Overtime, a struggle for survival has turned into a celebration of resilience.

Today there is wide-spread adoration for Canadian icons like Elliot Page, Tegan and Sarah, Mark Tewksbury and many more. Canada has been coined one of the better places in the world to live as an LGBTQ2SA+ person, but it hasn’t always been that way.

How far we’ve come and how far still to go in celebrating #loveislove:

In the 1950-60’s, it was a dangerous time to live openly gay with likelihood of being arrested as a sex offender by the RCMP.

But in 1967, social norms started to shift when Pierre Trudeau passed Bill C-150. An amendment that decriminalized homosexual acts between two consenting adults over age 21. However, his stance on public homosexual expression had room for improvement.

Because in 1981, the Toronto bath house raids – famously known as Operation Soap – created a turning point after 160 Police officers rushed 4 Toronto bath houses and arrested 286 men. Using their voices to dismantle hate, the detained men reported physical and verbal abuse they experienced during the arrest and two days later, 400 gay and lesbian men and women stood at Queens Park demanding an inquiry into the raids. It is this fight that lead to real progress in the years to come.

In 1992, the ban was lifted from being homosexual in the military. In 1999, an opinion poll found that 87% of Canadians supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in the charter of rights and freedoms. In 2005, the law for nationwide marriage equality was passed and on March 9, 2020, Canada passed the amendment to criminalize conversion therapy across the country.

But there is no end in the fight for true equality … there is always room for social change.

Year over year Canada and the world have made strides, but the fact that there remain issues such as hate speech and lack of representation for LGBTQ2SA+ individuals in the media, education, and positions of power gives us reason to keep fighting.

Pride parades and celebrations are fabulous and inspiring but also serve as a yearly reminder to question and combat any resistance in expressing oneself fully and a more fluid concept of identity.

This year and continuously, let’s honour the intersection of the LGBTQ2SA+ community’s decades of bravery with other communities that are still fighting for acceptance alongside them. We create the future every single day. Let’s make sure the rainbow road is paved with compassion and allyship this month and beyond!

Happy Pride Month, Canada!


Sources: Bill C-150, Bathhouse Raids, Military Ban Lifted, 1999 Opinion Poll, Conversion Therapy Ban

Filed under: pride2021