There’s no doubt that LGBTQ2S rights in Canada have seen impressive growth over the last decade. This includes last year’s legislation that banned harmful conversion therapy.
As far back as we could go, it is clear that at no other time in history can it be said that the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ2S community have been more advanced and better protected than the present time.
Those political advances in government policies as well as in the society at large continue to be positive. Optimism in this case is well-founded.
Yet this is not the time for us to become complacent, because the forces arrayed against the protection and enforcement of LGBTQ2S rights are considerable. And they are mostly coming from our neighbour to the south, a certain segment of Canada has its own brand of LGBTQ2S bashing, made worse by our addiction to everything American.
We’ve seen how US Republican leaders are banning LGBTQ-positive materials from classrooms across that country. While some members of the infamous trucker-convoy that took over downtown Ottawa last winter did not deny their connections to homophobic or transphobic organizations.
Research has shown that ten percent of hate crimes in Canada are committed against sexual and gender persons.
Pride Toronto reported that attacks on people advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ community have increased.
In a recent article, John Ibbotson of the Globe and Mail states that “Many of those who voted for president Donald Trump, who voted for the People’s Party in Canada, who supported Brexit in Great Britain, who support Marine Le Pen’s bid to become president of France resist the global flow of goods and services and people, resist non-white immigration, resist full equality for women, resist equality for sexual and gender minorities.”
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network confirmed that there was an increase of anti-LGBTQ material online during Pride month. Around Ontario, Pride flags were ripped and burned. Businesses that show support were defaced, and recently an Ontario teen was arrested after he made mass shooting threats against a Florida LGBTQ event.
Still, despite all the negativity there have been advances for the LGBTQ2S+ community in Canada which can’t be understated or ignored.
Certainly we know that those of a certain generation who have been steeped all of their lives in homophobia, find it hard to completely come to terms with the increase in recognition and protection of gender equality in all of its manifestations. Often adapting to these unfamiliar circumstances is made easier for some when the family tree puts out new branches and “crops” that don’t quite conform to their traditional idea of gender. It this case, one has the right to shut one’s eyes but denial is not an option.
Those who interpret their past experiences honestly would know that there were always persons who did not fall neatly into the male-female sexual model. And even though they denied and outlawed those who fell on various points of the male-female spectrum, people kept arriving wearing a variety of colours. And biology dictates that this will continue to happen; so, the sooner we get used to the fact that life is nuanced and not clearly defined categories the better for everybody.
As one writer put it “Love is Love”. Something we must bestow on our fellow travelers “until those with the hardened hearts and close minds learn valued members of our community are no longer a target for their ugly hate.”