November News Briefs

Unifor Stands in Solidarity for World Toilet Day 2023

On Sunday, November 19, Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, stood in solidarity with the global movement to show their support for World Toilet Day. The movement addresses issues of safe and inclusive washroom facilities for everyone, including women and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. 

The United Nations estimates three billion people will continue to live without access to safe toilets in 2030. Additionally, two billion people will not have access to safe drinking water and 1.4 billion will lack basic hygiene spaces.

Unifor shared a statement for World Toilet Day stressing that access to clean spaces is an important right to uphold: “Safe and clean washrooms are not just about physical safety; they symbolize our belief in dignity, respect, and equality for every individual, regardless of their gender identity or expression.” They also highlighted that the importance of access to safe and clean washroom facilities was a main point of discussion during the board membership consultation for the 2023 to 2026 Unifor Bargaining Workers’ Power campaign, and that harassment of the LGBTQ2S+ community should not be tolerated.  

British Columbia Nurse Faces Backlash for Making “Discriminatory” Statements about Transgender Communities

A nurse in British Colombia faces allegations of unprofessional conduct for making multiple “derogatory and discriminatory” public statements about transgender people. On November 6 and November 7, Amy Hamm underwent cross-examination during a disciplinary hearing by the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives. 

Between July 2018 and March 2021, Hamm made several social media posts, essays, podcast appearances, and videos where she denied the gender identities of transgender women. In these posts and appearances, Hamm referred to transgender women as “men” and argued that they are a danger to cisgender women and children. Many criticized Hamm for making statements that could potentially discourage transgender people from seeking health care—a community that is already weary of medical staff. 

Early this month, Hamm testified during her disciplinary hearing that she is not transphobic but aims to prevent transgender women from accessing resources that were created for cisgender women. Due to the ongoing discipline process, Hamm no longer identifies herself as a nurse in online biographies. 

Rise of Anti-Transgender Violence and Laws in 2023

According to a report published in 2023, violence against transgender communities has been on the rise since last year. Since last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, 2022, 33 transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals have been killed in the United States. Twenty-six of those individuals were killed in 2023. 

Reports from Homeland Security showed a rise in attacks on members of the LGBTQ2S+ community including bomb threats targeting schools, hospitals, and libraries. More than 500 anti-LGBT bills targeting the transgender community were introduced to state legislatures in the US, of which more than 80 were passed into law: a record-breaking number according to the Human Rights Campaign

Presently, 16 US states have prohibited gender-affirming care for people under the age of 18. Utah was the first state in 2023 to introduce a law banning puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery for transgender minors. Many activists state this is a huge step back after years of progress in the advocacy of rights for the LGBTQ2S+ community. 

Museum in UK Re-labels Roman Emperor as a Transgender Woman

In November 2023, North Hertfordshire Museum, located in Hitchin, a town north of London, United Kingdom, made the decision to relabel the Roman Emperor Elagabalus as a transgender woman. The museum made this decision after research revealed that the ancient Roman emperor was asked to be referred to as “lady.” 

Issued in August 2023, Kieth Hoskins, an executive member for Enterprise and Arts at North Herts Council, made a statement regarding the display. “We try to be sensitive to identifying pronouns for people in the past, as we are for people in the present, it is only polite and respectful,” he says. “We know that Elagabalus identified as a woman and was explicit about which pronouns to use, which shows that pronouns are not a new thing.”

According to a statement on the museum’s website made in November 2021, experts say the emperor was born a male but identified as a woman in her teenage years. The emperor was reported to frequently wear wigs and makeup, making her one of the most controversial Roman emperors. 

The museum will now refer to Elagabalus, who ruled from 218 to 222 AD as a trans woman with the pronouns of she and her.

News Editor (Volume 48 & 50) — May is in her final year of undergraduate studies and is on her way to graduating with a double major in Criminology and Sociology. With more than 50 published articles, May has a wealth of experience writing for The Medium. May has also served as News Editor in Volume 48. She believes that news journalism is not just a privilege, but an important responsibility to report the unbiased truth.


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