Canadian Politician Comes Out as Gay, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Applauds His ‚Brave Words‘

Jim Watson explained that for most of his public life his „sexuality was not an issue,“ however, „in hindsight, not coming out sooner was a big mistake“

“There – I said it; or rather, wrote it. Those two words took me almost four decades to utter, but as they say, ‘Better late than never,’ ” the politician wrote in an op-ed in the that was published on Saturday.

Watson, who was elected to Ottawa City Council when he was 30, explained that for most of his public life his “sexuality was not an issue,” however, “in hindsight, not coming out sooner was a big mistake.”

The 58-year-old mayor also announced the news on Twitter, urging his residents and fans to read his op-ed, adding the hashtag #Pride.

“As I look back over my life, and in hindsight, not coming out sooner was a big mistake on my part,” he wrote in the op-ed. “Most of my friends who are gay are quite open about it, and many are in wonderful relationships or, in several cases, married. That leaves someone like me, who, while closeted, doesn’t fit either of these groups. Over the years, I told only two (gay) friends that I was gay, although I suspect most of my family and friends just assumed I was, but respected my privacy and never broached the subject.”

Watson concluded, “If I can be so bold as to offer one bit of advice to those still in the closet: Don’t feel pressured or rushed to come out, but don’t wait 40 years either. My reluctance has not allowed me to live my life as full of love and adventure as my gay friends who were bolder and braver than I ever was.”

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau responded to Watson’s announcement on Twitter, commending his courage.

“Brave words that I’m sure will inspire Ottawans – and all Canadians – to feel free to be themselves,” Trudeau tweeted. “Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jim.”

This isn’t the first time that Trudeau has supported the LGBT community in Canada.

In November 2017, he took steps to mend the nation’s previously fractured relationship with its own LGBT community.

In the House of Commons, he issued a lengthy, formal apology to gay Canadians who’d been fired from their jobs and the military during the Cold War.

Trudeau, who teared up as he spoke, also proposed a bill that would let courts expunge the records of people charged with crimes due to their sexuality and urged modern Canada to adopt “forward-thinking and progressive” ideals.

Canadian politician who said being LGBTQ is a ‘choice’ gets blocked

We’re not shedding a tear for Richard Decarie, a Canadian politician who was barred from the Conservative Party of Canada’s 2020 leadership race after — and perhaps because — he said that being LGBTQ+ is a “choice.”

According to , Décarie had submitted the required application, fee, and nomination signatures for the leadership race, and the party had interviewed him for the position.

On Twitter, Décarie told followers that the Leadership Election Organizing Committee provided him with “no reasons” for their rejection. “It seems my candidacy was viewed as a threat to the establishment of the CPC and to the kind of leader THEY want to select,” he added in his February 29 tweet.

He added: “True Blue Conservatives, including those with traditional values, are a major force within our Party.”

Cory Hann, a spokesman for the party, said that he couldn’t offer specific reasons for the Décarie decision, citing the confidentiality of the process.

Décarie aired his views on LGBTQ+ individuals in an interview on CTV’s Power Play in January after saying that the “real people” he meets agree that same-sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed.

At that point, his interviewer asserted LGBTQ+ people are “real people, too” and Décarie replied, “I think LGBTQ is a liberal term. I don’t talk about people that way.”

“I think it’s a choice, and how people are behaving is one thing. I think government has a responsibility to encourage the traditional value that we have had for the past years. That’s the kind of [socially conservative] issues that I would bring as a leader.”

Emphasizing his „so-con“ values, Décarie says „LGBTQ“ is a „Liberal“ term and that being gay is a „choice.“ #cdnpoli #ctvpp

Other Conservative politicians, including two of his competitors for the Conservative leadership role, criticized Décarie for the comments.

Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu said that Décarie’s comments were “unacceptable” and that she “will stand up for the rights and freedoms of every Canadian”.

And former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Peter MacKay tweeted, “Being gay is not a choice and nobody should be running for office on a platform to roll back hard-won rights.”

Décarie has a history of anti-LGBTQ remarks, points out: He tweeted in 2017 that LGBT-inclusive education “degenerates young minds” and that transgender children “do not exist.”

Canadian politician who said being LGBTQ is a ‘choice’ gets blocked

Famous Homosexuals from Canada

Famous gay Canadians is a list of famous gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who are from or raised in Canada. Famous gay men and lesbian women born in Canada include musicians Rufus Wainwright and Indie Rock duo Tegan & Sara. In addition to these gay and lesbian Canadian singers, there are also a multitude of gay Canadian actors, athletes, and other gay celebrities from Canada on this list of gay Canadians.

Famous Homosexuals from Canada

Gay Canadians We Love: Celebrating Pride, Canuck Style

Bring on the red, white and rainbow-coloured flags. As Toronto’s Pride Parade, the largest in North America, coincides with Canada Day this July 1, we’re anticipating float-loads of fun throughout the festivities.

And it seems fitting that the events would fall together, as it gives us a chance to celebrate great Canadians who are part of the gay community — people who have entertained, informed and inspired us through their nationality, their talents and their advocacy for LGBT rights throughout their careers.

Despite how far gay rights have come, there remain places in the world where people feel unsafe revealing their sexual orientation and identities. Let’s celebrate living in a country where people can be exactly who they are without being persecuted.

Gay Canadians We Love: Celebrating Pride, Canuck Style

WATCH: Ex-gay begs Canadian politicians to not ban therapy that ‘freed’ him from LGBT lifestyle

April 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) –  An ex-gay man, who formerly lived a life of homosexuality, drugs, and prostitution for 35 years, is calling on Canadian politicians to vote “No” to legislation that would ban “conversion therapy” designed to help LGBT people overcome unwanted sexual conditions. 

“If this bill passes there will be many others like myself who have come to the end of themselves, who have recognized their pain, who are seeking freedom who will never be able to find freedom,” said Keith Alexander in a video message jointly produced by Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) and LifeSiteNews.

Alexander related how he was delivered 9 years ago from what he describes as a life of “homosexuality and same-sex attraction.” He said he began to experience same-sex tendencies at the age of eleven, after repeated abuse by a family member. The abuse drove him to live a life of prostitution and drug addiction. 

Alexander related how in 2011 he delivered after “surrendering my life and asking Jesus into my life to be my Lord and Savior.” He noted how since his deliverance, his life has been filled with joy, and “has been the best nine years since my entire 57 years alive.”

His walk with Christ led him to live his life with “a community of believers who have nurtured me and supported me and I have also found a community of men who are willing to embrace me and show me what true love is all about.”

“No longer do I have to seek it; it’s just given to me and I am fulfilled and filled by it. It is the same love that Christ offers to all of those who seek him,” he said. 

Bill S-202, now before the Senate, would criminalize so-called conversion therapy, which it defines as: 

Any practice, treatment or service designed to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or to eliminate or reduce sexual attraction or sexual behavior between persons of the same sex. For greater certainty, this definition does not include a surgical sex change or any related service. 

Bill C-8, now before the House of Commons and tabled by Justice Minister David Lametti on March 9, is more reaching than Bill S-202. 

It will make it a criminal offence in Canada to: 1) cause a minor to undergo conversion therapy, 2) remove a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy, 3) cause a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will, 4) profit from conversion therapy, and 5) advertise conversion therapy.

In his video testimony, Alexander, who has been freed from his same-sex attraction, in clear terms said that if legislation banning “conversion therapy” becomes law, it will be detrimental to those who want help.

“These bills are designed to prevent the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from freeing those who are captive, are being held captive from the unwanted same-sex attraction and confusion of gender identity, which has plagued our youth and members of society today,” said Alexander. 

“If this bill were passed, I would not have had the opportunity to be free today. I am free today.”

“Members of Parliament and Senators, please say no to Bills C-8 and S-202,” pleaded Alexander. 

Jack Fonseca, director of political operations for CLC told LifeSiteNews that the story of Alexander is something that the mainstream media does not want people to hear.

“The dishonest media has been trotting out gay activist after gay activist and giving them a platform to claim that they were tortured by counselling for their unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion,” said Fonseca.

“The media accepts these stories uncritically, without any fact-checking whatsoever to verify if they’re even true,” he added. 

Fonseca said that in regards to conversion stories such as Alexander’s, the media “would have you believe he doesn’t exist either,” adding that they have been “spoon-feeding only one side of the story to the Canadian public,” regarding the stories of “de-transitioned transgenders and ex-gays.” 

CLC decided to specifically show these types of healing testimonies directly to the public and politicians.  Alexander’s story is the third video in a series designed to speak to “our elected officials and the Canadian public so that they can hear the other side of the story,” said Fonseca.

“Our goal with this video series is to bypass the biased media who refuse to tell the stories of people who benefitted from therapy or counseling to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion.  The fake news liberal media will not tell the other side of the story on “conversion therapy”, so we’re taking it straight to the legislators and the Canadian public”.

The first video released to combat the lies surrounding “conversion therapy” featured a Canadian man who had hormone injections and surgery to live like a woman for 18 years. In his video, Robert John Wenman asks Canada’s politicians to not ban counseling that he says saved his life. 

The case of KathyGrace Duncan shows that banning faith-based help could be detrimental in assisting those who want to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions. 

Duncan lived life as a “man” for 11 years before Christ’s healing power saved her. A recent LifeSiteNews video highlights her journey, as well as her plea, like Alexander’s, with Canadian senators to stop legislation that would ban the types of therapy that helped heal her.

 bill c-8, bill s-202, canada, conversion therapy bans, ex-gay, ex-gays, homosexuallity, keith alexander, same-sex attraction

WATCH: Ex-gay begs Canadian politicians to not ban therapy that ‘freed’ him from LGBT lifestyle

Justin Trudeau becomes first Canadian PM to visit a gay bar

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made history on Monday by stopping at a gay bar in Vancouver to mark the beginning of the city’s Pride week.

Trudeau took pictures and shook hands with patrons at the Fountainhead Pub — effectively becoming the first sitting Canadian prime minister to visit a gay bar.

Gay rights movement

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Gay rights movement, also called homosexual rights movement or gay liberation movement, civil rights movement that advocates equal rights for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendersodomy laws barring homosexual acts between consenting adults; and calls for an end to discrimination against gay men, lesbians, and transgender persons in employment, credit, housing, public accommodations, and other areas of life.

Ottawa ‘considering’ official apology for gay Canadians purged from military and public service

Martine Roy was 19 when she joined the Canadian military in 1981. The job had never really been on her radar, but her father thought it would be a good fit.

“I thought I was doing my country a favour,” she said in an interview. “I thought I was doing something good.”

Those presumptions didn’t last. Instead, Roy said, military brass suspected she was gay. She had a boyfriend at the time but had met a girl. During interrogations she admitted as much.

Her honesty didn’t pay off. Roy said she was dishonourably discharged from the military for being homosexual, just two years after signing up.

“You kind of feel dirty,” she said. “You were dismissed for something that’s very personal, you feel like you were seen almost naked.”

Roy isn’t alone. According to professor Gary Kinsman, hundreds, if not thousands, of gay and lesbian Canadians were kicked out of the military and public service beginning in the 1950s because their homosexuality was seen as a weakness that could make them vulnerable to the “enemy.”

“This is not just something that affected a couple of individuals here and there ,” he said. “This was systematic, sustained state practice over many decades.”

Kinsman and Roy are part of the “We Demand an Apology Network”. The group formed to ask for an official apology from the government for purging gay and lesbian Canadians from the military and public service.

Last year, the NDP took up the group’s cause, and introduced a motion asking the then-Tory government to apologize. The apology never came.

Then, earlier this week, the Liberal government signaled it is going to review the cases of Canadians imprisoned for being gay prior to 1969 for possible pardons.

Roy, Kinsman and other members of the group were pleased to hear the news, but want the government to go a step further and apologize to those kicked out of the military and public service.

“The government has started to do something good but it needs to really broaden and extend it,” Kinsman said.

Global News reached out to the federal government, and a spokesperson for the Minister of National Defence said the apology is being “considered.”

“The Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence are committed to the principles of equality and dignity for all,” Jordan Owens wrote in an email.

Roy thinks acknowledging past wrongdoings is key to upholding that principle.

“We’re telling everyone around the world how inclusive we are,” she said. “We have to come from the right place.”

Roy says her dismissal still affects her, but what happened to her caused her to become an advocate.

She works for IBM, representing Quebec for Pride at Work Canada.

Our top 25 most gay friendly countries in the world ?️‍?

“Which is the most gay friendly country in the world in 2020 Nomadic Boys?”

It’s a question we get asked a lot, which is why we initially published this article and have continued to update it every year. We can either look at it from our own personal perspective travelling as a gay couple, or from the point of view of LGBTQ locals by analysing a countries rights and laws.

Drawing from our wealth of experience from travelling to over 100 countries (including the ones in this list), along with our interviews with gay locals from each place we’ve visited, we have sat down to discuss, assess, review and discuss again what we think are the most gay-friendly countries in the world!

Why Andrew Scheer is Canada’s last anti-gay political leader

His endless dodges on queer rights are out of sync with both the country and the future of his party

Credit: The Canadian Press/Justin Tang; lukbar/iStock/Getty Images Plus; Francesca Roh/Xtra

The question nagged Andrew Scheer for the entire election campaign—two months of deflection and avoidance. And on November 6, fresh from his first caucus meeting and just weeks after his loss to Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, the Leader of the Opposition stepped out to a throng of reporters on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and faced it once again: “Do you believe that being gay is a sin?”

By that point, Scheer had the dance fully choreographed—the tiptoeing around his personal views, the dip into party stances, the impassioned promise to support equality. “We made it very clear during the election… that our party is inclusive,” he said. “My personal commitment to Canadians is to always fight for the rights of all Canadians, including LGBT Canadians.” Behind him, a roar of applause and enthusiastic nods from Conservative party members, ardent supporters of the leader. Scheer flashed his trademark smirk, his cheeks dimpled.

Federal government asked Canadians if they’re ‘comfortable’ with LGBT people

The federal government measured how “comfortable” Canadians felt with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people playing significant roles in their lives, Global News has learned, part of what the government says was a preliminary assessment to better understand the challenges faced by Canada’s LGBTQ2 community.

And the answer, so far, is encouraging: 91.8 per cent of those surveyed in a mid-summer poll commissioned by the Privy Council Office said they would be “comfortable” if a next-door neighbour was gay, lesbian or bisexual and that 87.6 per cent said they would be “comfortable” if a neighbour was a transgender person.

“It’s really good to see the attitude of Canadians changing and being more open and inclusive,” said Helen Kennedy, executive director of the LGBTQI2S advocacy group Egale Canada. “We obviously have more work to do. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

READ MORE: Toronto Police Service hires first openly transgender officer

The Privy Council Office (PCO) is the federal department that supports the work of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and, at the time of the poll, housed the government’s LGBTQ2 Secretariat. That secretariat has since been transferred to the Department of Canadian Heritage and reports to Waterloo MP Bardish Chagger, tapped to be the minister of diversity and inclusion and youth.

The PCO’s weekly polling project involves asking Canadians more typical questions about the government’s performance, about their knowledge of government initiatives, and about the relative priorities of Canadians. For its poll during the week of July 26, the PCO included six questions to give the LGBTQ2 Secretariat some information about Canadian attitudes towards minority sexual orientations and gender identities.

How comfortable would you be in each of the following situations?

The poll found 90.5 per cent said they were “very comfortable” or “somewhat comfortable” with a gay, lesbian or bisexual boss versus 7.6 per cent who said they were “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable.”

The survey suggests Canadians were only slightly less accepting of a gay, lesbian or bisexual doctor — 88.2 per cent “comfortable” versus 10.2 per cent “uncomfortable” — though there were significantly fewer accepting of a transgender doctor — 79.9 per cent “comfortable” and 17.6 per cent “uncomfortable.”

“The separate questions regarding gender identity were deliberate given experiences of discrimination faced by many transgender people in Canada,” PCO spokesperson Stephane Shank said in e-mail Saturday. “The Government of Canada is committed to better understanding the challenges faced by LGBTQ2 people — that is why the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth has been given a mandate to consult civil society representatives of LGBTQ2 communities to lay the groundwork for an LGBTQ2 action plan that would guide the work of the federal government on issues important to LGBTQ2 Canadians.”

READ MORE: Deputy Conservative leader apologizes for comments on LGBTQ2 pride parades

Egale’s Kennedy had not been told that the PCO’s LGBTQ2 Secretariat was polling Canadians attitudes about LGBTQ2 people. She said she believes the government may have been trying to get a sense of how quickly it believes it can move to address issues identified by Egale and other LGBTQ2 activists.

“Within government, you know, with any political party, they want to know what the political risk is for embracing LGBTI issues,” Kennedy said in a telephone interview Saturday. “It’s always a political lightning rod that can be used against the community in any circumstance and can be used as a political football.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directed Justice Minister David Lametti, in the mandate letter Lametti received last month, to find a way to ban conversion therapy. And the Liberals, in the platform that won them the October election, vowed to end the restrictions men who have sex with men face if they try to donate blood.

READ MORE: U.S. trans activists try to stay hopeful despite political efforts to roll back rights

But, as Egale highlighted in its response to the recently published mandate letters given to every minister, there are many other issues of importance to the LGBTQ2 community. And, for now at least, the Trudeau government no longer has a special advisor for that community, a role played by Edmonton MP Randy Boissonnault in the last Parliament. Boissonnault lost his seat last month and Trudeau has not named a new special advisor.

The PCO poll has not been published but 120 pages of raw polling data on several topics was recently released to Global News as a result of a federal access-to-information request.

The contractor providing polling services for the PCO is Forum Research Inc. of Toronto. Forum surveys 500 Canadians every week using computer-assisted telephone interview technology in both official languages that reaches Canadians on both landlines and cell phones. The PCO selects or approves the questions to be asked, with input from other government departments.

Several of you asked us what the parties are promising LGBTQ Canadians. We answered.

Whether it’s same-sex marriage, the blood donation ban or Pride parades, issues affecting LGBTQ Canadians have been hot topics in this election. Several of you have about what the parties will do for LGBTQ communities.

The question of the federal leaders‘ stances on same-sex marriage became something of a flashpoint early in the campaign, when the Liberals released a 2005 video of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer speaking about it. In the video, Scheer was addressing the House of Commons when same sex-marriage laws were under consideration by Parliament.

Conservatives quickly pointed out Scheer wasn’t alone in his views and that Liberal Ralph Goodale voted in support of a heterosexual definition of marriage in 1999. Goodale has since said his personal views have evolved.

Scheer has not stated definitively that his personal views have changed, but has promised not to re-open the same-sex marriage debate if elected. 

So what are the parties‘ stances on LGBTQ Canadians? Here they are at a glance: 

Liberals

The Liberals are promising more funding for LGBTQ organizations to the tune of $10 million a year over three years, along with an extra $2 million for their recently launched 24/7 mental-health crisis hotline and sex-ed support lines.

They’re also promising to change the Criminal Code to ban conversion therapy — a controversial practice that tries to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

And they’re re-committing to ending the blood donation ban against men who have sex with other men. That’s a promise the party already made in 2015. A lifetime ban was lifted in 2013 and during Justin Trudeau’s time in government, the length of time male donors had to abstain from sex with men was reduced to one year in 2016 and then to three months.

For adoptive parents, including those who are LGBTQ, the party plans to introduce paid leaves of 15 weeks, as well as a $30 million investment to develop a national action plan on gender-based violence. 

Conservatives

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer says he’ll propose laws to protect LGBTQ Canadians and would support giving them the same rights as other Canadians when it comes to donating blood. Scheer has said he „would of course listen to the advice of medical experts on this very issue.“

New Democratic Party

The NDP promises to end the ban on blood donation against men who have sex with other men, calling for „behaviour-based screening rather than policies that discriminate against an entire sexual orientation.“

The party is also pledging to ban conversion therapy as well as enabling equal access to gender-confirming surgery, and making sure any related costs are covered by public health plans. 

The party promises a permanent path for resettling LGBTQ refugees and measures to reduce employment discrimination faced by LGBTQ people in the workplace, including updating the Employment Equity Act. They’re also vowing to bring a national action plan to end gender-based violence.

Greens

The Green Party’s platform promises access to gender-affirming health services such as hormones, blockers and surgery; and to allow trans, non-binary and Two Spirit people to change their sex designations on federally issued documents to match their gender identity.

The party also pledges to repeal federal laws that depict intersex in negative terms, establish funding for LGBTQ youth well-being, fund awareness programs to promote better understanding of sexual and gender identities and end the blood ban.

The Greens also say they intend to ban and condemn medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children and conversion therapy. And they say they’ll ensure the national census is reflective of gender identity and require accessible facilities in all federal buildings. 

People’s Party of Canada

PPC leader Maxime Bernier has said his party won’t touch hot-button social issues such as transgender rights or same-sex marriage in its platform, but that candidates are free to express their own opinions on the topics. At least one candidate has publicly opposed B.C.’s sexual orientation and gender identity policy.

Bernier’s website says he voted to change the traditional definition of marriagethat the party has several gay candidates and staff who are gay. „We welcome them, not because we have a gay quota to fill, but because they share our principles and policies,“ he’s said. 

3/ Let me be very clear on this. Their sexuality, just like their gender or ethnicity, is IRRELEVANT.

Easier to find acceptance among Conservatives than in gay community, party supporters say

At the Conservative Party’s convention in Calgary in November, supporters queued up outside a chic lounge blocks from the convention centre. Music throbbed and lights flashed inside as the doorman stopped them: the party was full and the only way new people could get in was if somebody else left.

The biggest after-hours event at the Conservative Party convention last fall wasn’t Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s hospitality suite. Nor was it a shindig thrown by a major lobbying firm. The party everyone wanted to go to is one that, 10 years ago, many wouldn’t have imagined: one that celebrates the prominence and prevalence of gay Conservatives. Organizers call it the fabulous blue tent.

„I get more reaction from gay people“ who aren’t Conservative, says Fred Litwin, one of the organizers of the biennial fabulous blue tent parties, and president of the Free Thinking Film Society.

„Look, when I first started blogging under the name ‚gay and right‘ back in 2003 or 2004, I used to get three different types of email. I’d get [small-c] conservatives who were really pissed off that I was gay, I’d get gay people who were really pissed off that I was Conservative, and then I would get a whole bunch of gay people who are like, holy f–k, I found somebody [similar],“ he said.

For a party that saw most of its MPs vote against legalizing same-sex marriage in 2005, and which ran ads about Stephen Harper’s support for „traditional marriage,“ the difference is striking.

The first fabulous blue tent party in 2011 drew about 600 people, said Roy Eappen, one of the organizers, who helped front some of the money for the events. Thrown in a swanky suite at Ottawa’s Westin hotel, the party spilled out onto a balcony with a view of Parliament Hill. 

„I think people are very supportive and you know it’s funny, people have now started calling it an institution at conventions. After two times — it’s hilarious,“ Eappen said.

‚Vocal‘ on gay rights

The idea for the party started with Jamie Ellerton, a former staffer for Jason Kenney and a Conservative Party member since 2005.

Ellerton says it’s inaccurate to paint the Conservative caucus as the only one that was slow to recognize gay rights.

„If you look at how society has progressed on this issue, don’t forget that in the late nineties, the vast majority of the Liberal caucus voted against this when Jean Chrétien was prime minister,“ he said.

When the then-Liberal government passed the Civil Marriage Act in 2005, more than two dozen Liberals voted against the bill. 

Now, Ellerton and Eappen say, the Conservatives, fight for gay rights around the world. Baird has singled out individual countries for criticism over bills that would punish people for being gay or for fighting for gay rights.

„The government has been very vocal symbolically when it matters and tactically behind the scenes constantly looking to advance minority rights,“ including minority religious rights, Ellerton said.

„Yes, some historical NDP members were there in the very early days when nobody had time or were accepting of gays or lesbians. But this isn’t 1965 anymore. It’s 2013 and here you have gays and lesbians across the political spectrum, active in all parties, including in the Conservative Party and robustly so … So the fact that Liberals, and I think more particularly NDP, think that because you’re gay you’re a tax and spend socialist is disconnected from reality,“ Ellerton said.

Interests beyond rights

After a couple of high-profile teen suicides, attributed in part to bullying over the teens‘ sexuality, comedian Rick Mercer, who is gay, alluded to a gay cabinet minister and urged people in the public eye to come out of the closet.

„So if you’re gay and you’re in public life, I’m sorry, you don’t have to run around with a pride flag and bore the hell out of everyone, but you can’t be invisible. Not any more.“

Eappen suggests there’s a difference between being openly gay and doing interviews about one’s sexuality.

After all, Ellerton said, there are plenty of other issues for people to care about. The fight in Canada is more about how to take on bullying than pushing for equal rights.

7. Tammy Baldwin

Considered a pioneer amongst the US politicians, Tammy Baldwin has come a long way. The Wisconsin native has been actively involved in the political landscape since the early 90s, when she was elected as a member of the Wisconsin Assembly. She was already open about her sexual orientation at that time and went on to become the first gay person to be elected in the House of Representatives.

6. Barney Frank

As the first member of Congress to publicly announce his homosexuality in 1987, the U.S Representative from Massachusetts makes a point of consistently defending civil rights in America. As such, Frank is one of the most popular politicians amongst the LGBT community.

5. David Cicilline

This U.S. Representative of Rhode Island’s 1 st congressional district since 2010 is a firm believer in opening up the debate on gay rights in the country. In fact, his position as the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital during his time as the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, was highly encouraging for homosexual politicians.

4. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir

It’s one thing to be a pioneer in the local political landscape, but Jóhanna took courage and gay pride to the next level by openly admitting to her sexual orientation in 2009, whilst running for the post of Prime Minister in Iceland. Today, she’s the first female and lesbian head of government in the world, establishing herself not only as a political leader, but as an admirable role model for feminists and lesbians alike.

3. Annise Parker

It’s difficult to imagine what life must be like for an openly gay woman in Houston, Texas, but the odds seem to be growing in their favour ever since Annise Parker appeared on the political scene. As the first openly lesbian mayor of the city (elected in 2010), Parker has been fighting for social tolerance and civil rights in the largest U.S. city to elect a gay mayor.

2. Sean Patrick Maloney

This New York Congressman is not only openly gay, but also an incredibly charismatic politician. A family man at heart, Maloney has three adopted children with his long-time partner Randy Florke (they have been a couple since 1992). Therefore, the Canadian native focuses his agenda on promoting gay rights in America, such as legal marriage and adoption.

1. The most famous gay politician is Jared Polis

The Colorado Congressman is one of the most active advocates for civil rights in the U.S. since his election in 2009. With his Fearless Campaign in 2011, he encouraged political leaders to stand up for what the country truly needs, in spite of the political risk it may entail for them. The LGBT trooper, who is also extremely wealthy and donates fortunes to several causes, gears his political agenda around the topics of equal rights, education and immigration reform, and drug policy, amongst others. He is without a doubt one of the most famous gay politicians in America.

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‚I wouldn’t be running if I had any inkling … my sexual orientation wasn’t welcome in the party‘

As Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer continues to battle claims that he is intolerant of the LGBTQ2 community, an openly gay candidate for his party said today he is convinced Scheer’s thinking has evolved over time.

„We’re ready to go for the election and I wouldn’t be running if I had any inkling, whatsoever, that I wasn’t welcomed or my sexual orientation wasn’t welcome in the Conservative Party,“ said Eric Duncan, Conservative candidate for Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry.

As Scheer’s Conservatives try to build momentum for the coming campaign, the Conservative leader is being forced to clarify his position not just on same-sex marriage but on another divisive social issue: abortion.

The debate over Scheer’s views on same-sex marriage began last Thursday, when Liberal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tweeted out a 2005 clip of Scheer in the House of Commons explaining why he thought same-sex marriage laws under consideration by Parliament were not something he could support.

Scheer said same-sex marriages have many of the „collateral features“ of marriage but lack „its inherent feature“: the ability to naturally conceive children.

In Goodale’s tweet, he called out Scheer for his „lifelong boycott of Pride events“ and asked the Conservative leader to publicly state whether he still would vote to deny same-sex couples the right to marry today.

Scheer brushed that challenge aside, letting the party answer for him:

„Andrew Scheer unequivocally supports equal LGBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage as defined in law,“ the Conservative Party said in a statement. „He has advocated in the House for marginalized LGBTQ communities around the world.“

To be a leader for all Canadians, the Conservative Party leader should now end his lifelong boycott of Pride events and explain whether he would still deny same-sex couples the right to marry, as he said in Parliament. We need to know what Scheer’s position is: Joly

Scheer’s office reportedly pushed back, saying that sweeping description of party policy wasn’t entirely accurate, and Rayes was forced to issue a public statement.

„Andrew Scheer has always been clear: A Conservative government will not re-open this issue. He has delivered that message to all candidates and caucus members who have asked,“ Rayes said in the statement.

„The previous Conservative government was in power for 10 years, and there were no changes to the laws on this issue,“ he added, without saying whether backbench Conservative MPs would be permitted to introduce legislation to restrict abortion services.

Olympic synchronized swimming gold medallist Sylvie Fréchette, a Conservative candidate for the party in River-du-Nord north of Montreal, said on Twitter Monday that she has been assured the abortion issue will not be reopened by the party.

Je suis fière d’être candidate sous le leadership d’Andrew Scheer et de travailler avec notre lieutenant Alain Rayes, qui a toujours été clair avec moi : le débat sur l’avortement ne sera pas rouvert.

Scheer’s approach to the issue is similar to the one taken by former prime minister Stephen Harper in order to keep the socially conservative wing of his party onside.

Backbench MPs were allowed to introduce abortion bills but Harper and his cabinet did not cast a vote in their favour. All such bills ended up dying before becoming law.

For the Liberals, however, the prospect of any possible effort to restrict abortion is political ammunition.

„The reality is we need to know what Scheer’s position is on women’s rights and also on LGBTQ issues, because he’s been flip-flopping on this issue,“ said Liberal Tourism Minister Mélanie Joly.

„We need to make sure that he looks Canadians in the eyes and tells [them] exactly what he thinks in order to make sure that Canadians can make a choice on Oct. 21.“

Former B.C. MP Svend Robinson says there’s been much progress against discrimination since then

Robinson is now retired. But 30 years ago when the then-NDP MP for Burnaby-Kingsway became the first MP to come out as gay, Canada was battling the HIV/AIDS crisis. Fear of the disease, coupled with longstanding social stereotypes, meant homophobia was rampant. 

Today, there are LGBT elected officials across the country. They say it’s because of Robinson and others like him that they’re able to do their work.

But they also say they continue to face hatred and threats, and there is still work to be done to fight discrimination.

Here’s a short video of the broadcast news segment that aired at the time:

„Almost like a non-issue“

Despite those attacks, Chandra Herbert said pioneers like Robinson have made his job much easier overall. 

Robinson echoed that sentiment. Looking back on the past 30 years, he said he’s seen a lot of progress since he came out. 

He said he was especially moved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent historic apology to LGBT Canadians, which Robinson worked on as part of a committee. 

Whereas 30 years ago Robinson was part of „one of the most exclusive clubs in the world“ as a gay MP, today he frequently meets and speaks with LGBT elected officials. 

While Robinson acknowledges they still face discrimination, he said sexual orientation is „almost like a non-issue.“

„And that’s absolutely the way that it should be,“ he said.

Justin Trudeau visits historic Vancouver gay bar, shakes hands with patrons

“Vancouver is gearing up for #Pride weekend right now, but the spirit of pride and inclusivity is strong here all year long!” Trudeau wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to the folks at @fountainheadVAN for the warm welcome today.”

This is not the first time Trudeau has shown his support for Canada’s LGBTQ community with a historic gesture.

Vancouver is gearing up for #Pride weekend right now, but the spirit of pride and inclusivity is strong here all year long! Thanks to the folks at @fountainheadVAN for the warm welcome today.

In 2016, he became the first sitting prime minister to march in Toronto’s Pride Parade, the largest gay pride celebration in the country. And a year later, Trudeau publicly apologized to gay Canadians who were fired from their jobs and the military during the Cold War. He proposed the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act, which eradicated the records of Canadians previously convicted of consensual homosexual activity and which was passed last June.

The Canadian government also committed to paying $85 million to compensate victims of the so-called gay purge during this same session at the House of Commons in Ottawa.

“This is the devastating story of people who were branded criminals by the government — people who lost their livelihoods, and in some cases, their lives,” Trudeau said at the time.

Megan Hoskins joins slate of LGBTQ hopefuls that includes 6 NDP candidates and 5 Liberals

As the first Progressive Conservative candidate in Manitoba to be openly gay, Megan Hoskins doesn’t see herself as a role model blazing a trail, but she knows her nomination will matter to people.

„I don’t really consider my romantic preferences to be part of my political ideology, but if I can maybe inspire some younger LGBTQ members to take part in politics, I think, that’s a really positive thing,“ said Hoskins, 24.

Twenty years after Manitobans elected their first openly gay MLA in Jim Rondeau, this election campaign is the first time in provincial history where the three major provincial parties are fielding openly LGBTQ candidates.

It’s not a new feat for the New Democrats, who’ve had two of their LGBTQ candidates elected, nor the Liberals, who have picked numerous LGBTQ candidates, including the province’s first transgender nominee in 2016, but it is a first for the Progressive Conservatives.

„I was shocked, but it was a pleasant shock,“ said Rondeau, a former NDP MLA from 1999 until 2016, after hearing the news. 

„There was a big issue when I got elected. When Mr. [Glen] Murray got elected [as Winnipeg’s first openly gay mayor], it was a big issue. Now, it’s not a big issue.“ 

Hoskins, who works as an environmental lab professional in Winnipeg, said she hopes her candidacy in St. Boniface for the Sept. 10 election as a Tory, who just happens to be a lesbian, will demonstrate that the Progressive Conservatives are welcoming to all, as she’s experienced.

„I think it gives LGBTQ community members the opportunity to really pick their political party from their own perspective, and not just from social politics,“ said Hoskins, who will marry next year.

The Progressive Conservatives have made inroads with the LGBTQ community while in government. They’ve marched in Winnipeg’s Pride parade, promoted the event on caucus social media channels, and several MLAs have participated in the annual Pride Run. Leader Brian Pallister is only the second Manitoba premier to have attended the Pride march.

Craig Larkins says his sexuality as a gay man hasn’t come up when meeting Fort Garry voters as their Liberal candidate, and he doesn’t expect it to either.

Sexuality doesn’t define campaign

„I’m not running my campaign on the fact that I’m gay, but that doesn’t make me less proud of who I am either,“ said Larkins, who is on leave as the Manitoba Liberals‘ communications director.

He said it’s important to have LGBTQ representation on the campaign trail, regardless of party colours.

After being bullied for his sexuality as a youth, Larkins said he learned to harness those negative experiences and rise above it. He remembered that lesson when he spoke at community events as a TV weatherman.

„I knew somewhere in that crowd of kids, there was one or two that were just sitting there, going through exactly the same thing that I went through,“ he said. 

„Why I’m here today is I’m continuing that.… It’s a way bigger stage, and it gives me the opportunity to show anyone sitting at home, not just whether you’re questioning your sexuality or whatever is going on in your life, that just keep going and don’t let the bad stuff get in your way.“

Lisa Naylor, the NDP’s candidate in Wolseley, has been a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights. She fought for and won the right for her same-sex partner to be recognized by law as a legal parent of her child in the early 2000s.

She said it’s great that all three major parties are fielding an LGBTQ candidate, but it’s long overdue.

„It’s 2019, so it’s about time,“ said Naylor, a Winnipeg School Division trustee who works in community health. 

Naylor said she worries whether LGBTQ people are fully accepted within the Progressive Conservative party, citing long-standing criticisms like the party voting against anti-bullying legislation, which included permission to open gay-straight alliances, while in opposition in 2013.

„I really sincerely hope the person feels included and feels like they can find a space in their party,“ she said of Hoskins.

Rondeau says the province has come a long way in acceptance since his election 20 years ago.

„I think parties have changed. I think attitudes have changed,“ he said. „I’m one of those people who forgives.“

The NDP has six LGBTQ candidates vying for election next month, and the Liberals have five LGBTQ candidates so far.

A Brief LGBTQ+ Canadian History Timeline

1842– Patrick Kelly and Samuel Moore become Canada’s first men convicted of “homosexual sex between two consenting adults” (Lyons, 2016, para. 5). Convicted of sodomy, which, in Canada, carried a death sentence until 1869, the men were sentenced to life imprisonment; both later released regardless of the sentence (Lyons, 2016).

1949- Jim Egan starts writing newspapers and tabloids, as an openly gay man, “denouncing the way LGBTQ people were portrayed in the media and by the public” (Levine, 2018, para. 4).

1950s (starting)– LGBTQ individuals were seen as a threat to security for Military, RCMP, Government positions. According to ,

One of the challenges for the investigators was the inability to objectively ascertain whether an individual was gay or lesbian. A professor at Carleton University created a device that allegedly could aid in ‘scientifically” ascertaining homosexuality, a device the RCMP dubbed the ”Fruit Machine.” Thousands were affected. (para. 9)

Members who admitted to being LGBTQ were discharged from the Canadian Armed Forces, sometimes dishonourably. states “the Canadian Military only ended its official exclusionary policies in the early 1990s” (para. 16).

On November 28, the Government will offer a formal apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians in the House – for the persecution & injustices they have suffered, and to advance together on the path to equality & inclusion.

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 19, 2017

1953- Canada’s Immigration Act was amended to prohibit homosexuals from entering the country; was repealed in 1977 (CBC Digital Archives, n.d.).

1963- RCMP Directorate of Security and Intelligence’s A-3 unit, which had the goal of finding and removing all homosexuals from law enforcement and government, created a map with red dots where all alleged residences and frequent visitations of homosexuals. Map was disposed of, as it was filled with red ink; two larger maps were used and had the same outcome, therefore mapping ended. (Revolvy, n.d.)

1964- Canada’s first “gay-positive” organization, “ASK”, and first gay magazines: ASK Newsletter (Vancouver) and Gay (Gay publishing Company of Toronto) (, n.d.)

1965- Everett George Klippert was the last gay man arrested in Canada for gross indecency. He was originally detained over suspected arson, of which he was proven to be not guilty, however during his interview with the RCMP he confessed to homosexual acts. Due to previous charges, he was subject to a Crown-appointed psychiatrist and deems incurably homosexual and therefore a dangerous sexual offender. This was regardless of his partners being consenting adults, and regardless of his cooperative and honest nature with the entire judicial process. His arrest sparked the movement towards decriminalizing homosexuality. (CBC, 2016)

1967-1969- In 1967, Pierre Trudeau (as Justice Minister) introduced Bill C-150 which would decriminalize homosexuality. The bill was heatedly debated, but passed in 1969 by a vote of 149 to 55 (Burnie, n.d.). The bill was not limited to decriminalizing homosexuality but also included allowing abortion and contraception, regulating lotteries, gun possession, drinking and driving offences, harassing phone calls, misleading advertising, and cruelty to animals. Those opposed to the bill held up debate for three weeks and created a smear campaign against Trudeau, labelling him the “beast of Sodom”. Pierre Trudeau is infamously quoted as saying:

It’s certainly the most extensive revision of the Criminal Code since the 1950s and, in terms of the subject matter it deals with, I feel that it has knocked down a lot of totems and overridden a lot of taboos and I feel that in that sense it is new. It’s bringing the laws of the land up to contemporary society I think. Take this thing on homosexuality. I think the view we take here is that there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. I think that what’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code. When it becomes public this is a different matter, or when it relates to minors this is a different matter.” (CBC, 2012)

1971- At the “We Demand” protest held in Ottawa in 1971 – the first major demonstration of its kind in the country – protestors demanded an end to anti-gay laws and police harassment.

Photo : Jearld F. Moldenhauer (Canada Museum for Human Rights, n.d.)

1974- The first gay studies class taught at a Canadian university, “New Perspectives on the Gay Experience”, became publicly controversial. The publicity became problematic for the University of Toronto, also creating problems for its professor, Michael Lynch. Lynch was asked not to teach any more gay-studies courses. (Perdue, 2009)

1976- Montreal targets the gay community in an effort to “clean up” prior to the summer Olympic Games, “In the months preceding the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, the city’s gay village was effectively shut down” (Andrew Tompkins, 2015). Tompkins states “simultaneously, bath houses were raided in Ottawa – the imagined epicentre of Canadian political identity – in conjunction with Montreal’s efforts to clean up the presence of sexual deviance”.

1977- Emanuel Jaques, a 12 year old boy in Toronto, was violently sexually assaulted and murdered by a group of men. The details of the case were disturbing and the judge proceeding over the trial used it as an example of supporting homophobia, stating “There are those who seek protections for homosexuals in the Human Rights Code, you make me wonder if they are not misguided” (Bateman, 2016).

1977- Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Becoming the first jurisdiction, larger than a city/county to prohibit homophobic discrimination. (LegisQuebec)

1981- ‘Operation Soap’ also know as the Toronto Bathhouse Raids took place February 4thin 1981 and is consider to be a turning point in Canadian LGBTQ+ civil rights history. Toronto police raided four bathhouses and arrested over 250 gay men, the next night, over 3000 people protested to the arrests and the raids. This is often referred to as “Canada’s Stonewall”.

In 2016, The Chief of Police in Toronto issued an official apology to the LGBTQ+ community for the damage done during Operation Soap.

1983- The last bathhouse raid occurs in April at The Back Door Gym; 17 men are charged, and three days later more than 1000 people protest the raid. The warrant used in the raids was deemed invalid in October of 1984. (Gulliver, 2006)

1985- In June, five teenage boys brutally murdered Kenneth Zeller, a Toronto School Board secondary school librarian. The murder received extensive media attention, however the media downplayed the murder was driven by homophobia and instead highlighted it as male-teenage-bonding and social pressure. Grozelle (2017) states:

the murder of Zeller, by a group of young male students, can be seen as one example of the negative outcomes that can occur as a result of increased social resistance to, and stigmatization of, particular groups of people. In other words, past events in Toronto, and throughout Canada, displayed the conditions of acceptability in terms of discrimination and violence towards gay men.

1987- A sketch comedy show, CODCO, which has openly gay cast members, Greg Malone and Tommy Sexton, debuts on television; “in addition to the gay characters “Jerome and Duncan”, Sexton and Malone were especially renowned for drag-based impersonations of celebrity women” (CBC, n.d.).

1988- Svend Robinson, Canada’s first elected Member of Parliament to come out as gay; Canada’s first openly gay MP (, n.d.).

1988- The Kids in the Hall debuts, and features openly gay cast member, Scott Thompson. The character Buddy Cole was one of the most visible representations on Canadian television at the time (CBC, n.d).

1989- Montreal, in late March, Joe Rose was brutally murdered, for being gay. Rose and a friend, Sylvain Dutil, were harassed, taunted, and then attacked by a group of teens, who shouted homophobic remarks at them. According to Burnett (2015), “ravaged by HIV at the height of the AIDS crisis and grappling with homophobia, the community’s sense of being under siege was further complicated by anti-LGBT hate crimes and a string of unsolved murders” (para. 9).

1989- In Ottawa, August 21st, Alain Brosseau was “attacked by a group of teenagers who chased him, beat him, dangled him by his ankles over the side of the bridge and let him fall to his death[;] his attackers later said they mistakenly believed Brosseau was gay, which he was not” (CBC, 2009). The attackers broke into a home, after killing Brosseau, and attacked two men while they slept. Brosseau’s murder meant it could happen to anyone, regardless of how they identified. In 1991, two years after Brosseau’s murder, Ottawa Police services create Canada’s first LGBT Police Liaison Committee.

The third Gay Games were the first to take place outside the USA. It was the first to see Masters world records broken (in swimming). 27 countries sent 7,300 athletes participated in 27 sports plus 1,500 cultural participants. At the height of the AIDS crisis, the Gay Games doubled in size again and continued to serve as an inspiration. (Federation of Gay Games, 2018)

1990- Chris Lea, and openly gay politician, wins leadership of the Green Party of Canada, making him the first openly gay leader (CBC, n.d.).

1993- “The Last Closet” airs on CBC Radio-Canada, as an hour-long groundbreaking special about gays in sports. The show discussed the fear around coming out in sports and featured two prominent Canadian athletes, who use voice distortion to hide their identities. (Buzinski, 2011)

1995- Egan v. Canada. Jim Egan and Jack Nesbit, his lifelong common-law partner, brought the case forward when Jack was denied spousal allowance as a common-law partner when Jim started receiving his old-age security (Findlay, 2018). They lost the case, however it was this case that brought forward the injustice to LGBT couples.

1996- Bill C-33, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, was enacted, which included sexual orientation as one of the Act’s prohibited grounds for discrimination (Hurley, 2007). The amendment brought the federal Act in line with the provinces and territories, except for Alberta which did not have sexual orientation as protected at that time.

1998- Glenn Murray becomes the first openly gay elected mayor in any North American city. Murray, as quote by Thacker (2015), on being elected:

I’ll never forget the moment that I got elected, and the sense of impossibility. We stayed up until the first newspapers came out to see that we’d actually won the mayor’s job, because I don’t think I believed it until I actually saw it in print. When I got elected, I’ll never forget all these police cars showed up; there had been so many death threats that we all had to move away from the windows in the campaign office, they covered them all and put brown paper up, and it was a moment of sitting in the darkness there thinking, ‘Yeah, this is going to be a tough time.’ You cannot live your life for the people who hate you and the things you’re afraid of … too many people are intimidated by fear and intimidated by hatred.

2000- Little Sisters v. Canada Customs. Little Sisters Books launched a constitutional challenge over its treatment at the hands of Canada Customs, which had been delaying and hold shipments from the US. The Book and Art Emporium claimed Customs was purposefully targeting them. The Supreme Court agreed the actions by Canada Customs were targeting Little Sisters and Justice Ian Binnie stated “when Customs officials prohibit and thereby censor lawful gay and lesbian erotica, they are making a statement about gay and lesbian culture, and the statement was reasonably interpreted by the appellants as demeaning gay and lesbian values” (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, 2014).

2000- A women’s bathhouse event in Toronto is raided, however no charges are laid against costumers, and charges laid against event organizers are delayed. The police officers involved in the raid were all men,

2003- The Court of Appeal for Ontario, in Halpern v. Canada, rules the common law definition for marriage, as between one man and one woman, violates section 15 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; “the decision immediately legalizes same-sex marriage in Ontario, and sets legal precedent” (CBC, n.d.). Same-sex marriage is now recognized by the courts. To read more about Halpern v. Canada.

2005- The Civil Marriage Act legalizes same-sex marriage across Canada. Paul Martin, Canadian Prime Minister, describes his view on the context and reasons for the passing of the Act:

2005- Allison Brewer wins leaderships of NDP for New Brunswick, and Andre Boisclair wins leadership of Parti Quebecois for Quebec. Both are openly gay.

2006- The largest-ever international conference on LGBT issues, 1st World Outgames, was held in Montreal. The Declaration of Montreal was endorsed by the participants. Over 1500 people from more than a hundred countries attended. (Declaration of Montreal, 2015)

2007- 103.9 Proud FM, Toronto, becomes the first commercial radio station to target the LGBT community (Mudhar, 2007).

2008- During a federal election campaign, David Popescu, running as an independent, made extreme homophobic remarks, telling a group of high school students homosexuals should be executed. He then repeated the comments in an interview with a Toronto radio station. Popescu was eventually charged and convicted with promoting hatred (May, 2009).

2009- Ritch Dowrey, a gay man, was assaulted and left with permanent brain damage by Shawn Woodward (Bellett, 2010). The assault took place in a well-known gay bar in Vancouver’s West End, the Fountain Head Pub; Woodward was hit from behind with no chance to defend the assault (Bellett, 2010). The judge ruled the crime was motivated by deep homophobia and hatred and sentenced Woodward to six years in prison (Bellett, 2010). The sentence was a signal that hate-crimes against the LGBTQ community would be taken seriously.

2010- Canada host’s winter Olympics in Vancouver, hosting an LGBTQ friendly Pride House.

2011- Jamie Hubley, teenage son of Allan Hubley and Ottawa city councilor, completes suicide after years of bullying at school for being openly gay ( Staff, 2011). Prompting Canadian media and political figures to post videos to the It Gets Better Project.

2012- The RCMP Release an official It Gets Better video featuring 20 participants.

2012- Jenna Talackova, following a legal battle to reverse her disqualification, becomes the first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe Pageant (CBC, n.d.).

2013- Bill C-279 An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity) passes, however it did not become law. The act was to include gender identity as prohibited grounds for discrimination.

2013- Edmonton Garrison raises rainbow colours for Pride Week.

2015- Bill C-279 is amended to exempt it from applying to public spaces which included washrooms and locker rooms. Helen Kennedy of Egale Canada Human Rights Trust said “The amendment to Bill C-279 fuels discrimination against transgender individuals by making it seem like people have something to fear by sharing a bathroom with a transgender person, which of course they don’t” (Amnesty International, 2015).

2017- In June, Bill C-16 receives Royal Assent, amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds for discrimination. The enactment amends the Criminal Code to extend protection against hate propaganda, as set out in the Act, to the section of the public distinguished by gender identity or gender expression.

2018– Canada host another Pride House at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea (Kalvapalle, 2018).

Gay rights prior to the 20th century

Religious admonitions against sexual relations between same-sex individuals (particularly men) long stigmatized such behaviour, but most legal codes in Europe were silent on the subject of homosexualityinvokedSharīʿah) in a wide range of contexts, and many sexual or quasi-sexual acts including same-sex intimacy were criminalized in those countries with severe penalties, including execution.

Beginning in the 16th century, lawmakers in Britain began to categorize homosexual behaviour as criminal rather than simply immoral. In the 1530s, during the reign of Henry VIII, England passed the Buggery Act, which made sexual relations between men a criminal offense punishable by death. In Britain sodomy remained a capital offense punishable by hanging until 1861. Two decades later, in 1885, Parliament passed an amendment sponsored by Henry Du Pré Labouchere, which created the offense of “gross indecency” for same-sex male sexual relations, enabling any form of sexual behaviour between men to be prosecuted (lesbian sexual relations—because they were unimaginable by male legislators—were not subject to the law). Likewise, in Germany in the early 1870s, when the country was integrating the civil codes of various disparate kingdoms, the final German penal code included Paragraph 175, which criminalized same-sex male relations with punishment including prison and a loss of civil rights.

The beginning of the gay rights movement

Before the end of the 19th century there were scarcely any “movements” for gay rights. Indeed, in his 1890s poem “Two Loves,” Lord Alfred (“Bosie”) DouglasOscar Wilde’s lover, declared “I [homosexuality] am the love that dare not speak its name.” Homosexual men and women were given voice in 1897 with the founding of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee; WhK) in Berlin. Their first activity was a petition to call for the repeal of Paragraph 175 of the Imperial Penal Code (submitted 1898, 1922, and 1925). The committee published emancipation literature, sponsored rallies, and campaigned for legal reform throughout Germany as well as in the Netherlands and Austria, and by 1922 it had developed some 25 local chapters. Its founder was Magnus Hirschfeld, who in 1919 opened the Institute for Sexual Science (Institut für Sexualwissenschaft), which anticipated by decades other scientific centres (such as the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, in the United States) that specialized in sex research. He also helped sponsor the World League of Sexual Reform, which was established in 1928 at a conference in Copenhagen. Despite Paragraph 175 and the failure of the WhK to win its repeal, homosexual men and women experienced a certain amount of freedom in Germany, particularly during the Weimar period, between the end of World War I and the Nazi seizure of power. In many larger German cities, gay nightlife became tolerated, and the number of gay publications increased; indeed, according to some historians, the number of gay bars and periodicals in Berlin in the 1920s exceeded that in New York City six decades later. Adolf Hitler’s seizure of power ended this relatively liberal period. He ordered the reinvigorated enforcement of Paragraph 175, and on May 6, 1933, German student athletes raided and ransacked Hirschfeld’s archives and burned the institute’s materials in a public square.

Outside Germany, other organizations were also created. For example, in 1914 the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology was founded by Edward Carpenter and Havelock Ellis for both promotional and educational purposes, and in the United States in 1924 Henry Gerber, an immigrant from Germany, founded the Society for Human Rights, which was chartered by the state of Illinois.

Despite the formation of such groups, political activity by homosexuals was generally not very visible. Indeed, gays were often harassed by the police wherever they congregated. World War II and its aftermath began to change that. The war brought many young people to cities and brought visibility to the gay community. In the United States this greater visibility brought some backlash, particularly from the government and police; civil servants were often fired, the military attempted to purge its ranks of gay soldiers (a policy enacted during World War II), and police vice squads frequently raided gay bars and arrested their clientele. However, there was greater political activity as well, aimed in large measure at decriminalizing sodomy.

The gay rights movement since the mid-20th century

Beginning in the mid-20th century, an increasing number of organizations were formed. The Cultuur en Ontspannings Centrum (“Culture and Recreation Centre”), or COC, was founded in 1946 in Amsterdam. In the United States the first major male organization, founded in 1950–51 by Harry Hay in Los Angeles, was the Mattachine Societymedieval French society of masked players, the Société Mattachine, to represent the public “masking” of homosexuality), while the Daughters of Bilitis (named after the Sapphic love poems of Pierre Louÿs, Chansons de Bilitis), founded in 1955 by Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin in San Francisco, was a leading group for women. In addition, the United States saw the publication of a national gay periodical, One, which in 1958 won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that enabled it to mail the magazine through the postal service. In Britain a commission chaired by Sir John Wolfenden issued a groundbreaking report (see Wolfenden Report) in 1957, which recommended that private homosexual liaisons between consenting adults be removed from the domain of criminal law; a decade later the recommendation was implemented by Parliament in the Sexual Offences Act, effectively decriminalizing homosexual relations for men age 21 or older (further legislation lowered the age of consent first to 18 [1994] and then to 16 [2001], the latter of which equalized the age of sexual consent for same-sex and opposite-sex partners).

The gay rights movement was beginning to win victories for legal reform, particularly in western Europe, but perhaps the single defining event of gay activism occurred in the United States. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, was raided by the police. Nearly 400 people joined a riot that lasted 45 minutes and resumed on succeeding nights. “Stonewall” came to be Gay Pride celebrations, not only in U.S. cities but also in several other countries (Gay Pride is also held at other times of the year in some countries).

In the 1970s and ’80s gay political organizations proliferated, particularly in the United States and Europe, and spread to other parts of the globe, though their relative size, strength, and success—and toleration by authorities—varied significantly. Groups such as the Human Rights CampaignNational Gay and Lesbian Task ForceACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in the United States and Stonewall and Outrage! in the United Kingdom—and dozens and dozens of similar organizations in Europe and elsewhere—began agitating for legal and social reforms. In addition, the transnational International Lesbian and Gay Association was founded in Coventry, England, in 1978. Now headquartered in Brussels, it plays a significant role in coordinating international efforts to promote human rights and fight discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.

In the United States, gay activists won support from the Democratic Party in 1980, when the party added to its platform nondiscrimination clause a plank including sexual orientation. This support, along with campaigns by gay activists urging gay men and women to “come out of the closet” (indeed, in the late 1980s, National Coming Out Day was established and is now celebrated on October 11 in most countries), encouraged gay men and women to enter the political arena as candidates. The first openly gay government officials in the United States were Jerry DeGrieck and Nancy Wechsler, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. DeGrieck and Wechsler both were elected in 1972 and came out while serving on the city council; Wechsler was replaced on the council by Kathy Kozachenko, who ran openly as a lesbian, in 1974—thus becoming the first openly gay person to win office after first coming out. In 1977 American gay rights activist Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; Milk was assassinated the following year. In 1983 Gerry Studds, a sitting representative from Massachusetts, became the first member of the United States Congress to announce his homosexuality. Barney Frank, also a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts, also came out while serving in Congress in the 1980s; Frank was a powerful member of that body and within the Democratic Party into the 21st century. Tammy Baldwin, from Wisconsin, became the first openly gay politician to be elected to both the U.S. House of Representatives (1998) and the U.S. Senate (2012). In 2009 Annise Parker was elected mayor of Houston, America’s fourth largest city, making it the largest U.S. city to elect an openly gay politician as mayor.

Outside the United States, openly gay politicians also scored successes. In Canada in 1998 Glen Murray became the mayor of Winnipeg, Manitoba—the first openly gay politician to lead a large city. Large cities in Europe also were fertile grounds for success for openly gay politicians—for example, Bertrand Delanoë in Paris and Klaus Wowereit in Berlin, both elected mayor in 2001. At the local and national levels, the number of openly gay politicians increased dramatically during the 1990s and 2000s, and in 2009 Jóhanna Sigurðardóttirprime minister of Iceland—the world’s first openly gay head of government. She was followed by Elio Di Rupo, who became prime minister of Belgium in 2011. In Africa, Asia, and Latin America, openly gay politicians have had only limited success in winning office; notable elections to national legislatures include Patria Jiménez Flores in Mexico (1997), Mike Waters in South Africa (1999), and Clodovil Hernandez in Brazil (2006).

The issues that gay rights groups emphasized have varied since the 1970s by time and place, with different national organizations promoting policies specifically tailored to their country’s milieu. For example, whereas in some countries, particularly in Scandinavia, antisodomy statutes never existed or were struck down relatively early, in other countries the situation was more complex. In the United States, with its strong federal tradition, the battle for the repeal of sodomy laws initially was fought at the state level. In 1986 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Georgia’s antisodomy law in v. Hardwick; 17 years later, however, in v. Texas, the Supreme Court reversed itself, effectively overturning the antisodomy law in Texas and in 12 other states.

Other issues of primary importance for the gay rights movement since the 1970s included combating the HIV/lobbying government for nondiscriminatory policies in employment, housing, and other aspects of civil society; ending the ban on military service for gay and lesbian individuals; expanding hate crimes legislation to include protection for gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals; and securing marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples (see same-sex marriage).

In 2015 Democratic Pres. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (1993), which had permitted gay and lesbian individuals to serve in the military if they did not disclose their sexual orientation or engage in homosexual activity; the repeal effectively ended the ban on homosexuals in the military. In 2013 the Supreme Court recognized the right of same-sex couples to marry ( v. Hodges), and in 2020 the Court determined that firing an employee for being gay, lesbian, or transgender was a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964), which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex (Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia).

Biography[edit]

McCullough was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1984. He is of Scotch-Irish and Dutch descent. His mother immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands before he was born. [9]

McCullough gained a passion for politics in high school, and initially wished to become a political cartoonist. From 2005 to 2015 he posted political cartoons on a now defunct site called . [10]

McCullough obtained a degree in Political Science from Simon Fraser University. [11]

From 2008 to 2009, McCullough worked as an English teacher in Japan. [12]

McCullough is openly gay. [13]

Text:

OTTAWA — Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole pushed back against attempts to link his party to Trump-style politics on Sunday, saying there is „no place for the far right“ in the Tories while accusing the Liberals of divisive dirty tricks.

In a statement Sunday, O’Toole asserted his own views on such issues as abortion, gay rights and reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada while insisting that his party is not beholden to right-wing extremists and hatemongers.

„The Conservatives are a moderate, pragmatic, mainstream party — as old as Confederation — that sits squarely in the centre of Canadian politics,“ O’Toole said.

„My singular focus is to get Canada’s economy back on track as quickly as possible to create jobs and secure a strong future for all Canadians. There is no place for the far right in our party.“

The unusual statement follows the riot on Capitol Hill, which U.S. President Donald Trump has been accused of inciting and which has since been held up as proof of the dangers posed by right-wing extremists to Western democracy.

It also comes on the heels of a Liberal Party fundraising letter sent to members last week that accused the Conservatives under O’Toole of „continuing a worrisome pattern of divisive politics and catering to the extreme right.“

As one example, it cited the motto used by O’Toole’s leadership campaign: „Take back Canada.“

It also referenced a photo that has been circulating of Conservative deputy leader Candice Bergen wearing a hat with Trump’s slogan, „Make America Great Again,“ and a since-deleted Tory website alleging the Liberals want to rig the next election.

O’Toole on Sunday condemned the Capitol Hill attack as „horrifying,“ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism by touting his party’s support for free and fair elections, the peaceful transfer of power and accountable government.

To that end, he lashed out at the Liberals, referencing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to prorogue Parliament last summer as hurting accountability, before turning the tables on the governing party and accusing them of using U.S.-style politics.

„If the Liberals want to label me as ‚far right,‘ they are welcome to try,“ O’Toole said. „Canadians are smart and they will see this as an attempt to mislead people and import some of the fear and division we have witnessed in the United States.“

Former Conservative strategist Tim Powers, who is now chairman of Summa Strategies, believes O’Toole’s team saw a „gathering storm“ and felt the need to act to prevent the Liberals from painting the Conservatives as beholden to Trumpism.

Such action was especially important ahead of what could be an extremely divisive week down in the U.S., where there are fears that Trump supporters and far-right actors will respond to Joe Biden’s inauguration as president with violence.

Powers suggested it is also the latest act in O’Toole’s effort to introduce himself to Canadians and redefine the Conservatives ahead of the next federal election, both of which have been made more difficult by COVID-19.

And when Conservatives in caucus make statements or otherwise act counter to his stated positions, Powers said O’Toole will need to „crush them and take them out“ to prove his convictions.

Shuvaloy Majumdar, who served as a policy director in Stephen Harper’s government, welcomed O’Toole’s statement while also speaking of the threat that events in the U.S. could pose to the Tories in Canada — particularly if the Liberals try to link them.

O’Toole was accused during last year’s Conservative leadership race of courting social conservatives who oppose abortion, among other issues. That raises questions about the degree to which he may anger the party’s base by taking more progressive positions.

But Majumdar suggested many of the populist elements left the Tories for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada and that O’Toole is seeking to appeal to more voters by taking a broader view on social issues while sticking to the party’s core economic positions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021

„I am proud of Canada as a welcoming, modern, and inclusive country.”— My statement.

What makes a country gay friendly?

In this section, we explain and summarise how we put together this list. In a nutshell, we always start with the Spartacus index as a guide and also focus on the countries that have passed gay marriage laws. We then embellish this with our personal experience and also take into account any notable Gay Villages and annual queer events such as Pride.

?️‍? Based on all of the above, the most gay friendly country in the world is…. ?️‍?

1. Canada

It’s a no brainer for us, Canada is the most gay friendly country in the world. From our experience, unlike any other country we’ve visited, Canada goes over and above to welcome gay travellers. Where else in the world do you see the (straight white male) leader of a country leading a gay pride parade, waving a transgender flag, and crying out “Happy Pride”? We saw Justin Trudeau do this when we attended the Fierte gay pride in Montreal. It made our hairs stand on end with Pride to see this!

2. Spain

Ask anyone what their favourite gay Pride event is and most will likely say Madrid. Ask any gay man where their favourite gay destination is in Europe and they will most likely include Sitges, Gran Canaria, Barcelona and/or Ibiza on their list. These two gay men certainly think so! Yes, we’re generalising a bit, but the point is that Spain has arguably the highest number of gay-friendly destinations.

Spain is a trailblazer when it comes to LGBTQ rights with an incredibly openminded society who embrace and celebrate diversity.