December 22, 1967
If you are a Canadian, and this date isn’t familiar to you, you’re going to want to keep reading.
Oh, heck, you non-Canadians should read it too!
In 1967, our then Justice Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau proposed amendments to the criminal code which would attempt to relax laws against homosexuality. He made this proposal after the arrest two years earlier of Everett Klippert, a man whose crime was admitting to police that he had sexual relations with men. He’d been doing so for 24 years, he said, and wasn’t likely to change. The courts ruled this man a “dangerous sex offender” and in 1967, he was sentenced by the Supreme Court to “indefinite imprisonment”. It was on December 22nd that Trudeau famously said “I think the view we take here is that there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. I think that what's done in private between adults doesn't concern the Criminal Code”. Thank-you, Pierre; we salute you (in the traditional way, though, not in the way you’re most famous for). Two years later, in 1969, these amendments resulted in the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada. And yes, Mr. Klippert was released from his indefinite sentence.
So why is this important today? Because today, 17 May, is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. At this moment, there are 72 countries where homosexuality is criminalized, 8 of which apply the death penalty. And while 1969 seems like ancient history to some of us, it was not that long ago. At that time, people were hiding, lying, and waking in the morning not knowing weather their job, apartment, group of friends, or even their safely would still be there at the end of the day. It’s been a slow process, but have a look at the timeline to see how years and hours of tireless work brought us out of the dark ages.
Although there is still a long way to go, here in Canada, we now have protections under the law, as well as same sex marriage. This cultural shift is also apparent in the arena of reproductive rights. Things have certainly progressed since 1995, when same-sex couples first won the right to apply for adoption. Now, members of the LGBTQ community have several options for building a family, such as surrogacy, donor eggs/sperm, and various procedures such as IVF and IUI. No matter what your particular situation, at Acubalance, we support everyone. If you are building a family, we are here to help.
Today we all have cause to both celebrate and remain vigilant. Things are much better, but the job is not done.