FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Nathalie Chiasson, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia:

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is held every year on May 17. It is an opportunity to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT) and to oppose homophobia and transphobia, which is disdain for transgender or transsexual individuals.

In New Brunswick, the Human Rights Act was amended in 1992 to prohibit discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation. In addition, as a result of case law, discrimination against transgender, transsexual, and intersex (hermaphrodite) people is deemed to be a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited.

By observing this day for the past 12 years, New Brunswick has followed the lead of Canada and other countries around the world in recognizing the innate dignity and uniqueness of each individual. It is our responsibility to respect the rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in New Brunswick in all aspects of their lives, including health, safety, employment, and housing, in order to prevent any form of discrimination against them.

I encourage all New Brunswickers to create awareness of the importance of maintaining harmonious relations among those around you, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and to promote the inclusion of all members of our society.

Since 1967, the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission has protected and promoted the values associated with human rights, such as respect, appreciation for diversity, and absence of discrimination. The commission will turn 50 in 2017, a year that will be a focal point for expanding recognition of the basic principle that all human beings are equal in dignity and rights.