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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday – CBC News

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The latest:

Quebec — which started to reopen on Monday — will no longer proceed with a plan to impose a tax on people who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19.

Premier François Legault said during an afternoon briefing that he heard that there was opposition to the idea and he didn’t want to cause further division. 

“When we see what’s happening in our society and on social media, I have a certain worry about seeing Quebecers divided,” Legault told reporters in Quebec City.

The premier announced on Jan. 11 he planned to make the unvaccinated pay a significant financial penalty because they were over-represented in the health-care system.

About 10 per cent of people in the province’s eligible population are unvaccinated.

WATCH | Legault drops tax idea: 

Legault confirms Quebec dropping controversial tax on the unvaccinated

10 hours ago

Duration 0:57

Citing the division it caused in Quebec, Premier François Legault said the province is scrapping its plan to tax those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19. 0:57

Legault also announced that as of Feb. 14, sports and artistic activities will resume, and gyms and spas will reopen at 50 per cent capacity

A situation report published by health officials in the province on Tuesday showed 2,852 hospitalizations — down by 36 from a day earlier — with 218 people in intensive care. The province also reported 63 additional deaths and 2,730 lab-confirmed cases.

In Ontario, which also began easing pandemic restrictions this week, health officials on Tuesday said hospitalizations in the province stood at 3,091 — up by 108 from a day earlier — with 568 people in intensive care units. The province also reported 63 deaths and 2,622 additional lab-confirmed cases.

Premier Doug Ford, who appeared at a news conference alongside his minister of long-term care on Tuesday, said the government is taking a “cautious” approach to reopening and pointed to its multi-phase plan.

The premier’s remarks came as the Ontario COVID-19 science advisory table put out new modelling to look at how that reopening might impact cases and hospitalizations.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said at the briefing Tuesday that Ontario does have capacity in its hospital system, noting that even if numbers do go up slightly the province will be ready to deal with it.  

WATCH | Elliott on reopening plan: 

Ontario opening ‘gradually and cautiously,’ health minister says

12 hours ago

Duration 2:06

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says the peak of Omicron has passed and the province now has the hospital capacity to deal with COVID-19 patients and resume surgeries and procedures that were postponed by the pandemic. 2:06

The province moved in early January to pause non-urgent procedures as Omicron surged, throwing many patients in limbo as they waited for word on when they would be seen. A plan is in place to resume some of the paused procedures, but concerns around backlogs remain after massive disruptions to the health-system caused by the lengthy pandemic.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 1:30 p.m. ET


What’s happening in the rest of Canada

WATCH | Avoiding the next health-care catastrophe:

Pushed to the brink, exhausted hospital staff say lessons must be learned

1 day ago

Duration 7:08

Unprecedented COVID-19 hospitalizations have left staff at Toronto’s Humber River Hospital exhausted and struggling to care for a relentless wave of very sick people. They say lessons must be learned from this pandemic, so the next public health crisis is not as catastrophic. 7:08

With lab-based testing capacity deeply strained and increasingly restricted, experts say true case counts are likely far higher than reported. Hospitalization data at the regional level is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report figures that separate the number of people in hospital because of COVID-19 from those in hospital for another medical issue who also test positive for COVID-19.

For more information on what is happening in your community — including details on outbreaks, testing capacity and local restrictions — click through to the regional coverage below.

You can also read more from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed look at every region — including seven-day average test positivity rates — in its daily epidemiological updates.

In Atlantic Canada,  New Brunswick on Tuesday reported 162 hospitalizations — an increase of 10 from a day earlier — with 17 people in the province’s intensive care units. The province also saw five additional deaths and 228 additional lab-confirmed cases.

Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported 25 COVID-19 hospitalizations, a new high, with 11 people in critical care. Health officials also reported two additional deaths and 179 lab-confirmed cases.

In Prince Edward Island, the chief public health officer said Tuesday she will announce a loosening of restrictions next week. Dr. Heather Morrison said isolation requirements for travellers arriving on the island could be relaxed, as could restrictions on organized gatherings and recreational activities.

“Despite the cases in the last month, hospitalizations, and despite this Omicron wave, I think we have more hope and optimism now than even compared to a month ago as we continue to manage our way through this wave of the pandemic,” she told reporters in Charlottetown. “I believe we will be in a very different place in a few weeks.”

There are currently 15 people in hospital in P.E.I., including two in ICU. The province also reported one death on Tuesday and 362 new cases. 

Nova Scotia, meanwhile, on Tuesday said 95 people remained in designated COVID-19 hospital units, with 13 people in the province’s ICUs. The province also reported an additional 274 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one additional death.

In Manitoba, there were 737 people in hospital with COVID-19 Tuesday — a new high — including 54 in the province’s intensive care units. The province also reported seven additional deaths and 491 new lab-confirmed cases.

Saskatchewan health officials reported a total of 370 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Tuesday, with 39 in ICUs. The province also reported one additional death and 661 new lab-confirmed cases. The premier says he wants to end the province’s proof of vaccine program by the end of the month. 

British Columbia health officials said Tuesday that there are 1,035 COVID-positive patients in hospital, including 139 in intensive care. The province also reported 1,236 new cases and nine additional deaths

B.C.’s top doctor said the province is planning to slowly ease its gathering restrictions starting later this month.

“We know the COVID-19 virus is going to be with us for some time, but we are progressing through this surge,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a briefing.

In Alberta, the total number of people in hospital with COVID-19 rose to 1,585 Tuesday, with 109 people being treated in ICUs. The province reported 13 additional deaths, along with 1,980 additional lab-confirmed cases.

Across the North, health officials in Nunavut say misinformation is to blame for an outbreak of COVID-19 in Igloolik. The region has been kept in lockdown while the rest of the territory has seen restriction eased. There were 83 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut as of Tuesday. 

One person is in a hospital in Yukon, where health officials on Tuesday reported 22 additional cases. 

Health officials in the Northwest Territories reported 208 additional cases on Tuesday.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 8:20 p.m. ET


What’s happening around the world

A health worker pretends to give a girl’s stuffed animal a shot before giving her the Coronavac vaccine for COVID-19 at a sports centre in Asuncion, Paraguay, as children aged 5-11 start getting vaccinated in that country. (Jorge Saenz/The Associated Press)

As of Tuesday evening, more than 381.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.6 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, disaster-hit Tonga will go into lockdown Wednesday evening after the Pacific island nation reported that two port workers helping distribute international aid had become infected with the coronavirus.

The urgent announcement by Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni appeared to confirm fears among Tongan officials that the aid pouring in following a devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami last month could also bring COVID-19 to a nation that had previously been free of the virus. 

A C-130J Hercules aircraft is unloaded of humanitarian aid supplies at Fua’amotu International Airport, Tonga, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. The country’s fears of COVID-19 being brought in with the aid were realized as two port workers tested positive. (Sgt. Ben Dempster/Australian Defence Force via The Associated Press)

Indonesia’s holiday island of Bali will start welcoming back travellers from all countries later this week, more than three months after announcing it was open to selected nationalities.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 situation at the Beijing Winter Olympics is within the “expected controllable range,” despite increasing positive cases being detected, a senior official said.

WATCH | Beijing’s ‘closed loop’ system against COVID-19: 

‘Closed loop’ designed to keep COVID-19 out of Beijing 2022

1 day ago

Duration 3:01

Olympic organizers in Beijing are closely guarding the ‘closed loop’ system, where athletes, personnel and the media are confined to a bubble that includes strict protocol and testing to prevent COVID-19 from infiltrating the Games. 3:01

People in China rang in the Lunar New Year on Tuesday despite pandemic restrictions, as small crowds gathered at temples to offer traditional prayers for the Year of the Tiger.

In Africa, leading South African scientists are set to investigate COVID-19 and HIV in tandem, given mounting evidence that the collision of the two pandemics could be generating new coronavirus variants.

Nigeria launched a $149 million US fund to help fight HIV/AIDS, especially targeting the prevention of mother-to-child transmissions, after foreign funding came under strain from the focus on COVID-19.

In Europe, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who was re-elected for a second term on Sunday, has tested positive for COVID–19 and is set to isolate for seven days.

Denmark has become one of the first European Union countries to scrap most pandemic restrictions as the country no longer considers the COVID-19 outbreak “a socially critical disease.” The reason for that is that while the Omicron variant is surging in Denmark, it’s not placing a heavy burden on the health system and the country has a high vaccination rate.

The wearing of face masks is no longer mandatory as of Tuesday on public transportation, shops and for standing clients in restaurant indoor areas. Another restriction no longer required is the digital pass, previously used to enter nightclubs, cafés, party buses and to be seated indoors in restaurants.

A Conservative lawmaker in Britain said Prime Minister Boris Johnson should resign and that he had submitted a letter of no confidence, after a report found that alcohol-fuelled events had taken place at Downing Street during lockdown.

WATCH | Johnson lambasted over ‘partygate’ report: 

British PM lambasted over ‘partygate’ report

1 day ago

Duration 2:39

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tainted the ‘heart-wrenching’ sacrifices of the British people, Opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer told Parliament Monday. 2:39

In the Middle East, health officials in Kuwait on Monday reported 6,063 additional cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths.

In the Americas, Mexico registered 12,521 confirmed cases and 198 more deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, according to health ministry data, bringing the country’s overall number of confirmed cases to 4,942,590 and the death toll to 306,091.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says overuse of gloves, “moon suits” and the use of billions of masks and vaccination syringes to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus have spurred a huge glut of health care waste worldwide.

The UN health agency reported Tuesday that extra medical waste has strained waste management systems and is threatening both health and the environment, pointing to a “dire need” to improve those systems and get a response from both governments and people.

“Part of the message for the public is to become more of a conscious consumer,” said Dr. Margaret Montgomery, technical officer of WHO’s water, sanitation, hygiene and health unit. “In terms of the volume, it’s enormous.”

“It is absolutely vital to provide health workers with the right (protective gear),” Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, said in a statement. “But it is also vital to ensure that it can be used safely without impacting on the surrounding environment.”

-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 7 p.m. ET

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Woman held hostage during B.C. bank shooting experiencing roller-coaster of emotions

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Shelli Fryer was wide awake at 2:54 on Canada Day and hoped the stack of messages piling up in recent days could help her close her eyes.

The 59-year-old Langford, B.C., woman said she’s been having trouble sleeping since Tuesday when she was among those held hostage during a violent bank shooting in Saanich.

The messages pouring in since then, she said, have offered some of the comfort she’s sought and commended her bravery during the ordeal.

“There is just so much love I’m getting from all these strangers,” she said in a telephone interview. “It’s overwhelming.”

Six officers were shot and 22-year-old twin brothers identified as Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie from Duncan, B.C., were killed in the shootout with police on Tuesday outside the Bank of Montreal in Saanich.

Police have said multiple explosive devices were found in a vehicle linked to the two men, who have yet to be identified. Officers are still investigating the possibility of a third suspect.

Fryer has been mentally replaying Tuesday morning’s events ever since.

She pulled her blue Ford Bronco into the bank’s parking lot for an 11 a.m. appointment with the manager about a loan. Within a minute or two of sitting down in his glass-panelled office, Fryer said they heard a loud boom.

“The manager said ‘we’re being robbed’. He knew right away.”

The 17 women and five men in the branch that day all got on the grey floor immediately, Fryer said. She described the suspects as wearing all black including balaclavas, gloves, jackets, vests, body armour and pads covering the calves from the knee down.

One suspect came up to the bank manager and said “vault,” she recalled.

“He stared right at me twice. For 20 seconds,” she said. “But I couldn’t see his eyes. I couldn’t see his mouth. I couldn’t see any skin tone whatsoever.”

The manager tried to hand over the keys but the suspect pointed towards the vault and they walked off together, leaving Fryer in the room. She waited for the gunman to come back for her.

“I think he forgot about me,” she said.

Fryer got down on the floor and called the police. Her phone’s call log shows she dialed 911 at 11:04 a.m.

She whispered a description of the situation into the phone, fearing all the while she’d draw attention to herself by breaking the “eerie silence” that had descended on the branch, she said.

She left the phone on so the 911 operators could hear what was going on, turned down the volume so the suspects couldn’t hear if emergency personnel spoke and covered the phone with her long pink skirt so it wouldn’t be visible, she said.

For what “felt like an eternity,” she said there was “dead silence.”

Fryer said she felt little fear and experienced no dramatic moments as she hid behind a chair she doubted offered much protection.

“It was actually more like, ‘I think we’re gonna get out of this,’” she said. “I need to get the police though here. I’m just gonna let the police know. If the police get here, it will be OK.”

But then an “almighty hail of gunfire” rang out, she said, gasping at the remembered shock.

That’s when she ran and hid alone under a shelf in the manager’s office while others took shelter in a filing room.

Fryer said that while she felt the urge to panic with one half of her brain, the other half was reminding her to “just breathe.”

“‘The worst thing that’s going to  happen is, those shots will go right through the drywall and you’re going to be hit,’” she remembered thinking.

Fryer’s phone shows her call with 911, and the ordeal, lasted one hour, 26 minutes and five seconds.

While Fryer’s recollections of the attack are sharp, she said the rest of the day passed in a blur of police interviews, arrangements to retrieve her car and finally a meal of Asian food with her daughter.

The trauma of being held hostage comes in waves, she said. Fryer has spoken with police and victim services about how she feels, and she said she’s been told it will take time to process what she’s been through.

“It’s back and forth, you know? It’s like grief. You go through the whole stages, right? Sometimes you may never hit the last stage.”

But in the quiet moments, Fryer said she most often remembers seeing police walk through the bank door and hearing their concern for those trapped inside.

“The first words each and every officer said to us was, ‘I’m sorry this is happening to you.’ Even when they just came in from the gunfire,” she said. “… And much, much later we find out that six of their brothers-in-arms had been shot and injured.”

She feels “horrible” and “guilty” because she didn’t think about asking the officers whether any police had been injured, she said, though she and others inquired after the welfare of civilians.

“And each and every one of their energy and body language walking in and out of the crime scene did not give us any reason to even think to ask, ‘were any officers injured?’”

Saanich police Chief Const. Dean Duthie said three of the officers remain in hospital, including one in intensive care, while another will require more surgeries.

Fryer was born in Chicago and came to Canada when she was seven. Her experience with the police last week has made her feel “extra proud” to be Canadian, she said.

Since Tuesday when she started talking about her experience at the bank, Fryer said apart from strangers she’s also got messages from people whom she knew in another lifetime.

She got an email from her first roommate with whom she lived while working her first job after graduating high school when she was 18.

“We lived together for like eight years, and I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. I haven’t seen her since 1989. She reached out. Isn’t that funny?” she said.

“This is going to be life changing in many ways for me and I’m very grateful now because it could be very cool.”

Fryer has also been able to find levity — such as what to do with the outfit she was wearing on Tuesday at the bank – a long sleeve shirt, pink maxi skirt and pink high-heeled sandals.

“I’m going to throw it out,” she said. “I’ve had it for so long anyway. Or I should frame it. I really liked it too, though.”

She even plans to return to the bank, whose employees she said showed incredible professionalism under duress and whose manager she described as unflappable.

“I have to finish my appointment,” she said with a laugh. “I sat down for two minutes. We got interrupted.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2022.

 

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press

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B.C. RCMP identify twin brothers as B.C. bank shooting suspects

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VICTORIA — Twin brothers in their early 20s were responsible for the shooting that injured numerous police officers at a bank in Saanich, B.C., earlier this week, RCMP alleged Saturday.

Mounties spokesman Cpl. Alex Bérubé named the men as 22-year-olds Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie from Duncan, B.C.

Six officers were shot and the brothers were killed in the shootout with police on Tuesday outside the Bank of Montreal branch.

Bérubé said officers have spoken with the twins’ relatives, who are co-operating with the investigation.

Investigators are looking into the suspects’ backgrounds, and he said neither man had a criminal record or was known to police.

“We understand that the release of the names of the two deceased may answer the who, but there are still many outstanding questions and investigation efforts that need to take place in order to fully understand what took place and why,” Bérubé told a news conference.

“The motive behind the armed robbery and subsequent exchange of gunfire with police has not yet been determined.”

Police have also confirmed that the twins are associated with a white four-door 1992 Toyota Camry that has two black racing stripes over the hood and roof, Bérubé said.

The car was found with multiple explosives, which were removed and destroyed last week

Bérubé said the investigation has so far determined that there were only two suspects in the bank.

“However, we are continuing to look into whether anyone else was involved or associated to the events on Tuesday.”

An update on the condition of the injured officers wasn’t given.

Earlier, Saanich Chief Const. Dean Duthie had said three of the officers remain in hospital, including one who is in intensive care while another will require more surgeries.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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Transphobia is gaining ground in the U.S. Gender-diverse people in Canada worry it could happen here – CBC.ca

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Amanda Jetté Knox doesn’t know who tried to throw a bottle at them from a vehicle while walking home in Ottawa last month, but remembers the feeling of it barely missing their head. 

“[It] hit my bangs as it went by,” said Jetté Knox, who identifies as non-binary and uses she/they pronouns. “[They] called me a f–king freak and drove off.”

It was the first time Jetté Knox experienced anything so violent but the proud activist and author has endured plenty of hateful comments since publicly sharing their family’s story several years ago. One of Jetté Knox’s four children is non-binary and came out in 2014; the next year, Jetté Knox’s spouse came out as transgender woman. 

Now, they are closely watching the anti-LGBTQ hate billowing in the United States, where gender diversity and gender expression have become popular targets for Republican politicians, far-right groups and online trolls. 

Two women standing side-by-side and smiling.
Amanda Jetté Knox, seen on the right, and their wife Zoë, live in Ottawa with their four children. (Submitted by Amanda Jetté Knox)

Jetté Knox, and other advocates and experts, see it spreading in Canada as well. 

Threatening phone calls recently led to a family-friendly drag performance at Victoria café being called off, while other drag-queen storytime events at public libraries elsewhere in Canada have also been subject to intimidation. Pride flags have been ripped down and/or destroyed in London, Ont., Delta, B.C., and Ottawa. In early June, a 17-year-old was arrested in Mississauga, Ont., for allegedly threatening to carry out a mass shooting at a West Palm Beach, Fla., Pride celebration.

“It feels like it’s just a matter of time before we start seeing more of this in our own backyard,” Jetté Knox told CBC News.

“I’m a pretty positive person, but I’m worried right now.”

Hate ‘spilling over the border,’ says prof

Anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ hatred is something that is always “simmering,” including in Canada, said Prof. Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism based at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa.

A survey released by Statistics Canada in 2020 found transgender people had a greater likelihood of experiencing physical or sexual violence than non-transgender people in Canada. They were also more likely to experience “inappropriate behaviours” in public, at work, and online, which Statistics Canada defined as acts that “make people feel unsafe or uncomfortable” and have a lasting impact on mental and physical health. 

But it appears far-right groups here have become more emboldened by what Perry describes as the “horrific narratives and policy shifts” seen in the U.S.

Since the start of this year, the U.S.-based Human Rights Campaign has documented more than 300 proposed bills, introduced in 36 states, that directly target transgender rights, gender diversity and expression. These include attempts to investigate families helping affirm their child’s gender identity to outright limiting education and conversation about LGBTQ people, restricting trangender children from participation in sports, and even going so far as to attempt to bar children from attending drag performances. 

“That’s spilling over the border, obviously, into the Canadian narrative as well, and informing the far-right here,” Perry told CBC News. 

WATCH | All-ages drag performances subjected to online hate:

All-age drag events in Canadian libraries facing threats and hateful messages

5 days ago

Duration 6:40

Alex Saunders, a drag performer who volunteers and hosts a drag storytime with the Saint John Free Public Library, says they have been the target of hateful messages from right-wing groups.

Advocates accused of ‘grooming’ children

Harmful language aimed at smearing transgender people, and those who support them, as preying upon or indoctrinating children is routinely used online and in right-wing media — in particular, “grooming” or “groomer.”

It’s a trope long been used to disparage LGBTQ people that’s seeing a steep rise in usage online.

Jetté Knox said they get called a groomer online “almost every day” because of their gender identity, because they’re raising non-binary child, or because of their activism for transgender rights.

It’s also happened in person. They were travelling in the United States recently and attended a Virginia school board meeting, with friends and their children, to recognize Pride Month. Protesters hurled insults at them.

“Some pretty awful things were said,” Jetté Knox recalled. “We were told we were indoctrinating children.”

The Canadian Anti-Hate Network has documented that narrative appearing in far-right political discourse in this country. 

WATCH | A Human Rights Campaign montage of language used against transgender people:

It’s actually far-right groups who are “grooming” people, said Perry, slowly luring new followers to their ideologies by latching onto their concerns and uncertainties.

Some far-right, religious and other groups have portrayed gender-affirming care for transgender youth as “child abuse” and push to restrict access to health care such as hormones to delay puberty and promote development consistent with a child’s gender identity. 

Various medical groups, including the American Medical Association, say such policies are “dangerous” and “foregoing gender-affirming care can have tragic health consequences.” 

It’s a means of “lending credibility and legitimacy” to extreme views, Perry explained, because they’re presented as “protecting the vulnerable.”

Transphobia a ‘gateway’ to far-right ideology

Focusing on transgender and gender-diverse youth is one way of gaining public approval for broader acceptance of anti-transgender policies and attitudes, said Florence Ashley, a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Joint Centre for Bioethics whose work revolves around trans rights. 

“Transphobia tends to oftentimes be the sort of like gateway into the far-right,” said Ashley, who uses they/them pronouns. 

They noted how social media algorithms also play a role in this. The U.S. non-profit Media Matters For America, for example, examined how anti-trans content on TikTok served as a gateway to far-right and white supremacist content, conspiracy theories and even calls to violence.

Ashley also highlighted similarities the current climate of transphobia has with what’s known as the “great replacement” conspiracy theory disseminated by far-right and white nationalist movements, and in some conservative media outlets. It’s a racist claim that white people are being systematically replaced by immigrants. 

The feeling of “losing power in society,” they explained, makes it easier to blame the people you perceive as “trying to replace you.”

It’s something that happens “in times of crisis and high anxiety as we’ve seen over the last couple of years,” said Perry. “We’re always looking for scapegoats, looking for somewhere to direct our anger or fears or anxieties.” 

A red-haired woman, wearing a blue and white dress, stands outside with brick buildings and trees in the background behind her.
Florence Ashley is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Joint Centre for Bioethics whose work revolves around trans rights. (Submitted by Florence Ashley)

Political power balance can change in an instant

While gender identity and expression are protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code, Jetté Knox is unnerved by the emergence of “more far-right parties,” some of which have candidates who criticize gender diversity and expression.

They worry voters may not be keeping as close an eye on the comments and promises such candidates make about gender diversity issues because it doesn’t an affect their lives the way it impacts Jetté Knox’s LGBTQ family.

Ashley warned it only takes a “shift in political power for groups to really start asserting their will on a population” and that’s why people in Canada should be closely watching what’s happening in the U.S.

They noted how the recent U.S. Supreme Court, stacked with conservative justices during Donald Trump’s single term in office, overturned Roe v. Wade, the nearly 50-year-old decision that enshrined the right to access abortion. That ruling could set a precedent to reverse decisions on same-sex marriage and same-sex intimacy for consenting adults, something Justice Clarence Thomas alluded to in his concurring opinion on the Roe v. Wade ruling. 

Jetté Knox urged those who care about the rights and freedoms of gender-diverse people to vote.

“Watching those rights being attacked elsewhere puts a lot of fear in me because it means that they can be attacked in Canada too,” they said. “I think that those things will be challenged and I think that we have to get ready for it.” 

Creating a positive online space for trans people

Despite the apparent rise of online slurs and hate against LGBTQ people, young transgender people like Vancouver’s Noah Yang are helping maintain positivity in online spaces and inform others about transgender experiences.

Yang, who uses the pronouns he and him, shares his gender-affirmation journey on Instagram. He said he’s fortunate to have only experienced negativity “a handful of times” and has largely received encouragement.

“It was unexpected that showing the physical scars and the physical changes would inspire people and, you know, open people’s eyes up to … what can really happen throughout someone’s transition.” 

A man wearing a shirt and ties sitting in a chair.
Noah Yang, who has been documenting his medical transition for nearly four years, said it started out as something personal for him but he later felt a responsibility to share his story and be open about his experience. (Submitted by Noah Yang)

He acknowledges not everyone has the ability to drown out the negativity being directed at gender-diverse people. But, for Yang, the importance visibility outweighs any hate.

“I do think it is beneficial because I feel that, you know, it’s not just trans folks who see the page,” he said. 

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