Today we call on all those across Turtle Island fighting for equality and justice to expand and protect the rights, needs, and liberation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, intersex, asexual, two-spirit, and gender nonconforming people everywhere to engage with us to promote this agenda.
As we celebrate 12 years of action in federal, provincial, municipal and local politics, we recognize that our privileged position in Ottawa has allowed us to have successful conversations with politicians from across the country. We have been fortunate through our engagement with communities across the country as well; listening to community members and understanding their needs.
We take a moment also to recognize that our work not been without faults and may have caused harm to minorities within our own space. This realization comes with a recommitment to the values in this agenda, and a new commitment to build upon and change them to respond to the lived realities of those who have experienced exclusion.
We also know that human rights, justice and human dignity are not limited only to Canadians. LGBTQ2S people still face state persecution, criminalization, and police brutality in far more countries than, in which they are free. Defending the human rights of LGBTQ2S people has become increasingly urgent as religious and political extremism resurges around the world. Canada has clear legal and ethical obligations to engage in these issues and protect the most vulnerable at home and abroad.
The fight for equality and rights for LGBTQ2S Canadians – including refugees, migrants, and those without status – is an intersectional fight. Homophobia and transphobia do not exist in a vacuum. They are almost always twisted up with racism, sexism, Islamophobia, ethnophobia and/or classism. LGBTQ2S people are everyone. We have multiple intersecting identities, privileges and oppressions.
This document takes stock of what we have accomplished, and points us toward a future of justice and equality. Canada and Canadians must take an active role in resisting oppression internationally, nationally and within our own communities. We stand together to create an equitable, fair and just world that celebrates our differences and protests our oppressions.
This document is currently in draft status. We want to share our direction with you on this historic occasion of bringing LGBTQ2S Service Providers together from across the country to discuss, receive feedback and ensure that this document responds to the intersectionality and diversity of our national community.
As we move forward, we will formalize our relationship with elected officials, demonstrate a higher level of accountability to the community and work collaboratively with community members and organizations across the country, and around the world.
Canadian society is unique around the world. We enjoy democratic freedoms and rights are generally respective; however, we can do more at home as well as in the international arena. In fact, Canada must do more to integrate the human rights of LGBTQ2S people into domestic policy, foreign policy, and refugee policy. Likewise, it is our ethical imperative to dismantle gender and racial inequities within the criminal justice system.
The rights of LGBTQ2S people are always intersectional. Individuals may experience multiple forms of marginalization or disadvantage at the same time, while also experiencing privileges of different kinds. Any discussion of homophobia, transphobia and LGBTQ2S in Canada rights must include the practical application of ideas through policy regarding housing, healthcare, education, suicide prevention, underemployment, unemployment, and poverty reduction.
Trans rights are gender justice. All Canadians deserve the power to control and make decisions about their own bodies and be free from imposed gender norms, expectations, shame, violence, and stereotypes.
As a nation, we must acknowledge past and present discrimination and brutality against LGBTQ2S people and, whenever possible, offer apologies and reparations. Legacies of colonialism and systemic inequalities are directly linked to intergenerational trauma, poverty, and criminalization. It is critical that all Canadians understand the historical context for laws passed and actions taken in countries that further marginalize, oppress or even put to death LGBTQ2S people.
Colonialism has played a critical role in spreading intolerance against LGBTQ2S people. Many of the world’s laws criminalizing “sodomy” or “buggery”, including those in Canada, were imposed by British settlers and enforced through a legal system informed by religion. Even today, facets of Canada’s original buggery law remain in the Criminal Code, setting out a different age of consent and a ban on anal sex involving more than two partners.
In close to 80 countries, sodomy laws remain on the books and are enforced by the state. Most penalties carry a life sentence, but in 13 countries, sex between two people assigned male at birth is punishable by death. Even in those countries where such a sex act does not carry a capital sentence, LGBTQ2S people live in constant fear of media outings and “mob justice” that almost always results in death. In most of the world, queer and trans people live double lives, constantly at risk of being outed to family, church, religious institutions, and community.
Canada must declare that the criminalization and persecution of LGBTQ2S people around the world is a crime against humanity. This conversation is about respect for human dignity, justice and human rights.
How this document will be used:
In our relations with political and institutional systems, we will be using this document to explore best practices for those in positions of leadership .
We will be posting updates of how our encounters go and mark changes as they occur.
This document marks were the CCGSD is today.
Like all social justice movements we recognize that this position will change and evolve with time, and in relations to the changing needs of communities.
This is a living document, which means we invite your ideas, feedback and suggestions. They will be reviewed every 6 months to edit the document and produce a new version. Please send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Openness & Transparency:
In an effort to be more open & transparent about our activism, we will include meeting notes of key meeting notes and activities here starting May 2018. We will also do our best to look back on actions we have taken and include notes and actions here:
- On 2018-12-14 the CCGSD is proud to support and endorsement of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s submission to the Government consultation on the education system in Ontario. See our submission here: OHRC submission regarding the Government consultation on the education system in Ontario.
- On 2018-12-13 the CCGSD requested that the government recognize the 50th anniversary of the We Demand Protest as a Day of Significance (Minster of Heritage We Demand Protest Anniversaries of significance in Canada). We ask requested that the Royal Canadian Mint honour the protest with a coin (Royal Canadian Mint We Demand Protest Coin); and that Canada Post honour the protest with a stamp (Canada Post We Demand Protest Stamp)
- On 2018-11-30 CCGSD joined other organizations in signing the Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization’s (CCRHC) recent statement, calling on the federal government to take immediate action, in consultation with experts and people living with HIV, to end the overly broad use of the criminal law against people living with HIV. The statement and an accompanying media release were made public on Friday, November 30 and sent to reporters across the country. You can find the news release online, on the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network website. The statement is also available on the CCRHC website. On Saturday, December 1, which was also the 30th World AIDS Day, we received most welcome news from the Government of Canada, clearly the result of our collective advocacy. Several key recommendations, first detailed in a report issued by Justice Canada last year on World AIDS Day, have now been issued as an official directive to federal prosecutors. You can read a response by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, welcoming this very significant step in the right direction, while also noting that there is still more work to be done. We are also beginning to see some positive mainstream news coverage on this issue, including the following articles:Justice Department issues new guidelines on prosecution for non-disclosure of HIV status (CBC); Ontario being urged to curb prosecutions of those who don’t disclose HIV status (Toronto Star); Moins de poursuites contre les porteurs du VIH (Le Devoir)
- On 2018-11-23 the CCGSD joined over 100 organizations endorsing our call to designate January 29 as a National Day of Action against Hate and Intolerance. Read the letters here: ENG_w Endorsements_Open Letter Re Jan 29 2019 FR_w Endorsements_Open Letter Re Jan 29 2019
- On 2018-11-22 the CCGSD wrote to the Minister of Health to continue to put pressure to change the blood deferral policy CCGSD MSM policy change letters of support outline 2018
- On 2018-10-18 the CCGSD joined other organizations in calling for the re-introduction of the Court Challenges program. See letters here. CCP letter to Minister Rodriguez Oct 16 2018 EN; CCP letter to Minister Rodriguez Oct 16 2018 FR
- On 2018-09-25 the CCGSD joined LGBTQ2+ Historians to speak at the Justice Committee about Bill C-75 and organized a media launch demanding for major updates and changes. Calla Barnett (our Board President) also met with Opposition MPs to discuss the need for their support of this. Read the press release here: Sept. 25, Media Advisory
- On 2018-08-20 the CCGSD supported for nomination of Pro Bono Students Canada for Canadian Pro Bono Award to help trans & non-binary folk have new supports to changing gender marks on their ID. Read letter here
- On 2018-07-30 the CCGSD wrote a letter to the Prime Minister about what we would like to see come out of the upcoming Leaving No One Behind: the Equal Rights Coalition Global Conference on LGBTI Human Rights and Inclusive Development conference taking place in Vancouver (Aug 2018). Read our Pre-ERC Conference Letter to the PM. This letter is based on the original letter written by a collective of LGBTQ2+ organization that the CCGSD also signed. See that letter here: Dignity Network_Réseau Dignité – Letter to PM_Lettre au PM. Please read Doug Kerr’s email from the Dignity Network summarizing the conference results Click here.
- On 2018-05-17 the CCGSD wrote a letter to Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould (federal Minister of Justice) about Bill C-75. Learn more here.
- On 2018-05-14 the CCGSD wrote a letter to the Peel District School Board on behalf of the students, educators and families who wish to see the Pride Flag raised at schools across the board this June for Pride month. Learn more here.
- On 2018-04-18 the CCGSD presented a submission to the Senate to fix C-66. The document stands behind the submissions made by Gay & Lesbian Historians (Feb 5th, 2018); AIDS Action Now!, Queer Ontario & Queers Crash the Beat (Feb 13th, 2018), and Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archive March 13, 2018. Learn more here.
- On 2018-04-10 the CCGSD shared COPE local 378’s petition to repeal the Blood Ban. Learn more about our work on this issues since 2007, and sign the petition. More info here.
- On 2018-03-24 the CCGSD launched a petition that demands the federal government should repeal Section 268(3) of the Criminal Code in Canada that continues to allow non-consensual surgery by medical practitioners to alter the bodies of infants and children whom they perceive to be ambiguous (i.e. intersex). Sign it here.
- On 2018-01-08 the CCGSD invited folks to learn about M-147 a motion whose aim it is defeat homelessness. Learn more here.
- On 2017-12-01 the CCGSD continued to lobby Stats Canada on the 2021 Census, and shared their internal survey tool. Learn more here.
- On 2017-11-28 the Government of Canada apologized for the history of discrimination by the Government of Canada against LGBTQ2S+ persons. The CCGSD made a submission to improve the apology (read it here), organized for 30 people to watch the Apology inside Parliament Hill, organized for over 100 people to watch the Apology from the official viewing off-site area, offered $15,000 in travel bursaries, and shared information for folks to watch the apology online. Learn more here.
- On 2017-11-15 the CCGSD launched our new Intersex Awareness and Allyship Guide. Check it out and learn from it here.
- On 2017-11-13 the CCGSD put forward a letter the Ontario Attorney General about HIV Criminalization Read 2017-11-13 Letter here
- On 2017-04-02 the Federal Government took action to reform Canada’s Criminal Code by removing ‘zombie laws’ – laws that have been struck down in court and cannot be enforced. Bill C-39 is an Act to amend the Criminal Code (unconstitutional provisions) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. The Act includes the repeal of section 159 of the Criminal Code, the prohibition of anal intercourse.The repeal of section 159 of the Criminal Code would promote the equality rights protected by subsection 15(1) of the Charter, which provides that everyone is equal before and under the law. Learn more here.
- On 2017-05-17 the federal government introduced C-16: An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. The CCGSD was proud to present work on this and mobilize communities on this. Learn more here.
- In response to the lack of inclusion in the 2016 Canadian Census, the Centre has written an official letter to the Minister & Chief Statistician. Check out our letter and action pieces from 2016-05-05. Learn more here.