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.
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 how encounters go and mark changes as they occur.
This document marks were the CCGSD 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