Feel free to use my letter, below, as a template for your own. The Trans Lobby Group has published this handy fact sheet, containing the time-line of Toby's Act, as well as some facts and figures that you could use in your own letter.
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Dear Mario Sergio, MPP,
My name is A.J. Lowik and I am a student and employee at York University, and I live on campus; as such, you are my local MPP. I am writing today regarding Toby's Act, a private member's bill introduced by New Democratic Party MPP Cheri DiNovo on February 21, 2012. On May 10, 2012 at around 2:00 p.m., this bill is scheduled for a 2nd Reading and I urge you to add your support.
Toby's Act would amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity and gender expression, and would explicitly prohibit harassment and discrimination against transgender and transsexual people. Gender identity refers not to biological sex, or sexual orientation, but the inner sense of being male or female. Gender expression refers to appearances and behaviours which can be interpreted as consistent or inconsistent with one's born and raised sex and gender.
Trans people experience transphobia, a form of discrimination based on fear, ignorance and hatred. An example of this is ‘transbashing’, similar to gay bashing, and involves physical and/or sexual violence, too often resulting in death. Indeed, the Ontario Human Rights Commission noted: “There are, arguably, few groups in society today who are as disadvantaged and disenfranchised as the transgendered community. Transphobia combined with the hostility of society to the very existence of transgendered people are fundamental human rights issues,” (Policy on Discrimination and Harassment because of Gender Identity, March 30, 2000; Toward a Commission Policy on Gender Identity; Discussion Paper; October 1999. p. 42). The Commission further notes that "by adding the ground ‘gender identity’ to the Code, there would be no doubt legally or politically that transgendered people have the same protections as everyone else." (Toward a Commission Policy on Gender Identity; Discussion Paper; Ontario Human Rights Commission; October 1999. p. 31).
Transgender Rights are Human Rights, and I urge you to support Toby's Act, which was co-sponsored by the Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi and Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott. I am adamant that the time for transgender human rights is now and that this Act will only aid in its deliverance. Quoting the La Forest Report of 2000, “to leave the law as it stands would fail to acknowledge the situation of transgendered individuals and allow the issues to remain invisible.” I truly hope that I, as a member of the transgender community and a member of your constituency, am not invisible to you.
I look forward to your timely reply and to your support on May 10th 2012.
Update: May 11, 2012. The big vote is tomorrow. I received a response to my letter, from my MPP's Executive Assistant. It was short and to the point, but altogether vague. She thanked me for writing, but said that MPP Mario Sergio would likely not be present at Queen's Park "to vote either for or against this bill." I would love to know how he would vote, at the very least! Oh, politicians.
Update: May 12, 2012. Toby's Act unanimously passed the vote today; now, it's either directly onto a third reading or into committee (though this isn't likely, because there is nothing to amend or discuss, since it was voted through unanimously). Good work, everyone!
Update: May 14 2012. It's onto Committee, at Cheri DiNovo's request. More on this later!