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Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/03/01


Stacey Piercey is the Co-Chair of the Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights for CFUW FCFDU and Vice Chair of the National Women’s Liberal Commission for the Liberal Party of Canada. She discusses: fundamental rights and freedoms; implementation of fundamental rights and freedoms; the sources of violations of fundamental rights and freedoms; prominent transgender community individuals; real-life impacts of fundamental rights and freedoms denials; expediting the acknowledgment and instantiation of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of trans individuals and the transgender community around the world; and the regions progressing and regressing. 

Keywords: Co-Chair, Liberal Party of Canada, Ministry of Status of Women, Stacey Piercey, Vice Chair.

Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community: Co-Chair – Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights, CFUW FCFDU; Vice Chair National Women’s Liberal Commission at Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada (Part Three)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In terms of the rights arguments, what are the fundamental human rights and freedoms trans individuals and the transgender community deserve as human beings?

Stacey Piercey: I have heard all the reasons over the years as to why I should not have any special privileges as a transgender person. At the time when I began my transition, I didn’t want a handout; I needed a hand up to have equal access and opportunity. I suffered being on the outside of society. It was traumatic to know that I was no longer a human.

I did earn my right to be a woman and the respect that comes with my new gender. It is the law too. The courts can now decide on the concept of what is “gender identity and expression.” When I had to re-establish myself, it was difficult, especially when faced with outright discrimination. I heard the word “no” everywhere I went for years. Then the human rights movement started in Canada because there were many of us with similar problems. We were in a system that was unable to deal with a change in gender. It was a legal nightmare, and legislation was needed.

The government at the time wasn’t ready for me. I had complicated problems. I had issues in establishing my identity, and that held me back. I was in a situation where I was incredibly vulnerable, and people were able to take advantage of me. Today’s standards did not exist five years ago, let alone ten or twenty. I should have received help. Institutions that respect fundamental human rights should welcome us, correct past wrongs, and apologize. We all need to move on. I want to see transgender people in my community. My quality of life depends on the human rights that other people grant me as a transgender individual. I prefer to be equal.

2. Jacobsen: What does the implementation of these fundamental rights and freedoms imply for the wider global culture, especially in terms of their current treatment of trans individuals and the transgender community? 

Piercey: When the government here introduced and implemented transgender human rights, it did send a message of hope to all those who live in fear due to gender identity and expression. They know in Canada, I am considered an equal citizen with protections under the law. The concept has created a ripple effect around the world and, it sure has inspired transgender people to strive for and obtain similar rights in other places.

I believe countries that pursue inclusion policies are acknowledging a problem in society and are attempting to fix it so that all citizens feel safe to live their lives. As more transgender people come out and establish themselves these communities will thrive. I am always discovering new terminologies, identities and concepts as of late. It will take time to see our contribution to society. I know that I do bring a different perspective to the conversation. I find that nations which are progressive can introduce transgender right with ease. Our constitution, here in Canada, allows for human rights protections of groups. We are people. It was a big deal to add those few words to a piece of paper. It was an easy legal step and a problematic political accomplishment at the same time.

3. Jacobsen: What seems like the central set of sources for the violations of the fundamental rights and freedoms of trans individuals and the transgender community?

Piercey: I will speak from my experience. One violation that I deal with is sexism. It is so strange to watch it happening to me. I treat everyone the same. Then I get dismissed sometimes by men, and women do it too. It is never that I am transgender anymore as it is now a grotesquely overpriced bill, an excuse that doesn’t make sense or someone who pretends they don’t know me.

I get discrimination because I am LGBTQ. I see myself as a straight woman. I don’t get that one at all, yet it happens, and that makes me go to a pride parade. I do have great empathy towards others who are stigmatized or suffer to no fault of there own. To have a normal life and to think of retirement would be nice again.

Another form I see is fear of human rights violations, as it makes people nervous. This I when it isn’t about helping the individual solve a problem as it is more about not violating someone’s human rights. Professionals have no excuse as they are trained to do their job respectfully and cannot legally isolate you because they disagree with your gender identity or expression. It is usually an error in judgement, inadequate training and not malicious. I spotted this fight or flight reaction when I had to say, that the problem is, I am transgender.

4. Jacobsen: Who are some prominent trans individuals who truly set the framework of the modern discussion around trans rights and inclusion of the transgender community into the mainstream cultures? 

Piercey: There are many prominent transgender individuals in all aspect of society. I refuse to name anybody. I have a soft spot for all those I met in person. I call them all my brothers and sisters and others. They are leaders in their fields and their communities too. They have all fought their own battles, I have gotten to know many of them well over the years, and they are like family to me.

Here in Canada, it was each one of us that contributed to this human rights fight. It wasn’t a heroic battle. It was about individuals standing up and saying this was wrong. Enough of being taking advantage of because we are transgender. I decided I couldn’t live in fear and I stepped out of the closet. My friends and I all supported each other, and I was never alone.

5. Jacobsen: What are the real-life impacts of the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms of trans individuals in countries around the world? 

Piercey: It isn’t a difficult concept to have respect for others. Transgender people are easy targets because they are a vulnerable segment of the population. I wouldn’t travel to a place or work where people are not respected. I don’t believe I am alone in thinking this way. Nobody is comfortable supporting oppression of fundamental rights and freedoms. Transgender people are the preverbal canary in the coal mine for human rights around the globe. That is where Canada has had an impact on other countries. We are sharing our message of human rights. They know our story about what has happened here. They are watching and learning this new way of saying yes and resolving issues. Transgender people are out and very proud to be Canadian. They are influencing change in society.

6. Jacobsen: At the level of the United Nations and human rights organizations, and international non-governmental organizations, what could be done to expedite the acknowledgment and instantiation of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of trans individuals and the transgender community around the world? 

Piercey: There are declarations by international organizations that call for fundamental human rights. Governments are changing the laws of their countries to accommodate these protections. Corporations are implementing policies, processes and procedures into everyday operations. I often see now medical advancements, legal victories and the establishment of social supports. Remember there was no infrastructure a few years ago, transgender people were in legal limbo, and nobody had to do a thing; as being neither male or female, could at any time, be used against you. It wasn’t easy, let me tell you.

As a new group of recognized people, we are currently having a conversation about the problems we all had and are now trying to fix them. I have learned more being outside of the transgender community as of late, and I bring that back with me every time I drop back in. It is nice to be accepted so openly by other groups as well.

I think it is exciting times and can’t wait to see how this all unfolds. I do know that you will never solve every problem or grant everyone the same freedom that I currently enjoy. I believe education is vital. This world is getting smaller, and we are becoming one community. That is the future I plan to be a part of as a transgender person.

7. Jacobsen: In terms of fundamental rights and freedoms, what regions are progressing? Why? What nations are regressing? Why? 

Piercey: I can say that some nations are receiving more media attention dues to legal battles, policy debates and integration issues because of their transgender citizens. I think Canada is a leading example in comparison to some conservative-minded governments. Those tend to struggle more with human rights, valuing social policy and understanding inequality.

I know the younger generation that I met have less of a problem with gender identity or expression than what I remember from growing up. I recently read that twenty percent of the population now identifies as LGBTQ. That is double from what I ever heard. It blew my mind for a few minutes. I expect significant change in the years to come, and I am not worried about it. You can’t stop progress.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Chair – Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights, CFUW FCFDU; Vice Chair National Women’s Liberal Commission at Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada; Mentor, Canadian Association for Business Economics.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 1, 2019:; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019:


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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