LGBTQ+: Journey Toward Equal Rights

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The Montréal Pride festival runs from August 10 to 16: a week of community and cultural online events to celebrate the journey toward equal rights. Here are some landmarks in the LGBTQ+ struggle in Quebec and Canada.

1969 – Homosexuality is decriminalized.

1969 was a turning point in Canada that ended over 100 years of prohibition and severe sanctions. Before then, homosexuals could be sent to prison for 5 to 14 years!  

1977 – Discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited.

The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms came into effect in 1976.  A year later, in 1977, it became illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.  From that time on, the Quebec Charter has offered gays and lesbians protection from discrimination with regard to  work and housing, among other areas.

Twenty years later, in 1996, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation.

2002 – Quebec recognizes civil unions and extends adoption rules.

Civil unions allow same-sex couples to enter a legal relationship and enjoy the same benefits as married couples.

Adoption rules were changed to allow anyone, whether single, married, in a civil union, or in a common-law relationship, to adopt children regardless of their sexual orientation.

2005 – Same-sex marriages become legal.

Canada becomes the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages, after the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain.

2015 – Changing an act of birth to reflect gender identity becomes easier.

Quebecers can have the name and designation of sex on their act of birth changed to match their gender identity without having surgery or other medical treatment.

2016 – 2017 – More protection for trans persons

In 2016, Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms was changed to protect people from discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

In 2017, the same change was made to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And it became a crime to publicly encourage hate or communicate hateful statements aimed at trans persons, or to advocate genocide of trans persons.