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April 23rd, 2019

New LGBTQ2 Loonie Misses the Mark

OTTAWA – The new LGBTQ2 coin out today recognizes the 50 years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada with the word “Equality”, however the 1969 date it commemorates marks a date with little or nothing to do with equality for members of the LGBTQ2+ community.

“By now, Canadians are accustomed to a Liberal government more concerned with symbols than action, but in the case of the new LGBTQ2 commemorative $1 coin released today, even the symbol misses the mark,” said NDP LBGTQ2 Critic Randall (Garrison Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke).

While 1969 brought a partial decriminalization of homosexuality to Canada, most of the systematic persecution of the LGBTQ2 community continued for many years after 1969.

“Progress toward equality didn’t come as a gift from government, it only came by the community fighting back,” added Garrison. ”The new loonie that bears the slogan “Equality” would be more accurate if it said “50 years of fighting for equality.”

“After 1969, gay men still faced criminal charges under the reformed sections of the criminal code, including being subject to an unequal age of consent,” noted Garrison. “Some would argue that in fact discrimination against members of the LGBTQ2+ community heightened after 1969. Gay bath house raids, entrapment, and the government orchestrated purges of the Canadian Armed Forces, police, and the public service all continued well into the 90’s. Marking 1969 with the word ‘equality’ risks erasing the history of the struggles of the LGBTQ2 community.”

Sheri Benson, NDP Deputy LGBTQ2+ Critic (Saskatoon West) believes that there are far better dates to mark and celebrate for members of the LGBTQ2+ community.

“There are significant dates that people already look to when they think about winning the fight for equality in Canada. We could mark 1992 when LGBTQ2+ people were finally permitted to openly serve in the military, 1995 when the Supreme Court of Canada read sexual orientation into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 2003 when B.C. and Ontario Supreme courts ruled in favour of same sex marriage or finally 2017 when trans rights were added to the Canadian Human Rights Act,” added Benson. “All of those advances came about because the LGBTQ2 community went to court or lobbied Parliament to act to fight for equality, and we should not forget that fact.”