On Sunday, Justin Trudeau once again marched in the Toronto Pride procession. Sporting a rainbow maple leaf tattoo on his cheek, the Canadian Prime Minister met with onlookers from all walks of life, joined by wife Sophie Grégoire and their children.
“Love is love. #PrideTO,” Trudeau tweeted along with several photos.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 25, 2017
1. Justin Trudeau 2. at Pride 3. wearing rainbow socks 4. high-fiving a little girl dressed as Wonder Woman pic.twitter.com/1xYQoOaPOt
— laura olin (@lauraolin) June 25, 2017
The event coincided with the end of the Muslim holy season of Ramadan, and Trudeau took the occasion to honor both events. “This is all about including people, which is today, on Eid al Fitr, I’m happy to wish a ’Pride mubarak’ to everyone.”
Eagle-eye spectators noticed Trudeau’s socks celebrated Ramadan, as well.
— Nick Ashdown (@Nick_Ashdown) June 25, 2017
It was also announced last week that the Canadian government will officially apologize for the persecution and harassment of LGBT Canadians—as in the U.S., thousands of gay men and lesbians lost government and military jobs during the Cold War, as part of ongoing anti-gay witch hunts.
In doing so, Canada will join countries like the UK, Australia and Germany in issuing official mea culpas for past injustices to their LGBT citizens.
The apology “reaffirms the fact that we’re not broken, there’s not something horribly wrong with us”, says former naval officer Simon Thwaites, who was drummed out of the Armed Forces in 1989 because of his sexual orientation and HIV-status. “We didn’t do anything wrong by just being ourselves.” (Thwaites is part of a larger class-action lawsuit against the federal government for discrimination.)
Some victims given the choice of being dismissed or undergoing psychiatric treatment. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police even tried to develop a “fruit machine,” a crude lie detector test that could identify homosexuals by monitoring pupil dilation when watching porn. (It didn’t work.)
In the 1990s, sexual orientation was added to the Canadian Human Rights Act and institutional discrimination on the level Thwaites faced was officially outlawed. This month, gender identity and gender orientation were added to the act as well.
Trudeau announced the government will not only issue an apology but will expunge the records of people arrested because of their sexuality.
“It’s the right thing to do,” says MP Randy Boissonnault, Trudeau’s special advisor on LGBT issues. “People’s lives and careers were turned upside down. We can’t move forward as a country, we can’t move forward as a community, until this is done.”
Below, view more images from Toronto Pride.