PM Justin Trudeau to formally apologize for Canada's past discrimination against gay Canadians

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      While Canada has developed into becoming one of the world's leading countries in LGBT rights over the past few decades, the Canadian government is continuing its progress in LGBT equality by preparing to issue a formal apology for past homophobic discrimination against gay citizens.

      Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will deliver a historic formal apology for the federal government's persecution of LGBT people in the past. The apology, for those criminally charged or fired from their government job on the basis of their homosexuality, is scheduled to be presented on November 28.

      The government is also anticipated to apologize to and clear the criminal records of anyone convicted of engaging in homosexual activity before same-sex sexual activity was decriminalized in 1969 by then–Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who famously stated "There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nations".

      An expulsion of LGBT people from the government took place up until the 1980s.

      In the 1950s and '60s, the "fruit machine" (fruit referring to a derogatory term for gay men), a questionable device that measured the eyes, perspiration, and pulse while subjects viewed pornography, was used in a campaign to remove gay men from civil service, RCMP, and the military.

      A ban that prevented gay people from being in the military was removed in 1992.

      In addition to the apology, a financial settlement will also be offered and a fund will be established to memorialize past victims.

      The apology is being made in response to recommendations made in a report by Egale Canada Human Rights Trust released on June 2.

      “This is a long-awaited moment and a very emotional moment, to be honest,” Egale executive director Helen Kennedy stated in a news release. “For the government to recognize the damage that it caused, the harm that it caused, to thousands and thousands of Canadians is a historic moment for our communities.”

      On September 18, MP Randy Boissonnault, the prime minister's special advisor on LGBTQ2S issues, announced the creation of an advisory council, comprised of 11 individuals from across the country, to develop the apology. The council included Canada's first openly gay MP Svend Robinson (former MP for Burnaby-Kingsway) and Vancouver minister Gary Paterson, the first openly gay moderator of the United Church of Canada.  

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.