The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada. This anniversary is an opportunity for Canadians to better understand the role it played in transforming the face of Canada, and from there, to better appreciate Canada’s history and shared values, and to express their pride in belonging to this great big progressive and tolerant country that is open to diversity. The project STANDING BY OUR COLOURS / AFFICHONS NOS COULEURS whishes’ to celebrate this important anniversary that contributed to the construction of the Canadian identity.

This anniversary will also provide the opportunity to give a little more visibility to sexual and gender minorities, to their achievements, as well as their challenges, which remain very much present in Canada and around the world.

Throughout 2019, initiatives will be deployed across the country to mark this historic moment affirming and recognizing sexual and gender diversity in Canada.

This website exposes the great history of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada, as well as the evolution of the LGBTQ2+* Canadian community over the last 50 years.

2019 – 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality

The rights of LGBTQ2+ people in Canada are among the most advanced in the world. One of the turning points leading to this was the Canadian government’s adoption, on May 14, 1969, of the law decriminalizing sexual relations between same sex people aged 21 and over, which had previously been punishable by imprisonment.

Despite the shortcomings acknowledged by some, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 remains an important achievement by the Canadian government because it enabled LGBTQ2+ people to identify themselves as such without fear of incarceration. This initial and novel opening prompted the emergence of several organizations, as well as of a whole lawful movement for the right to love who we choose and for social acceptance.

*Note: The use of LGBT, LGBTQ, and other acronyms in reference to gender and/or sexual diversity throughout this site reflects publications, works and articles identifying members of the LGBTQ2+ community at the time they were written or in the context in which they were published. For the purposes of this site, and in order to acknowledge the full range of gender and/or sexual diversity, we use the term LGBTQ2+.

Overview of the keynote changes over the past 50 years

Important: Most of the information presented here is drawn from other Internet sites. This overview of the progress made over the past 50 years in the legal and social spheres does not claim to present all of the issues nor all of the battles led by the LGBTQ2+ community and its allies to obtain those rights.

Timeline

1969-1990
1969

Adoption of the Omnibus Bill

1971

Submission of the We demand brief : the first national demonstration

A dozen of homosexual groups, including the FLH from Montreal, gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to demand legislative and policy changes to end discrimination against gays and lesbians.

1977

The Province of Quebec prohibit discrimination

The Province of Quebec was the first jurisdiction in North America and the second society in the world, after Denmark, to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation by entrenching it in Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, which came into effect on June 28, 1976.

1978

The rainbow flag

Created by San Francisco graphic designer and militant Gilbert Baker for the Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade, which took place in San Francisco on June 25, 1978.

1991-2000
1996

Human Rights

The protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation is included in the Canadian Human Rights Act (the Act).

1999

Common-law unions

The Supreme Court handed down a ruling including same-sex partners in common-law unions.

2001-Aujourd'hui
2005

Legalization of homosexual marriage in Canada

Effectively making it legal in Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, which had not yet passed legislation in that regard.

2017

The Canadian Human Rights Act is amended to include the prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

2019

50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada