Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invited mockery after posting in commemoration of the Trans Day of Remembrance and decrying the “lives lost” to transphobic crime despite no such murders having occurred in Canada.
November 20 marks the international Trans Day of Remembrance, an annual memorial that was first instituted in 1999 to commemorate the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. In Canada, multiple public vigils were organized by activist groups held across the country, including at Universities and City Halls in a number of provinces.
Like other world leaders, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to X (formerly Twitter) today to announce his observation of the date and denounce transphobia.
“Transphobia is unacceptable. Today, we remember those whose lives have been taken because of this hate, and we recommit to making sure that everyone can be who they are — openly and proudly, without fear,” he wrote.
But the post quickly attracted mockery as many noted that no such murders had occurred in Canada in recent years. In response to Trudeau’s post, some users piled into the comment section to sarcastically request he provide the names of the victims he was referring to.
“Okay. Name one,” Canadian journalist Eva Kurilova asked.
“Who are these Canadians whose lives have been taken because of hatred? Please list them off so they can be remembered,” non-partisan advocacy organization Canadian Women’s Sex-Based Rights said.
A Community Note providing context has now been proposed on Trudeau’s post, noting that there is “no evidence” to demonstrate a murder having been committed in Canada with transphobia being the motivation.
Other users noted that the last recorded instance of a transgender person being murdered in Canada was in 2019 with the death of trans activist Julie Berman.
Berman, a male who identified as a woman, was murdered in Toronto by Colin Harnack, a sexual partner and friend, after the two engaged in a physical altercation over crack cocaine. Berman’s gender identity was not a factor in the killing.
Anna Slatz, the co-founder of pro-woman outlet Reduxx, noted that there were currently more trans-identified males in prison for raping children than there had been trans-identified males murdered since the death of Berman.
In subsequent replies, Slatz clarified that she was referring to Adam Laboucan, a transgender sex offender currently serving a rare indefinite sentence for raping a 3-month-old baby.
Laboucan is currently serving his sentence at the Grand Valley Institution for Women, a facility with a mother-baby unit. According to inmates within the facility, Laboucan, along with another transgender pedophile imprisoned at the institution, has been caught “leering” at the infants in the unit while they are being cared for.
She also noted that there were other trans-identified males currently incarcerated for raping children, with three known to be serving their sentences in women’s institutions in Canada.
Another, Frederick “Carissa” Radcliffe, is also serving an indefinite prison sentence due to the risk he poses to public safety after raping a young girl until she was incapable of walking.
A third, Madilyn Harks, is a serial pedophile who has been described as having “all-encompassing preoccupation in sexually abusing young girls.” Authorities believe he targeted at least 60 victims before being charged for approximately 200 offenses related to sexual abuse.
According to Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT), there have been 11 transgender people murdered in Canada since 2008, but gender identity was not a factor in the vast majority of the cases.
Of the deaths, there is only one where the victim’s gender identity was suspected – but never confirmed – to have been related to the killing.
The list also includes some whose deaths are not classified as murder, such as the police shooting of non-binary poet Dani Cooper in British Columbia. The North Vancouver RCMP officer involved in Cooper’s death was cleared of wrongdoing after witnesses verified that Cooper had been advancing to stab him with a kitchen knife.