Trudeau promises apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay

Trudeau said he will formally apologize on Nov. 28 to people forced out of public service or prosecuted based on their sexual and gender identities.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a town hall with high school students in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 3, 2016. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a town hall with high school students in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 3, 2016. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

OTTAWA — Martine Roy was just 20 years old and less than a year into her chosen career as a medical assistant with the Canadian Armed Forces at CFB Borden when military police suddenly showed up at her workplace to arrest her.

They brought her to an interrogation room and demanded she admit she was a lesbian. They put her through psychological testing. Within a year she had been dishonourably discharged from the army.

Thirty-three years later she cannot hold back the tears as she prepares to hear an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons.

“It’s amazing,” Roy told The Canadian Press on Sunday afternoon, from her home in Montreal. “Even though if you fight all your life for that it’s always hard to believe it will happen.”

Trudeau confirmed on Twitter he will offer the apology to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited people who were forced out of the military or public service and some who were even prosecuted criminally for “gross indecency.”

“On November 28, the Government will offer a formal apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians in the House — for the persecution & injustices they have suffered, and to advance together on the path to equality & inclusion,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter.

Starting in the 1950s and lasting until 1992, thousands of Canadians in the military, RCMP, and across the civil service were fired under the policy. Roy refers to it as “the purge” by which the government tried to weed out people they felt were susceptible to foreign intimidation and blackmail because of their sexual orientation.

The government developed a homosexuality test known as the “fruit machine,” which measured arousal to pornographic images in order to provide proof of sexual orientation to back up the reason for firing, or denying someone a promotion.

Roy said when the military police showed up at her door she didn’t even know what her sexual orientation was and the firing “entirely changed my life.”

She said she tried for five years to fight back but eventually she decided she wasn’t going to put any more energy into it.

“You really think you did a big big crime,” she said of the ordeal. “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with your skills.”

She said in 1992 when Canada changed the law she expected an apology but that didn’t happen until now.

“It means a lot,” said Roy, fighting tears. “It means even more coming from (Trudeau) because I know it’s going to come from his heart.”

Trudeau promised to issue the apology more than a year ago after Egale Canada, a group that advocates for the rights of sexual minorities, released a report on the matter and made a number of recommendations including that a formal apology be issued.

The government has been consulting with Egale and others to determine the best way to approach the apology.

A spokeswoman for Egale said on Sunday that having a date is “exciting.”

“We think it’s long overdue,” said Jennifer Boyce.

Canada is also facing a class action suit from more than 2,000 people who say they were persecuted by the federal government for their sexual orientation. Negotiations to settle that suit are underway.


Trudeau promises apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay

  1. Amazing the number of good intelligent people we’re willing to lose……, native, female, poor…..because of some stupid local prejudice…

  2. It cant be easy living with a mental disorder.

    Wanting to be considered and accepted as normal by not only others but themselves as well.

    How can we make their suffering go away?

    Is it really as easy as lying to them? Saying that what they have is not a disorder and that once everyone realizes this, their suffering will go away?

    The problem with this popular notion is that there will always be some people who still value truth, and they would not lie even if it was promised by others to be the best course of action.

    The instant people accept a lie as reality, they become untethered from it, insane. Yes, even you.

    Only heterosexuals can partake in combining their living cells to create new life, continuing from each of their living biological genetic histories, which can be shared and understood as they grow through life together as a biological family.

    Only heterosexuals can hope to experience this with their children.

    As long as people want the best for their children, to experience life in a biological family, they will teach their children to reject non heterosexual behaviour.

    Not all parents are created equal. Some live post truth lives, untethered from reality, believing in rainbow unicorns, and teaching their children as much.

    One day they will realize that we are unwise to try to escape reality and that we live in a democracy not a theocracy,

    Trudeau is welcome to apologize for injustice. But we won’t join him to be untethered from reality.

    The suffering continues as our leaders criminalize the development of medical research and treatment.

    Gender dysphasia is a mental disorder that transgender people experience before they undergo sterilization and extensive hormonal and cosmetic surgery.

    I won’t wish that on anyone.

    • Dysphoria.

  3. I wish he would apologize to the millions of Canadians who are being over taxed because the wealthiest are hiding their money offshore . Not a word on the Paradise Papers recently , eh Macleans ?

  4. Wait `till he reads the latest from the Boyle’s captivity in Afghanistan, are we going to hear the apologies flow then, get ready for another 10million dollar cheque