Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, today I rise to pay tribute to Charlie Lowthian-Rickert. Charlie has done and continues to do exceptional work to promote gender equality. In fact, Charlie is an 11-year-old trans-girl who wants to make the world a better place. She began identifying as a girl by age three. Despite her youth, she is no stranger to transgender activism.
In 2015, Charlie came to Parliament Hill, along with many friends from the LGBTQ community, and spoke on Parliament’s steps to encourage senators to pass Bill C-279.
In 2016, Charlie participated in the United Way’s Path to Pride Campaign. And last August she was chosen as Grand Marshal of Ottawa Capital Pride, the youngest person ever to receive this honour.
Last spring, she joined the Minister of Justice in the foyer of the House of Commons to help announce Bill C-16. The bill, as you know, is intended to protect individuals from discrimination within the sphere of federal jurisdiction and from being targets of hate propaganda as a consequence of their gender identity or their gender expression.
This past fall, Charlie participated in a film about Bill C-16 in cooperation with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and she is currently working on a number of other projects to improve awareness about gender diversity and support Camp Ten Oaks and Family Services of Ottawa.
Charlie continues to visit churches, schools, organizations and agencies to encourage more children to be unafraid to use their voices and to help adults understand gender variance in children.
Today, on International Women’s Day, Charlie will be receiving a special award in recognition of her remarkable efforts. The Femmy Awards honour people located in the National Capital Region who have made outstanding contributions to the ongoing struggle for gender equality.
As Charlie grows up, she wants to continue advocating for transgender rights and may consider running to become a member of Parliament. Perhaps one day she’ll arrive in the Senate.
In her own words, Charlie says she has met people who don’t accept her for who she is, but “it’s probably because they don’t understand. They don’t know, and they don’t know how to react. So I’d like to teach them.”
I ask all honourable senators to join me in congratulating Charlie Lowthian-Rickert on earning this Femmy Award and thanking her for her tireless efforts to promote gender equality.