In Canada since 2016, the entire month of June has been declared as Pride Month, presenting events throughout the month leading up to high profile parades across the country. June signals the official start of summer and marking the commencement of celebrations that recognize the diversity and strength of two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and/or asexual communities (2SLGBTQQIA+).
The Public Safety profession and Government in Canada have a long history of systemic discrimination against the 2SLBGTQQIA+ community. Did you know?
1842– Patrick Kelly and Samuel Moore become Canada’s first men convicted of “homosexual sex between two consenting adults” (Lyons, 2016, para. 5). Convicted of sodomy, which, in Canada, carried a death sentence until 1869, the men were sentenced to life imprisonment; both later released regardless of the sentence (Lyons, 2016).
1950s (starting)– LGBTQ individuals were seen as a threat to security for Military, RCMP, Government positions. According to lgbtqpurge.com, One of the challenges for the investigators was the inability to objectively ascertain whether an individual was gay or lesbian. A professor at Carleton University created a device that allegedly could aid in ‘scientifically” ascertaining homosexuality, a device the RCMP dubbed the ”Fruit Machine.” Thousands were affected. Members who admitted to being LGBTQ were discharged from the Canadian Armed Forces, sometimes dishonourably. LGBTQpurge.com states “the Canadian Military only ended its official exclusionary policies in the early 1990s.” On November 28, the Government will offer a formal apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians in the House – for the persecution & injustices they have suffered, and to advance together on the path to equality & inclusion. — Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 19, 2017
1963- RCMP Directorate of Security and Intelligence’s A-3 unit, which had the goal of finding and removing all homosexuals from law enforcement and government, created a map with red dots where all alleged residences and frequent visitations of homosexuals. Map was disposed of, as it was filled with red ink; two larger maps were used and had the same outcome, therefore mapping ended. (Revolvy, n.d.)
1981- ‘Operation Soap’ also know as the Toronto Bathhouse Raids took place February 4thin 1981 and is considered to be a turning point in Canadian LGBTQ+ civil rights history. Toronto police raided four bathhouses and arrested over 250 gay men, the next night, over 3000 people protested to the arrests and the raids. This is often referred to as “Canada’s Stonewall”. In 2016, The Chief of Police in Toronto issued an official apology to the LGBTQ+ community for the damage done during Operation Soap (Gulliver, 2006)
2020- The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) has apologized for its historical mistreatment of LGBTQ communities in Canada. (CBC News, 2020)
Now that we know better, we can do better. This month, here at TNT we encourage you to reflect on how you can contribute to creating an inclusive and welcoming society, regardless of where you work, live, or recreate. I also challenge you to increase awareness by checking out local events and available resources. As the President of TNT Justice Consultants, I can say that we take Pride in recognizing Pride Month. During June and every other month support the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community by being an “Ally Advancing Equity” that is committed to “Doing Diversity Different.” You can show your allyship by completing an Implicit Bias Test (IBT), attending an event, or supporting a colleague.
Yours in Allyship,
Dr. Frank Trovato
CBC News. (2020) Canada’s police chiefs apologize for opposition to decriminalize homosexuality. Retrieved from: Canada’s police chiefs apologize for opposition to decriminalize homosexuality | CBC News
Gulliver, T. (2006). Towels, cubicles & handcuffs we have known. Xtra. Retrieved from: https://www.dailyxtra.com/towels-cubicles-handcuffs-we-have-known-22566
Lyons, M. (2016). Sodomites, crime and punishment: The story of the first men convicted of homosexual sex between two consenting adults in Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.dailyxtra.com/sodomites-crime-and-punishment-70094
LGBTQpurge.com. (2018). who, what, when, where, why. Retrieved from: http://lgbtpurge.com/about-lgbt-purge/
Revolvy. (n.d.) Timeline of LGBT history in Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Timeline%20of%20LGBT%20history%20in%20Canada