Gay Rights in Canada 101

Oh Canada, you’re the best.

No, really, you’re just awesome.

True North strong and free! You’ve got poutine, maple syrup, overlyapologetic people, and some of the best human rights protections in the world.

And also, it's very cold.

Very, very cold! Growing up in Canada I always felt a certainlevel of comfort and safety when it came to my sexuality.

Maybe that’s because I grew up near thehomo-hub that is Toronto, but it goes without saying, Canada is oneof the better places in the world to be lesbian, gay, and bisexual.

But it wasn’t always that way.

This video is part of my 101 series, whereI take a look at a little bit of history into an LGBT related event or issue.

So without further ado, let’s take a lookback at a bit of history from Canada’s gay movement.

Back in the early and mid 20th century, engagingin same-sex activity didn’t mean you were gay or lesbian, it meant you a sex offender.

As such, you were treated like a sex offender.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or RCMP,would commonly keep tabs on people who went to gay bars.

Which is ironic because gays and lesbianswent to those bars to feel a sense of save haven and community.

There’s actually a long history of the RCMPworking alongside FBI.

It wasn't uncommon in the 50s and the 60s,for the RCMP to notify the FBI when someone who they thought was engaging in same sexactivity crossed the U.



So it actually wasn’t until 1967 that Trudeau- no not that one – Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau proposes an amendment that would relaxthe laws against homosexuality.

Trudeau is famous for his parliamentary quote "Take this thing on, uh, homosexuality.

There's no place for the state in the bedroomsof the nation.

" It was a huge deal, because no other politicalfigure at that time had even gone near the topic of homosexuality in a positive light.

To be fair, he followed his parliamentaryquote by saying that although the state had no place in the bedrooms of the nation.

"what's done in private doesn't concern thecriminal code.

When it becomes public, that's a separatematter.

" Homosexuality in public was a separate story.

Okay so, back to the amendment.

The proposed amendment was proposed as partof an omnibus bill, and an omnibus bill it's basically just a bill that includes a varietyof topics and they're all unrelated.

It was called Bill C-150, and it decriminalizedhomosexual acts between two consenting adults over the age of 21.

Alright so, we’re making progress, we'removing forward.

Get this though, a Catholic political groupbased in Quebec held up debate of the Bill three weeks after it was proposed.

They believed that communism, socialism, andatheism were behind the indecency of homosexuality.

I’m happy to report, though, that the gayagenda was clearly alive and well in 1969.

Two years after the decriminalization of homosexuality,200 gays and lesbians did the unthinkable – they publicly protested.

The protest was called We Demand, and it tookplace on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Protesting for gay rights was not somethingthat people did at that time, because homosexuality was synonymous with being radical.

Although it was pouring rain, those 200 Canadiangays and lesbians protested for federal protections for homosexual people that we enjoy today.

Many of those people came on buses from citieslike Toronto and Montreal, stood out in the rain for hours, publicly protested somethingthat was so controversial, majority of Canadians did not approve of it.

If that’s not bravery, I don’t know whatis.

However, no amount of protesting could stopthe infamous 1981 Toronto Bathhouse Raids.

Labelled as Operation Soap, the raid saw 160police officers rush four of Toronto’s most prominent bathhouses.

There were 286 men arrested.

The man inside the bathhouses later reportedthat the police subjected them to verbal and physical abuse.

It was a huge turning point, yes for the gaycommunity in Toronto, but also for Canada as a whole.

Just a couple days after the raids, over 4000gay and lesbians stood at Queen’s Park to demand an inquiry into the raids and ontothe police.

It was the bravery of those gay and lesbianCanadians that allows someone like me to walk down the same Toronto street and not feelfear when I'm holding my boyfriend's hand.

It was the same fight that pushed for the1995 inclusion of “sexual orientation” into the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It’s the same fight that lifted the federalban on homosexuals in the military in 1992.

It’s the same fight that prompted the SupremeCourt of Canada to give same-sex common law couples equal rights in 1999.

And it’s the same fight that brought nation-widemarriage equality in 2005.

While there have been a lot of changes inCanada coast to coast to coast, one thing has always stayed the same.

Change happened because brave gay, lesbian,and bisexual Canadians stood up and fought for change.

But this is not to say that we have nothingleft to improve on.

Yes, we have marriage, but that’s not theend of gay rights.

For one, we still have large-scale homophobia.

Just this past June, Macleans reported thatSteinbach, Manitoba, which is 60km away from Winnipeg, is the most hostile environmentto be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender here in Canada.

Within the school division of Steinbach, anystudent who inquires about same-sex relationships or gender identity is pulled aside, promptingthe teachers to inform their parents.

This dangers young Canadians that may feelthat they don't live in an environment in which it’s safe to be openly LGBT.

On top of that, every young LGBT Canadianthat Macleans spoke to reported having suicidal thoughts in the last year.

Secondly, Health Canada recently announcedthat MSM, or men who have sex with other men, are allowed to donate blood after a 1 yeardeferral period.

That mean’s you can’t have gay sex.

This is down from Canada’s 5 year deferralperiod that we've been used to for the last few years.

So, you want my blood, but only after I stophaving sex for 365 days.

Isn't there a word for that, I think it'scalled.

oh right it's called discrimination.

Canada has to rise up to the challenge andget rid of discriminatory blood donation laws that work to prevent gay men from donatingtheir blood.

Or, did you know that aside from Ontario andManitoba, gay conversion therapy, or “reparation therapy” is still legal in Canada.

It’s “therapy” that basically believesyou can get rid of same-sex desires using faith-based or secular-based treatments.

Last year, Global News reported that a handfulof faith-based groups that offer conversion therapy are still registered with the CanadaRevenue Agency! That means that your tax dollars reimbursetheir donors.

There’s a reparation therapy group basedin British Columbia called Journey Canada, and they received over 400,000 dollars inreceipted donations last year.

Conversion therapy on minors is especiallyworrying because it can lead to increased feelings of depression, anxiety, and suicidalthoughts.

Not to mention the shameful tactics of conversiontherapy can give higher risks of drug use and homelessness.

It took the bravery of those gay, lesbian,and bisexual Canadians that brought us the legal and social change that we enjoy today.

From this point forward, Canada’s biggestchallenge in gay rights will be getting back to a point where we demand change.

Where we say that what's going on right nowis not okay, there is always room for social change.

Thank you guys so much for watching this videoand I hope you learned something about gay rights and the gay rights movement here inCanada.

I will see you beautiful people in my nextvideo, make sure to comment, rate, subscribe, but most importantly, SMILE, bye guys!.

Source: Youtube