A History of LGBTQ+ Rights in Canada

Since the days of the French colonists, Canada’s LGBTQ+ community has struggled to gain rights equal to heterosexuals and cisgender people. We’re happy to say that this year’s celebration of Canada 150 is marked by growing acceptance and recognition of Canada’s LGBTQ+ community. Just recently, on June 19, Bill C-16 was passed, which protects gender identity and gender expression under the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code. But, it’s been a long road to get to this point.

Let’s take a look at some highlights of the history of LGBTQ+ rights in Canada:

Klippert in 1965

Everett Klippert was the last person to be arrested and imprisoned for openly admitting that he was gay. He was released in 1971.

Decriminalization in 1969

Shortly after Klippert was convicted, lawmakers began working to decriminalize homosexuality. This was finally achieved in 1969, when the Criminal Law Amendment Act was passed.

Supreme Court Case 1991

In an important case, the Supreme Court of Canada supported Delvin Vriend who was fired from his job in Alberta for being gay. Although the province could have invoked the notwithstanding clause, they didn’t. The case lasted for seven years, concluding in 1998 when the high court ruled that the exclusion of homosexuals from Alberta’s laws was a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Marriage 2005

Although many provinces took the step to legalize same-sex marriages earlier than this, it wasn’t until 2005 that Canada as a country made the legal right to marry law.

We’re grateful for the brave people who have helped forge this path of progress for our community. Let’s celebrate everything that our country now offers without forgetting the difficult road towards truth and reconciliation that lies ahead. 

Here at Fairy Tales, we’ll continue to strive to support and advance the LGBTQ+ community towards a brighter future.

The Fairy Tales Presentation Society is a not-for-profit, charitable organization located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We celebrate local and national queer artists and share diverse stories based in film. We create engaging social experiences through representative film, and utilize queer film as a vehicle for discussion and social change in our communities.

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