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Ombudsman’s statement on Pride Season


On June 15th, the Government of Canada will raise Pride flags until the end of August to honour members of the 2SLGBTQIAA+ communities. Pride months are often celebratory events for 2SLGBTQIAA+ individuals, a time to display pride in who they are and most importantly to feel safe to express who they are. Unfortunately, many members of 2SLGBTQIAA+ communities continue to encounter hate, discrimination, and violence. Perpetrators of the violence range from acquaintances, strangers, friends, family, and institutions, including various levels of governments.

Canada has taken steps towards addressing this, for instance in 2017 Prime Minister Trudeau made a formal apology for the physical and structural violence the government committed against the 2SLGBTQIAA+ communities over the years.1 Despite the formal apology, hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity increased by 41% between 2018 – 2019 compared to 2016 – 2017. 2  My Office condemns the hate crimes perpetrated against the 2SLGBTQIAA+ communities.

Rebuilding the trust between the government and the 2SLGBTQIAA+ communities does not end with raising a rainbow flag. Pride months represent more than a celebration of sexuality and gender identity. Pride months are an opportunity to raise awareness of the hate and discrimination that persist in our society and to call for more respect, love and acceptance of the gender and sexual diversity of all people.

If you, or anyone you love, is struggling with their sexuality or gender expression, please reach out to one of the following helplines:

 

Heidi Illingworth
Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime

 

2 Greg Moreau, 2021. Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics.  https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2021001/article/00002-eng.htm

3 Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM), Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit professional association for LGBTQ+ people in the STEM community. With over 100 student chapters at colleges/universities and professional chapters in cities across the United States and abroad, oSTEM is the largest chapter-based organization focused on LGBTQ+ people in STEM.