Canada will apologize for persecution

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Unionist
Canada will apologize for persecution

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Unionist

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/justin-trudeau-to-apologize... Trudeau to apologize for historic persecution of gay Canadians[/url]

Quote:

As early as this autumn, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will apologize on behalf of all Canadians to those who were imprisoned, fired from their jobs or otherwise persecuted in the past because of their sexuality.

[...]

“This is a long-awaited moment and a very emotional moment, to be honest,” said Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale, a national organization that advocates for the rights of sexual minorities. “For the government to recognize the damage that it caused, the harm that it caused, to thousands and thousands of Canadians is a historic moment for our communities.”

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This is the type of stuff he is good at. A photo-op with a progressive bent. It will cost nothing and have no effect. I hope it is not as two faced as his claiming he was going to respect the UN Declaration of Aboriginal Rights. A good place to show his sincerity would be to repeal the section of the Criminal Code that applies to sex between gay teenagers.

Unionist

Svend Robinson:

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/for-the-countless-canadians-humil... the countless Canadians humiliated by anti-gay policies, healing can finally begin[/url]

Quote:

I join in the celebration of the news that the Trudeau government may be moving forward to acknowledge the legacy of discrimination, violence, pain, suffering, imprisonment and yes, death that has taken a devastating toll on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans Canadians over the years.

But I am also filled with sadness and loss that so many of those who were victims of these inhumane policies are not alive to witness this historic day:

The men and women in the public service and RCMP who were hounded out of their jobs after being subjected to the humiliation of polygraph tests. The countless LGBT youth who felt worthless after being thrown out of their homes, and engaged in unsafe sex – then died of AIDS.

The dedicated members of the Canadian Armed Forces who were fired, deemed “not advantageously employable,” after being spied on in gay bars, having their love letters read, and being reported to their commanding officers by colleagues who were forced to name names.

The gay men who were hauled into court on charges of gross indecency, lives shattered, families broken and jobs lost, whose only offence was loving another man.

I commend Egale and its Just Society report, sparked by The Globe and Mail’s reporting, and the many people like activist Gary Kinsman and lawyer Barbara Findlay who have fought so long and so hard to make this day possible.

But one of the most important elements of the comprehensive federal government response must be an opportunity for those whose lives were affected by these inhumane policies to share their stories.

This is the greatest tribute that we can pay to those whose lives were lost due to these policies, to tell their stories, to honour their memories, to do everything in our power to recognize and compensate and undo where possible the wrongdoing to those still living.

The journey that we are about to embark on can be a very powerful learning experience, not only for us in Canada, but hopefully one that can be shared globally. Canada is truly a world leader on this journey, and I hope that our leadership will inspire other countries to take similar action to acknowledge the wrongs of the past and help to heal those wounds today for those who still bear the scars.

We need to share these lessons so that our world will be a place where all of our LGBT sisters and brothers are treated with dignity and respect. What a great 150th birthday present from Canada.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Yup. There are lots of reasons to believe this a platitude, and certainly there will be broken promises. But those of us who weren't on the receiving end don't understand what it means to some people to simply have it spoken.

My jaw drops when I hear people who accept Stephen Harper's apology to residential school survivors as significant, despite his record, and the fact it was no real acceptance of responsibility. But the fact remains it does have deep significance for some people, if only because it is on the public record.

So in that, I have to respect it.

I take this one as something which has similar meaning , and is a step in the right direction that however small, and however much a marketing ploy

...and however much there are going to be some in that community saying  this is very little, much too late. And in that, they are also quite right, and quite justified.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

The apology is just a ritual - but if they do act on the first recommendation mentioned in the Globe article (expunging criminal records) I will be marginally impressed - FWIW, I much prefer they use the term "expunge" rather than "pardon" - the latter seems to imply that those being "pardoned" are being "forgiven" for something they did that was wrong. If anyone is in need of forgiveness, it is those who legislated, policed and enforced the laws.

Unionist

bagkitty wrote:

The apology is just a ritual - but if they do act on the first recommendation mentioned in the Globe article (expunging criminal records) I will be marginally impressed - FWIW, I much prefer they use the term "expunge" rather than "pardon" - the latter seems to imply that those being "pardoned" are being "forgiven" for something they did that was wrong. If anyone is in need of forgiveness, it is those who legislated, policed and enforced the laws.

Yes!

And here's the full text of Egale's "Just Society Report". I haven't read this 209-page document yet, but I surely will. And maybe it will be a candidate for the babble book club - time for some really important non-fiction from Canada's sordid history.

ETA: And when they finally harmonize the age of consent to stop discriminating against LGBTQ+ teens, the NDP will not only owe Bill Siksay a huge apology (which they already owe him), but will need to seriously self-interrogate as to how and why they whipped their caucus to support this vicious Harperite measure.

 

swallow

This would be great and would be important both symbolically and, to a lot of LGBT+ people, in substance. I'll be happy if this unconfirmed Globe and Mail report turns out to be true - at the moment it's lots of praise for the Trudeau gov't, but that gov't has not confirmed that it will in fact apologize as far as I can tell from the media reports. 

Props to EGALE for the report though, it's clearly having an impact! 

Unionist

I'll believe it when I see it also, swallow - especially the rest of the recommendations which bagkitty noted upthread.

But if it doesn't happen, it would be one major embarrassment for Egale:

[url=https://egale.ca/egale-applauds-prime-minister-trudeaus-announcement-of-... Applauds Prime Minister Trudeau’s Announcement of Apology to Persecuted Gay Canadians[/url]

Yet their news release doesn't really specify when, where, and how Trudeau "declared his intention" to apologize (let alone implement the rest of the report). So time for pressure, I guess.

Have the NDP, BQ, Greens reacted to this, just out of curiosity?

 

swallow

I've heard nothing. I suspect that EGALE is trying to make the Globe report a fait accompli - it would be embarrassing for the Trudeau government not to apologize now. And the community affected is a prime Liberal voting block (eg the finance minister would now be elected without solid support from Toronto's gay village). 

Unionist

swallow wrote:

I suspect that EGALE is trying to make the Globe report a fait accompli - it would be embarrassing for the Trudeau government not to apologize now.

Crossed my mind - I'm sure you're right!

Quote:
And the community affected is a prime Liberal voting block (eg the finance minister would now not be elected without solid support from Toronto's gay village). 

As long as all the parties are different shades of neoliberal, it's smart politics to use that kind of pressure to make advances for the community.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Looks like the UK will be issuing retroactive pardon for "Gross Indecency" offences. Of course it is not advisable to actually hold ones breath waiting for it to happen. Hypoxia is not a laughing matter.

6079_Smith_W

Wow. I had no idea the Gross Indecency law was such a recent invention. Surprising when you consider those laws were done away with in Turkey in 1858.

From reading the description it seems like Labouchere promoted the bill specifically to go after Oscar Wilde.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labouchere_Amendment

Funny, I read a book not too long ago (Into the Silence by Wade Davis, which I recommend not only for its account of the Everest expeditions, the horrors of the war, and colonialism of the time) in which it was pointed out that everyone in the early 20th century just assumed that upper class boys were all having sex with each other at school, because upper class men and women never interacted at all until they got married.

So for all the outrage, those laws were primarily for keeping people in line, and targetting those who they wanted to target.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Before European Christians Forced Gender Roles, Native Americans Acknowledged 5 Genders

It wasn’t until Europeans took over North America that natives adopted the ideas of gender roles. For Native Americans, there was no set of rules that men and women had to abide by in order to be considered a “normal” member of their tribe.

In fact, people who had both female and male characteristics were viewed as gifted by nature, and therefore, able to see both sides of everything. According to Indian Country Today, all native communities acknowledged the following gender roles: “Female, male, Two Spirit female, Two Spirit male and Transgendered.”....

bagkitty bagkitty's picture