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Transgender sports participation to mark historic milestone

OTTAWA (TORONTO), Aug. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Fusing together a boat of various genders has become much easier in 2014, as the 5‐person rowing team, "Team TRANSfusion," from Toronto's Hanlan Boat Club makes a splash of a whole new kind at a marathon in Ottawa this Sunday, marking a new milestone on the journey to equality in the world of sports.

Many sports have not been the most welcoming for Transgender individuals, however recent legislative and human rights code changes are slowly changing the cultures that for too long have presented barriers. In 2012, Toby's Act was championed by MPPs, Cheri DiNoVo (NDP), Christine Elliott (PC), and Hon. Yasir Naqvi (Liberal) who joined forces to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to prevent discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. An ignited enthusiasm is emerging for many Transgender athletes, who have often felt targeted or excluded from playing their sports of interest, and on Sunday, August 24th, groundbreaking Trans athletes Enza Anderson and Savannah Burton will become the first in Canada to participate in a rowing marathon as part of the TRANS‐fusion Team.

"Athletes are not responsible for securing their own right to compete in sports, but it is the responsibility of governing organizations to create environments that are welcoming, safe and inclusive for everyone to fully participate at all levels," said Savannah Burton, Team TRANS‐fusion member and actress (Beauty and the Beast).

"By becoming involved in rowing, we hope to show youth who are Trans not to fear participating in sports, and to remind Canadian sporting organizations to ensure their rules, policies and guidelines comply with essential Human Rights principles and legislation," added fellow Team TRANS‐fusion member and well‐known former Toronto Mayoral Candidate/Trans Activist, Enza Anderson.

The historic race will take place at the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club (ONEC) located at 501 Rockcliffe Drive (just east of the Rockcliffe Lookout) on Sunday, August 24th, 2014, with the half marathon beginning at 8:00am and a special ceremony to acknowledge the occasion from 11‐11:30am.

Special guests Hon. Madeleine Meilleur (MPP, Ottawa‐Vanier and Attorney General for Ontario), Hon. Yasir Naqvi (MPP, Ottawa‐Centre and Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services), Michael Walker, President of Rowing Canada Aviron, and Jennifer Birch‐Jones, LGBTQ Sports and Trans Policy Leader will each be speaking at the ceremony, along with Helen Kennedy, Executive Director of Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, who is also this year's Grand Marshall in the Ottawa Pride Parade which takes place later that afternoon.

Media are invited to join at 7:45am for the half marathon, or at 10:45am for the ceremony and refreshments. For further event information, please visit the Crowdfunding Website, For additional Trans or LGBTQ policy information, please contact Bryn Hendricks at [email protected].


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