THUNDER BAY, ON – Thunder Pride Association holding a special Flag Raising at City Hall; Standing by our Colours is to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Partial Decriminalization of Homosexuality in Canada & International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia on Wednesday May 15, 2019.
During the week of May 14, 2019, people across Canada will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality. In 1967, Federal Minister of Justice Pierre Elliott Trudeau wanted to adapt the Criminal Code to Canadian values. He tabled an omnibus bill containing several provisions that would decriminalize certain sexual practices (gross indecency, sodomy) between consenting adults age 21 and over. He summed up his bill in a sentence that has since become famous: There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.
Decriminalizing homosexuality was a critical first step for sexual and gender minorities, but we were still a long way from acceptance. People continued to suffer discrimination based on their sexual orientation. The past 50 years have brought significant progress, namely the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental diseases, and the introduction of several legal protections. Despite the shortcomings acknowledged by some, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 remains an important achievement by the Canadian government. The Canadian government has indicated that this important event opened the door to steady improvements in the rights of the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTIQ2S+) community in Canada. Significant progress has been made in social acceptance and official legal equality over the past decades, for which Canada is now recognized around the world.
This anniversary year is an ideal opportunity to highlight the importance of the LGBTIQ2S+ community in Canada and its achievements, while also recognizing the work that lies ahead for full equality.
Thunder Pride Association Chair, Jason Veltri says, “Today, our city and those across our country are taking time to reflect and commemorate the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada. This is an important milestone in the fight for equality under the law in Canada, but we know that we have so much more work to do so that LGBTIQ2S people in Canada and around the world are free to be themselves without fear of discrimination just because of who they love”
Thunder Pride Association Past Chair and Elevate NWO Case Worker, Ken Miller Says: “I want to first recognize all of the work done to get us where we are today and all the people it took to make us visible enough to be heard. We meet here today to talk about how our country passed amendments into the criminal code decriminalizing homosexuality. This news was heard by many as freedom to be who they were and with hopes that progress was being made.”
International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.
The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. The Day represents a major global annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, corporations, opinion leaders, local authorities, etc. to the alarming situation faced by people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.
Veltri says: “To recognize this day in Thunder Bay is another milestone for our community and organization. Thunder Pride Association was formed to fight the discrimination that was and still is present in our city and region. We are proud to be able to shine a spotlight on this very important day. The fight continues.”