a presumptive ‘no’ to a presumptive ‘maybe,'” she said.

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The Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship says Canada does help resettle 2SLGBTQI+ refugees, adding all eligible claimants receive an independent and fair assessment.

However, Green Party MP Mike Morrice says that’s not good enough.

“A right is not really a right if it’s never successfully exercised,” he said, adding he’s pushed the immigration minister to make changes.

Hundreds of bills restricting the rights of 2SLGBTQI+ people were introduced in legislatures this year, with at least 75 signed into law. That number prompted the Human Rights Campaign to issue its first-ever state of emergency.

-With files from The Associated Press

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