The New Year is a time for reflections and resolutions. On that note, I decided to reflect on my PinkPlay blogs from 2015 and see if I could discern any themes that could become the basis for a New Years’ resolution.

It didn’t take long to realize that many of my blogs this year had an underlying theme – discrimination. I blogged about LGBTQ access to IVF funding, government forms becoming gender neutral, the legalization of same-sex marriage around the world, and the addition of gender identity to the Canadian Human Rights Act. I blogged about whether a doctor could refuse to treat patients because of their sexual orientation, and about a proposed B.C. law school that wants to exclude gay students on religious grounds. I heralded the progress being made to advance LGBTQ rights on judicial, systemic and legislative levels. Although there is more to be done, there is no question that LGBTQ rights are moving in the right direction, and discrimination is increasingly being sanctioned.

As barriers that affect each of us continue to erode, we have a collective responsibility to help others who continue to experience discrimination, and to avoid becoming perpetrators of discrimination ourselves. And that, my friends, is my proposal for your New Years’ resolution. Forget going to the gym or cutting back on the cookies. Instead, think twice when talking about a person with mental health issues – it is very easy to use words that are extremely hurtful and that fail to recognize that mental illness is truly a medical condition. Perhaps you are a silent bystander to racist jokes in the workplace. Maybe you tolerate the disrespect of an older person without even realizing that you would intervene if the person was younger. We all want to live happy and peaceful lives, and to be treated fairly despite our differences. So I encourage you –nay, challenge you! – to keep your eyes peeled for discrimination, speak up and treat each other like it is the holiday season all year long.

Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!


Photo credit: Rosa Dik 009 — on & off via / CC BY-NC-SA

About the Author

Lisa Feldstein is the principal lawyer at Lisa Feldstein Law Office. She is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Guelph. Lisa practices in the area of Family Health Law™, which includes reproductive law, human rights, privacy, mental health and other health law matters. Lisa has presented at the 519 Church Street Community Centre and PFLAG Canada (York Region), and has been interviewed on Proud FM. She has helped many couples build their families through third party reproduction. Lisa has been teaching negotiation at Osgoode Hall Law School since 2010. She was recently awarded a 2014 Canadian Law Blog award for Best Practitioner blog, and a 2015 Precedent Setter Award.