Why is the NBD Campaign necessary?
Since the fall of 2016, Canadian public life has been the site of an inflated controversy about gender-neutral pronouns. Some are claiming that Bill C-16* poses a threat to ‘free speech’ because refusing to use someone’s preferred gender pronoun would become hate speech. This is inaccurate, but has become a popular reason to disrespect some transgender peoples’ pronouns.
Many prominent Canadian journalists and some academics are setting an alarmist and divisive tone for the pronoun conversation. While some transgender and gender diversity rights advocates have been featured by mainstream Canadian media, their participation is often framed in a way that makes the conversation even more divided. But the reality is that people who use gender-neutral pronouns have their needs met every day by other people. It can take some practice and getting used to, but it’s really NO BIG DEAL.
The purpose of the NBD Campaign is to help people show their support for others who use a gender-neutral pronoun, because asking for and using someone’s pronoun are just like other ways in which we make a little extra effort for people in our lives who are different from us. Please share the NBD badge and infographics widely to show your support!
*Bill C-16, which is currently being read in the Canadian senate, will add gender expression and gender identity as prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act. The bill will also list these categories in hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code. Gender expression is provisionally defined by the Ontario Human Rights Commission as “how a person publicly presents their gender,” whereas gender identity is provisionally defined as “each person’s internal and individual experience of gender.” Bill C-16 will offer transgender people the protection that many of them need in order to safely access things like housing and employment.