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Canada unveils equality coin to mark 50 years since legalization of gay sex

Canada unveils equality coin to mark 50 years since legalization of gay sex

The front face of the new equality coin | Photos: Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled its new $1 ‘equality coin’, honoring the progress of civil rights for LGBTI Canadians.

Canada’s Minister of Finance Bill Morneau unveiled the coin today via a Facebook Live stream.

The unveiling ceremony took place at The 519 Center – an LGBTI center in the heart of Toronto’s gay village.

It has been created to mark 50 years since the beginning of the process of decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.

The new coin combines the words ‘EQUALITY-ÉGALITÉ’ and features the work of Vancouver-based artist Joe Average

It enters into circulation today. Only 3 million of the coins will be produced.

‘The equality coin recognizes their triumphs’

Commenting, Bill Morneau said: ‘For the past 50 years and beyond, Canadians have fought for their right to love, marry, start a family and live openly as their most authentic selves.’

He continued: ‘The equality coin recognizes their triumphs and encourages all of us to build a better, more inclusive Canada – because like the coin itself, the more equality we have in Canada, the richer we all are.’

‘Today is an important day for the LGBTQ2 community, and for all Canadians, as this commemorative coin enters circulation,’ added Randy Boissonnault, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTI issues.

‘It is an opportunity to reflect on a landmark event in our country’s history, and a reminder of the progress still to be made as we work toward inclusion and equality for all LGBTQ2 Canadians.’

‘Open to interpretation’

Joe Average’s design features a stylized celebration of equality viewed through an LGBTI perspective.

The two intertwined faces reflects gender fluidity and the spectrum of genders and, according to a Royal Canadian Mint spokesperson, ‘is left open to interpretation: they may belong to two individuals or they may represent different aspects of one’s identity.’

The back of the coin furthermore features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This design is by Susanna Blunt, in use on Canadian coins since 2003.

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