Gay Friendly Canada
Canada will mark ten years of marriage equality, nationwide on July 20, 2015, as it continues to be one of the most progressive LGBT-welcoming countries in the world. The provinces of Ontario and British Columbia led the way two years earlier and will mark twelve years since the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2003. We have included a special section in this edition to commemorate these landmarks in Canadian history.
LGBT rights in Canada have been among the most advanced in the world. Sexual activity between consenting same-sex adults was decriminalized in 1969. Anti-discrimination laws have also been in effect with regards to employment, provision of goods and services, recognition of common law same-sex couples for financial and immigration benefits, step child adoption and joint child adoption for same-sex couples, the right to change gender, in vitro fertilisation for lesbians and the ability to serve openly in the military, for example.
Public acceptance has allowed Canada’s LGBT community to thrive and flourish across the country, with many LGBTQ-specific events now being celebrated by the mainstream public and corporate Canada. Pride events are often among the largest festivals in major cities and a large number of smaller events are being celebrated in small town Canada as well.
Although much progress has been made, there are still challenges being addressed, such as gender identity issues for the transgender community, a clash between LGBT and religious freedom and addressing bullying in schools.
Major events, like the WorldPride Human Rights Conference held in conjunction with the massive WorldPride celebrations in Toronto in 2014, are also helping to address ongoing issues at home, as well as the plight of LGBT people abroad. Also, since the first Pride House at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Pride Houses have been showcased at the 2012 London Summer Olympics and will be included in the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in Toronto in 2015.
Another highlight was the opening of the Canadian Museum For Human Rights in Winnipeg in 2014, with diverse multi-media exhibits and galleries focusing on stories from Canada and abroad. Galleries include exhibits on Indigenous Perspectives, Examining the Holocaust, Protecting Rights in Canada, Turning Points for Humanity and Inspiring Change, to name a few.
LGBT tourism continues to be recognized as a priority travel segment for a number of Canadian tourism organizations. Representatives can be met face-to-face at many domestic and international LGBT travel expos, travel conventions, Pride events and film festivals, year-round. International travel surveys also continue to highlight Canada as a preferred, year-round destination of choice by many LGBT travellers.
This is a fantastic time to visit Canada, where people can openly be who they are, without fear of legal discrimination in the workplace, where they live, or because of who they choose to love. Well done Canada!