Friday, June 16, 2017
LGBT Rights and the Trudeau Legacy
After fighting for years for their human rights, and having to endure the most disgusting discrimination and violence, this was a good week for transgendered Canadians.
A few days ago at a ceremony to mark Pride Month, they saw their flag raised on Parliament Hill for the first time.
And yesterday they finally got their transgender bill of rights.
Transgender Canadians will soon have the same human rights protections as everyone else, after the government's attempt to add gender identity to the Canadian Human Rights Act passed in the Senate Thursday afternoon.
And for both of those things they can thank Justin Trudeau.
Who isn't letting bigots, or religious fanatics like Andrew Scheer, stop him from trying to heal the pain and the anger of years of discrimination.
In the midst of national Pride celebrations, the federal government announced new plans to expunge criminal convictions against Canadians once charged with crimes based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
But is willing to apologize to those who were brutalized by the state just for who they are or were, and who they loved.
And by so doing help those who are still being victimized by cowardly bullies.
Transgender youth experience bullying at much higher rates than their cisgender (non-transgender) peers. Indeed, a 2015 University of British Columbia study of 923 transgender youth in Canada found that more than one in three younger had been physically threatened or injured in the past year (36 per cent) and nearly half of older youth reported various types of cyberbullying.
Given that many of these kids also experience homelessness, poverty and, in some cases, familial rejection, it's little wonder that 65 per cent of younger participants in the study had seriously considered suicide and one-third had attempted it at least once.
And at a time when gay rights are under assault all over the world, is making Canada proud.
As well as being without a doubt the best prime minister the LGBT community has ever known...
Except of course for his dad, who fifty years ago introduced a controversial omnibus bill to decriminalize abortion and homosexuality.
If Pierre Trudeau was around today I'm sure he would be angered by the way his son is attacked by some of the rabid Trudeau haters in this country.
I'm sure he would understand, like I do, that much of that hate is caused by Justin's support for gay rights and the rights of women.
And I'm also sure that he would wish that his son had more of a mean streak, like he did, to put those haters in their place.
But Justin is doing it his way, and doing it very well, with an exuberance even Pierre could not match...
So I'm pretty sure his old man would be really proud of him...
Justin and Pierre.
Two great prime ministers.
And one great rainbow coloured legacy....