Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to equalize the age of consent difference between vaginal and anal sex.
This pledge comes as he will become the first serving Canadian Prime Minister to join in the Pride march.
Ahead of the event, he sat down and chatted with Canada’s Daily Xtra.
In the 17-minute chat, which you can watch below, Trudeau talked about LGBTI rights in Canada, addressing such issues as the blood donation ban deferral for gay men, the gender recognition of trans people (‘Canada has a lot of catching up to do’), the age of consent discrepancy between anal and vaginal sex, and what Canada is doing to help advance LGBTI rights abroad.
‘The cost for countries wanting to engage with Canada is that there will be pressure to make changes and reflections,’ he said, when talking about countries that look to Canada for development aid.
He said he had spoken to Canadian ambassadors around the world, ‘and told them that part of their job is to be outspoken on Canadian values and the fundamental human rights that we stand for… to engage with communities in a way that is diplomatically respectful.
‘Canada has an active voice that we want to use in terms of trending the arc of the moral universe in the right direction.’
Trudeau has taken part in the Toronto Pride parade in the past, but this will be his first time as Prime Minister. Asked what he’s looking forward towards, he said, ‘Seeing a whole bunch of old friends who, whenever I went to the parade over the past years, were tremendously supportive. I think we recognize that it’s not just me going to the parade yet again.
‘This is a position that the community and Canadians put in place a Prime Minister who understood how important it was to attend Pride, and that’s worth celebrating.’
He said he gets asked whether Pride is still relevant, but he said that the recent tragedy in Orlando, and the fact that so many countries still don’t hold Pride parades, are among the reasons why Pride remains relevant in Canada.
‘We still have a long way to go.
‘Having the Prime Minister, the head of the Government, attend the Pride celebration, it is still an important milestone and I feel unbelievably privileged that I get to be that Prime Minister.’
He is also asked how the Government can make amends to the many people persecuted or prosecuted for being gay before same-sex sexual activity was legalized and anti-discrimination laws came into effect.
‘We do need to recognize the terrible mistakes made in the past that we need to make sure we learn from, that we reflect on and that we make amends for, however that comes or whatever form that takes is something we need to reflect on and discuss.’
On being asked whether the government will address the difference in the age of consent for vaginal and anal sex (which, for unmarried couples, stands at 16 years and 18 years respectively), he says, ‘That’s something we very much look forward to moving on in short order.’
Watch the interview below.