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Canadians mark 40 years of gay rights activism

PinkNews Staff Writer November 9, 2007
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On November 7, 1967, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the appeal of George Everett Klippert, who had been condemned to indefinite imprisonment for consensual sexual relations with other men.

The next day, Tommy Douglas, the first leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, rose in the House of Commons and called for homosexuality to be decriminalised.

Since then, the NDP has led the pack in defense of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

New Democrats succeeded in banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, tirelessly worked for equal marriage and are fighting today for international LGBT rights and for an end to discrimination based on gender identity.

As proof of its firm resolve to stand up for full equality and human rights, the NDP marked this important anniversary by unanimously adopting a comprehensive range of policies on LGBT rights during its Federal Council in Winnipeg last weekend.

“This action by the NDP federal council gives us the clearest and most comprehensive policies on LGBT issues of any party,” Bill Siksay, MP for Burnaby-Douglas and NDP spokesperson for LGBT issues, said in a release.

These policies, sponsored by the NDP-Quebec Section and by the Burnaby-Douglas (British Columbia) and Trinity-Spadina (Ontario) riding (constituency) associations, go to the heart of the struggles the LGBT community face.

In particular, they call for policies that protect young LGBT people from the hatred and social inequity that causes such appalling rates of suicide and homelessness among them.

They also take a clear stance against the discrimination faced by refugees fleeing homophobic discrimination and violence; for legal protections and equity for transgender and transsexual people; and for the Canadian government to meet its responsibilities to work for human rights for LGBT people around the world.

According to Siksay, “Canada has led the world in equality and participation of gay and lesbian citizens. But challenges remain.

“Transsexual and transgender Canadians need full human rights protections, and LGBTT people in Canada and around the world suffer prejudice and discrimination, even to the point of violence and death. Our work is not yet done.”

Chrys Hudson © 2007; All Rights Reserved.

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