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WATCH: Justin Trudeau formally apologizes to LGBTQ2 Canadians for 'unjust treatment'

He delivered his speech in the House of Commons today

WATCH: Justin Trudeau formally apologizes to LGBTQ2 Canadians for 'unjust treatment'
The Canadian government apologizes to its LGBTQ2 citizens. | Photo: YouTube/Global News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized today (28 November) for the ‘unjust treatment’ of LGBTQ2 Canadians.

He delivered his speech in the House of Commons.

Trudeau first revealed he would be apologizing early last week. Specifically, the apology addresses LGBTQ2 service members who were ‘purged’ from the military during the Cold War and beyond.

These agonizing and humiliating tests happened between the 1950s and 1992, a timeline, Trudeau acknowledges in the speech, ‘more recent than any of us would like to admit’.

‘Now imagine, if you will,’ Trudeau begins. ‘Being told that the very country you would willingly lay down your life to defend, doesn’t want you, doesn’t accept you, sees you as defective, sees you as a threat to our national security.

‘Not because you can’t do the job, or because you lack patriotism or courage — no, because of who you are as a person, and because of who your sexual partners are.

‘Imagine having to fight for the basic rights that your peers enjoy, over and over again. And imagine being criminalized for being who you are. This is the truth for many of the Canadians present in the gallery today, and those listening across the country.’

Watch the whole speech.

The apology then begins: ‘For state sponsored systemic oppression and rejection, we are sorry. For suppressing two-spirit indigenous values and beliefs, we are sorry. For abusing the power of the law and making criminals of citizens, we are sorry.’

Two-spirit is a term that refers to indigenous North Americans who fulfill a third gender.

Trudeau continues in both English and French, apologizing for many of the Canadian government’s grievances.

‘For the government’s censure and its repeated attempts to stop you from building your communities. For denying your equality and forcing you to fight for that equality every day, often paying a high price to do so. For forcing you to live in the margins, for making you invisible and for humiliating you, we are deeply sorry. We were wrong.’

Read the full speech here.

‘We will never let this happen again’

Trudeau further promised to keep fighting and making amends.

Other officials also lent their voices to apologize.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Michael Wernick, tweeted the following:

The Chief of the Defence Staff also apologized.

Rob Oliphant, an openly out MP, said the speech left him speechless.

Trudeau’s track record

The current Canadiam PM has a good history with LGBTQ rights.

He marched in several Pride parades earlier this year, including Toronto, Halifax, and Montreal.

He also expunged criminal convictions for LGBTQ Canadians.

Many are regarding this speech and apology as one of the most sweeping acknowledgements for LGBTQ people by a government.


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