Support of gay rights is essential in society
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
It was recently announced that Justin Trudeau will be marching in the Toronto Pride Parade, making him the first prime minister to participate in one. Trudeau has marched in these parades before, making the announcement characteristic and unsurprising.
Nevertheless, support of the LGBTQ+ community is essential in our Canadian (and any progressive) society, and it is important that national leaders reflect that. A lot of progress has been made for LGBTQ+ rights in the past decade, but there is still plenty of work to do. The LGBTQ+ represent roughly four per cent of the population—1.5 million Canadians— who continue to be ostracized and discriminated against by a large portion of society.
Thousands, if not more, of LGBTQ+ students across the country continue to be harassed, bullied, and rejected daily for their orientations. They are ostracized by peers, schools, friends, businesses, politicians, churches, and even families for being honest about their feelings and identities. They are bullied, harassed, and stereotyped across the larger media and by many authoritative figures. The LGBTQ+ continue to feel unsafe and rejected in their own schools, public areas, or homes, and this occurs in every city in every province in our country. In addition to being disproportionate targets for bullying and harassment, the LGBTQ+ experience a much higher rate of poor mental health, self-harm, homelessness, and suicide attempts.
Twenty-two per cent of Canadians disapprove of same-sex marriage, something legalized in this country over a decade ago. The lack of progressive LGBTQ+ rights in other parts of the world is also troubling; in some countries, homosexuality is still punishable by imprisonment, lashes, or execution.
We all know people who are LGBTQ+, whether we realize it or not. Their progress into full acceptance in our society is coming along, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Trudeau’s pledged support of this community is a milestone in governmental acceptance. We can only hope that any LGBTQ+ member of society, particularly ones feeling completely rejected, feels a little bit of hope in seeing that the Prime Minister has their back.