Search for "LGBTQ2S"

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Canada’s Cold War Purge of LGBTQ from Public Service

Between the 1950s and 1990s, the Canadian government responded to national security concerns generated by Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union by spying on, exposing and removing suspected LGBTQ individuals from the federal public service. They were cast as social and political subversives and seen as targets for blackmail by communist regimes seeking classified government information. These characterizations were justified by arguments that people who engaged in same-sex relations suffered from a “character weakness” and had something to hide because their sexuality was not only considered a taboo but, under certain circumstances, was illegal. As a result, the RCMP investigated large numbers of people, many of whom were fired, demoted or forced to resign — even if they had no access to security information. These measures were kept out of public view to prevent scandal and to keep counter-espionage operations under wraps.

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Pride Toronto Votes to Keep Police Out of Parade

Members of Pride Toronto voted 163–161 to prevent uniformed police officers from participating in the city’s annual pride parade and related events, reversing a decision made by Pride Toronto’s board of directors in October. Police were barred from marching in the parade in 2017 and 2018 in response to a Black Lives Matter protest that halted the parade in 2016. Members of Toronto’s LGBTQ2+ community were also critical of the Toronto Police Service’s handling of several disappearances and murders in Toronto’s gay village.

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Kathleen Wynne

Kathleen O’Day Wynne, 25th premier of Ontario 2013–18, member of provincial parliament 2003–present, school trustee, community activist, mediator, teacher (born 21 May 1953 in Toronto, ON). The skills of a mediator, coupled with a strong sense of will, propelled Kathleen Wynne’s political career, making her Ontario’s first woman premier and Canada’s first openly gay head of government.

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Svend Robinson

Svend Robinson, politician, activist (born 4 March 1952 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States). Robinson was NDP Member of Parliament for Burnaby, British Columbia from 1979 to 2004. In 1988, he became the first member of Parliament to openly identify as gay. Robinson resigned from politics in 2004 after pleading guilty to the theft of a ring; he was subsequently diagnosed with cyclothymia, a type of bipolar disorder. Both within and outside Parliament, he has advocated for environmental protection, the right to physician-assisted death, LGBTQ2 rights and mental health. In January 2019, Robinson announced that he was running for election to Parliament as the NDP candidate for Burnaby North-Seymour.

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Michelle Douglas

Michelle Douglas, LGBTQ activist and advocate, humanitarian, civil servant (born 30 December 1963 in Ottawa, ON). Michelle Douglas began a promising career in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1986 but was honourably discharged for being a lesbian. She launched a successful lawsuit against the military that resulted in the end of its discriminatory policy against gays and lesbians. Douglas has gone on to work with numerous charitable organizations and is director of international relations at the Department of Justice.

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in Canada

Since the late 1960s, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Canada has seen steady gains in rights. While discrimination against LGBT people persists in many places, major strides toward mainstream social acceptance and formal legal equality have nonetheless been made in recent decades. Canada is internationally regarded as a leader in this field. Recent years have seen steady progress on everything from health care to the right to adopt. In 2005, Canada became the fourth country worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage.

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John Watkins

John Benjamin Clark Watkins, diplomat, scholar (born 3 December 1902 in Norval (now Halton Hills), ON; died 12 October 1964 in Montreal, QC). John Watkins was Canadian ambassador to the USSR from 1954 to 1956. In 1955, Watkins organized a historic meeting between Canadian External Affairs Minister Lester B. Pearson and Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union.

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Lilly Singh

Lilly Saini Singh, actor, comedian, author, television host (born 26 September 1988 in Scarborough, ON). Internet personality Lilly Singh has amassed nearly 15 million subscribers and more than 3 billion views since launching her popular channel of YouTube videos under the name IISuperwomanII in 2010. She has since appeared as an actor in films and TV series and published the book How To Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life (2017), which topped the New York Times Business Best Sellers list. In 2017, she ranked No. 10 on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid YouTube stars and won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite YouTube Star. In 2019, NBC announced that Singh would be the host of a new late-night talk show premiering in September of that year called A Little Late with Lilly Singh. She is an outspoken mental health and anti-bullying advocate and came out as bisexual in 2019.