The Royal Canadian Mint has announced the release of a new $1 Canadian coin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of gay sex.

The design was approved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on December 14, Canadian news outlet CBC reported.



The new $1 coin will be released in 2019, and details of its design are currently kept under wraps as the mint wants to “maximise the impact” of the launch.

“That there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

— Pierre Trudeau (1967)

The mint has so far hinted that the new $1 coin will feature the word “equality” in English and French—Canada’s two official languages—as well as the stylised overlapping of two human faces within a large circle.

The face’s description, quoted in CBC, read: “The left half of the left face in front view and the right face in profile facing left, the two faces forming one whole face in front view composed of two eyes with eyebrows, a nose, a mouth and two ears with a small hoop earring on the left ear.”

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The new $1 coin will also display the years 1969 and 2019.

Canada’s new $1 coin commemorates beginning of LGBT+ rights battles.

The year 2019 marks half a century since the Commonwealth country first began to challenge laws banning same-sex sexual activities.

The process had started in 1967 under Trudeau’s father, former Canadian leader Pierre Trudeau. That year, while serving as Justice Minister, he proposed changes to the Criminal Code which, among other things, would decriminalise homosexual relations for Canadians over 21.

“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. When it becomes public this is a different matter, or when it relates to minors this is a different matter” he said at the time.

Spectators attend the annual Pride Festival parade in Toronto, Canada, where the new $1 coin will be released in 2019.
The decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1969 did not end the fight for LGBT+ rights in Canada (Ian Willms/Getty)

The battle for LGBT+ rights however continued, as the persecution of gay men did not end with the 1969 reforms. In February 1981, the police raided four bathhouses in Toronto, arresting more than 250 men in what was known as “Operation Soap.”

A crowd of around 3,000 people then took to the streets to protest the arrests. Several of those arrested had to appear in court, but most of the charges were either dropped or dismissed as a consequence of the community’s response.

Toronto Police chief Mark Saunders apologised for the arrests in 2016.

The following year, Prime Minister Trudeau apologised for the historic persecution of LGBT+ people under the country’s anti-gay laws.

As part of the apology, the government set aside $145 million for reparations—of which $110 million was earmarked for LGBT+ former civil servants who were fired or sidelined in their careers due to their sexuality, while $15 million would be dedicated to historical reconciliation, education and commemoration efforts.




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