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Current Year Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

CAMH supports federal legislation to protect transgender rights

TORONTO, May 17, 2016 – The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto applauds Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s federal government for their action to include gender identity in the Canadian Human Rights Act. 

“CAMH welcomes this legislation and the growing momentum to recognize and protect transgender rights,” says Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of CAMH. “We know that people in the LGBTQ2S community, especially youth, are at higher risk of mental and emotional distress and that the experience of discrimination and violence directly contributes to and compounds these issues. We stand behind this effort and support justice and equity for transgender Canadians.”

To mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Canada’s federal government introduced legislation to secure legal and human rights protection to transgender individuals across Canada.

Dr. Alex Abramovich, CAMH Independent Scientist and leading expert on LGBTQ2S youth homelessness also welcomes the news. “As someone, who has had to fight so hard not just for what I am most passionate about in this world, the rights and safety of LGBTQ2S youth, but also for my own identity, just to be able to be myself in this world, I am filled with gratitude on this day because I live in a country where my rights as a trans person, are now protected, by law.”

Over the past decade, Dr. Abramovich has worked closely with municipal and provincial governments to help address the needs of LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness. “We know that LGBTQ2S youth are overrepresented amongst the homeless youth population, making up 25-45 per cent of homeless youth, but that they are underrepresented in homeless shelters,” says Dr. Abramovich. “Due to widespread homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination that is rarely dealt with, addressed, or even noticed.” 

His research is not only increasing understanding and awareness about this issue, it’s leading to changes in policy. On February 1, 2016, Dr. Abramovich’s research and leadership contributed to the opening of Canada’s first transitional housing for LGBTQ youth at the YMCA’s Sprott House.


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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit or follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.

Media Contact:
Kate Richards
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
(416) 595-6015

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