November 3, 2015
On October 19, a new opportunity emerged in Canada.
After almost a decade under a federal government with little interest in advocating for progressive change, we have new leadership in Ottawa. I am almost giddy with the possibility that they might—dare I say it—prioritize queer and trans issues, both at home and abroad.
While it’s true that Canada has been fairly consistent in supporting universal human rights for LGBTQ people, affirming our rights is simply not enough.
Today there are still more than 80 countries worldwide who continue to criminalize LGBTQ people, leading directly to harm, violence and often death for our communities – this is despicable and should not be tolerated by us.
Canada needs a concerted and ongoing response to legislated discrimination and public hate-mongering. Sadly, there are Canadian organizations and individuals who have not only mobilized against the rights of LGBTQ people in Canada, but have also promoted hatred beyond our borders, including encouraging the retention or adoption?of anti-LGBTQ laws in other countries.
Without action, our new government risks sending the message to political and religious leaders who adopt and advocate for these dangerous laws, that they can continue to do so with impunity.
QMUNITY is proud to be a member of the working group for The Dignity Initiative, a group of committed organizations and individuals who are inspired to advance Canada’s existing efforts to protect and promote these rights. It is time for Canada to step up our efforts and take bold, strategic actions, in collaboration with local community advocates, to champion LGBTQ rights at home and globally.
But let me be clear, by no means is the fight for human rights here at home finished.
In Canada, trans people continue to fight for explicit protection against discrimination, adequate health services, and access to documents reflecting their proper identity. Queer youth continue to face harassment and abuse, and high levels of homelessness and poverty, while our seniors fear re-closeting as they move into care homes ill-equipped for an out LGBTQ population.
Violence, criminalization and discrimination against queer and trans people requires ?more than marching in the pride parade (though I’m glad they do!) – we need a comprehensive, consistent and well-funded response from the Government of Canada.
I look forward to working with the new government to ensure they do just that.
Here is more information on our 22 recommendations to the new federal government.