Rights and Liberties of the LGBT Community in Toronto

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:English

Document 1

Across the ancient human culture, at least a percentage of the population was found to either engage in same-sex and same love sexuality while others percentages involved those who were engaged in intersex activities. For instance, in ancient Africa particularly in Lesotho women engaged in what was known as socially sanctioned long-term erotic relationships while in Congo the Zante warriors usually took boy wives during the war who would assist them with both household chores and sexual activities. In ancient Egypt, pictures and stone drawings have been found depicting both homosexual and heterosexual activities. In America, the earliest individuals respected the role of homosexual, bisexual and gender non-conforming individuals. Looking further on other ancient Geographic's like China, homosexuality was highly known since nearly all the emperors in China had a number of male sex partners. Homosexuality was highly recognized in China and even mentioned in many of the Chinese literary works. In the united states of America between the 18th and 19th century, many of the people lived in rural areas making homosexuality an unwelcomed taboo aspect in the society. Initially, during this era, the term homosexuality had not been put into use but rather known a sodomy, a name which included all sorts of sexual vices. During this time if caught and charged with sodomy, the ultimate punishment given was a death penalty. In ancient Assyria homosexuality was a far much-condemned act in which if found you were stoned to death; the accused were punished equally whether homosexual or heterosexual.

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In medieval ages, basically Europe there was evidence of same-sex scholarly cultures even as represented in their poetry which upheld same-sex love. There went to an extent that even Christian monastic communities were engaged in same-sex relationships. Additionally, in northern Europe, it is noted that single women in the European past found comfort and pleasure from their fellow women. In the Renaissance period marked an era where homosexuals were greatly oppressed by the roman catholic, people who were found engaging in homosexual activities were faced with even death penalties among other harsh punishment. The church at the time employed all the tactics they could to fight same-sex relationships. Same sex relationships were considered criminal offense similar to murder. Between the 1930s to 1940s, thousands of homosexuals were thrown into concentration camps after being marked with upside-down pink triangles on their foreheads.

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These pink upside-down triangles were used to represent their sexual deviance, however, in recent times this symbol have been reclaimed and used in an upright manner as a remembrance of the past times. Between 1948 and 1957 the Kinsey report after a keen speculation and research in the society confirmed that approximately 10 percent of the male population were homosexuals while 2-6 percent were female homosexual. In 1964, there was the formation of Canadas first gay-positive organization with a publication called ASK formed in Vancouver and one named GAY formed in Toronto. In 1978 the homosexuals were allowed to immigrate to Canada after the Immigration law was amended. In the year 1979, the human rights commission recommended on the addition of sexual orientation to the Canadian human rights act as stated in its annual report. Between the 1980s to 1990's sexual discrimination based on the sexuality of persons, was abolished at both national and provincial government levels.

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The Canadian union of postal workers being the first public sector bargaining unit responsible for negotiating benefits for their lesbian and gay members in 1980 and 1981 marking Toronto’s first annual pride in celebration to its achievement. In 1982 the coming to effect of equal rights in the Canadian charter of rights which saw to it that lesbians and gay people were equally treated like other citizens being given protection from discrimination. Reform of the Criminal Code, 1969 This was the beginning of a long process that was a precursor towards realizing Lesbian and Gay rights in Canada. The calls by legal elites and gay political movements like Association for Social Knowledge (ASK) questioned laws that criminalized homosexuality in the 1960s. Educational programs and awareness on homosexuality were conducted by these groups to call for decriminalization of sodomy laws in Canada.

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The Everett George Klippert case brought to the limelight this fight for lesbians and gay rights. This is after George was arrested and convicted for gross indecency and labeled as a very dangerous sex offender. This rise in women movements and a secular social structure in cities such as Quebec led to the shifts in gender roles and relations of power. The nationalist movement in Quebec was linked with the gay, lesbian and feminist movements. These lesbian, gay and feminist organizations were mainly racist at the time since they were mostly dominated by French and English speaking Canadian white majority (Warner 2002). After World War II the Human Rights Commission were formed in Canadian provincial legislation in order to address factors such as discrimination in employment and housing. But later they were key to addressing discrimination issues such as race, national origin, sex, and religion.

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The PQ government changed the Quebec charter in 1977, making Quebec the first province to disregard discrimination against sexual orientation (Higgins 1999). Gay liberation movements mainly had a strategy of countering cultural politics and to raise awareness through legal rights campaigns in order to liberate individuals’ sexuality. These campaigns for inclusion of gay rights in the law at both provincial and federal levels were important in gathering more gays and lesbians to’ come out of the closet’ and join their cause to legalize gay rights. The political and legal structure at the provincial governments was better organized and aligned better than at the federal government level. This is mainly due to the fact that gay rights were better approved at these levels when presented by Human Rights Commissions than in the federal government especially after the 1982 charter.

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This happened through some few cases that provided a breakthrough like Haig v Canada in 1992 and ended with the Vriend decision in 1998. These cases helped LGBT movements' rights to be recognized by the federal and provincial government. The decision of 1998 specified sexual orientation is included in Alberta's human rights legislation, therefore allowing complaints on the basis of sexual orientation in provincial confines (Gotell 2002). Same sex relationships’ recognition was fought for in other cases in 1995. The Supreme court ruled that sexual orientation was outdated under the equality rights provision, section 15 of the charter. Nearly two dozen homosexual couples applied for marriage certificates and licenses that year. In the year 2005 Alberta and PEI were the only ones that didn't allow same-sex marriages. Bill c-38 was made a federal law in 2003 July making Canada the fourth country in the world to allow same-sex marriage, it also allowed two names of the same sex parent to appear on a child’s birth certificate.

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In the year 2004, a similar question to that of 2003 on whether the attempt of the supreme court limiting common law marriage too opposite-sex couples was in accordance to the law and constitution was posted by justice minister Irwin Cotler. On March the same year, the Quebec court of appeal ruled out that homosexuals had the right to marry claiming that the traditional definition of marriage was discriminatory and cruel. In 2012 the Canadian government held a discussion on how to make same-sex legal divorce for both gay and lesbian couples who had come to Canada to get married and had been married for at least one year. Many of the lesbian and gay people who could not marry in their own country went to Canada to seek legal marriage services Trans Humans Rights Basing on trans human rights in Canada, protection of their rights still remains unpredictable and limited since there are currently no laws that exclusively but their discrimination basing on their gender identity.

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Despite the attempts of some members of parliament to introduce and expand legislation that caters for the indiscrimination of this population the current government has shown no interest in seeing such a legislation pass. Transgender variants do not have protection under the Canadian charter of rights and freedom of the Canadian human rights act. Basing on blood donation since a policy that was enacted in 2009 by the Canadian government law courts, Canada still upholds the ban against men who have sex with other men from donating blood. Secondly, same-sex marriage encourages people to have strong family values giving up high risks of sexual lifestyles. Another advantage includes similar financial benefits that apply to normal marriages is also applied to same-sex marriages. Thirdly the only thing that matters in marriage is love and hence allows members to maintain openness and minimize discrimination.

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Conclusion In conclusion, from the context above it is seen that same-sex love has always been there since the ancient times in history, we find that despite same-sex love being condemned In the old times to an extent of which the victims were even killed or charged with a death sentence a lot of progress has been made to fight for their rights. In the past same-sex love was seen as an abomination or rather a taboo by many societies and was something that was not openly talked of in the midst of people. Encarnación, O. G. A Latin American Puzzle: Gay Rights Landscapes in Argentina and Brazil.  Human Rights Quarterly, 40(1), 194-218. Jowett, A. Nash, C. J. Gay and lesbian political mobilization in urban spaces: Toronto.  Queer Mobilizations: Social Movement Activism and Canadian Public Policy, 208-226.

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Rau, Krishna.

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