Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau celebrated LGBTQ Pride Month right by raising rainbow and transgender flags above Parliament Hill in a touching tribute to his government’s commitment to “equality and equal treatment for all Canadians.”
During the flag raising ceremony, Trudeau promised to tackle the injustices faced by LGBTQ people, adding: “Our government believes in equality and equal treatment for all Canadians. That is why we are moving forward on legislation that makes it possible to erase the convictions of Canadians who were unjustly convicted of a crime – simply for who they were, or who they loved.”
“We will be introducing legislation on this later this year, and further we will acknowledge and apologize for the historical discrimination faced by LGBTQ2 Canadians. We are committed to apologizing in an inclusive and meaningful manner before the end of 2017.”
“I believe that it’s essential to make amends for past wrongs, and not to simply gloss over them. Our government believes in equality and equal treatment for all Canadians. We will passionately defend the rights of all our citizens regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
“Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are unacceptable. In Canada we’ve come a long way, but there is still work to be done, both here in Canada and around the world.”
Trudeau’s celebration of LGBTQ rights stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s complete disregard for LGBT Pride month.
Trump abandoned Barack Obama’s eight-year tradition of kicking off LGBT Pride Month celebrations at the White House.
Obama had issued annual proclamations recognizing June as Pride Month and hosted LGBT celebrations in the White House. The former president’s proclamations recognized the “fight for dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people” and signaled the government’s commitment to “broaden opportunity, advance equality, and level the playing field for LGBT people and communities”.
Instead, the White House proclaimed June as “National Homeownership Month”, “National Ocean Month”, “African-American Music Appreciation Month” and “Great Outdoors Month”.
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that The Commerce Department had gutted language from its annual equal opportunity statement barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to the Post, the 2017 Secretarial Statement on Equal Employment Opportunity, which was emailed to department employees Thursday morning, says that Commerce “does not tolerate behavior, harassment, discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.”
By contrast, last year’s statement said the department “does not tolerate discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination), sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age (40 years of age and over), genetic information, or disability (physical or mental), including the provision of reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities or genetic information.”
Trudeau was joined by his LGBT Special Advisor Randy Boissonnault, who said: “Today our government announced another vital step in addressing the painful history of discrimination against the LGBTQ2 communities. As Pride season commences, Canadians will honor the many victories over the forces of exclusion, intolerance, and hate.”
“We will also soberly acknowledge that there are many challenges still to overcome. I invite all Canadians to join in remembering the past, celebrating our progress, and working towards a better future.”