November 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm PST | by Michael K. Lavers
Canada apologizes to victims of anti-LGBT government laws, policies
Justin Trudeau, gay news, Washington Blade

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Nov. 28, 2017, apologized to those who suffered persecution and discrimination under the country’s anti-LGBT laws and policies. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday apologized to those who suffered persecution and discrimination under the country’s anti-LGBT laws and policies.

Trudeau — who spoke in the Canadian House of Commons — formally apologized to Canadians who were convicted of “gross indecency” before the country decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in 1969. He also announced the introduction of a bill that would expunge the criminal records of those who were prosecuted under the law.

Trudeau formally apologized to those who were fired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the country’s military and civil service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. He also apologized Canadians who faced discrimination under anti-LGBT policies and regulations.

“We have failed to (protect) LGBTQ2 communities, individuals time and time again,” said Trudeau. “It is with shame and sorrow and deep regret that the things we have done that I stand here today and say we were wrong, we apologize. I am sorry. we are sorry.”

Canada is the latest country to formally apologize to men who were convicted under laws that criminalized homosexuality.

A law named after Alan Turing — a gay British mathematician who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 for having a relationship with another man — that pardoned gay and bisexual men in England and Wales who were charged under a law that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual acts took effect earlier this year. Germany and other countries have also taken similar actions.

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry in January formally apologized to State Department personnel who were fired for “alleged homosexuality” during the so-called “lavender scare” of the 1950s and 1960s. U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced a bill that would allow those who were fired during the “lavender scare” to have their employment records expunged.

Homosexuality remain criminalized in more than 70 countries around the world. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Mauritania are among the handful of nations in which those who are convicted of engaging in consensual same-sex sexual acts face the death penalty.

The Washington Blade will provide additional information and reaction as it becomes available.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade.

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