Marni Panas helps bring change to the Alberta Human Rights Act

How a transgender woman’s quest to live authentically benefited more than herself

Marni Panas, transgender rights advocate, edmonton, alberta, legislature
Photo by Blaise van Malsen

For much of her life, Marni Panas was good at keeping a secret: that she was female but had been assigned male at birth. She lived in a small town where she says such things weren’t discussed, and during a time when there really wasn’t the language to do so anyway.

But as she became an adult, and a spouse and parent, she realized she could keep that secret no longer. She had to be who she was; that is, she needed to live what she considered an “authentic” life. So, in her 40s, she began the process of transitioning.

Today, Panas is known as one of Alberta’s, if not one of Canada’s, most vociferous and fearless advocates for transgender rights – and one of the key members of a group that helped protect those rights in provincial legislation.

While she’s accomplished much, but knows much remains to be done. For her, that’s the reward and price of living as true to herself as possible. Read the full story at