Advancing the Equality of LGBTQ+ Canadians
WHEREAS non-violence, social justice, and a respect for diversity serve as three of the six core values of the Green Party of Canada and the Global Green movement;
WHEREAS despite the Green Party of Canada’s strong record of fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, very little membership approved, formally adopted policy exists on LGBTQ+ issues;
WHEREAS Conversion therapy (which treats one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression as a mental illness and attempts to “convert” ” LGBTQ+ people) has been widely discredited by relevant professional organizations and has contributed to serious mental health issues, trauma, and suicides;
WHEREAS the LGBTQ+ community (or segments thereof) faces elevated risks of a variety of mental health challenges, self-harm, substance abuse, PTSD, suicide, physical assault, sexualized/gender based violence, hate crimes, discrimination, homelessness, and poverty;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada: advocate for amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act to explicitly include gender identity and gender expression as protected grounds of discrimination, amendments to the Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression in hate sentencing and hate propaganda provisions, and advocate for the introduction of a third sex identifier of “X” in Canadian passports;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada: advocate for an end to “conversion therapy,” support achieving an equal age of consent across Canada by repealing s. 159 of the Criminal Code, and work to ensure that Canada plays a leading role fighting for LGBTQ+ rights globally through diplomatic efforts, foreign assistance, and support the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green party of Canada: advocate for significant increase in federal funding, coordination and support for robust, comprehensive strategies on mental health, addictions, sexual education, sexualized and gender based violence, and housing for all Canadians while encompassing specific components to address the needs of Canada’s LGBTQ+ community.
While LGBTQ+ rights have made tremendous advances in recent decades, our work is far from done. Trans, genderqueer, intersex, agender and non-binary Canadians still lack equal protection under the Human Rights Act and Hate Crime legislation.1 While Australia and New Zealand allow for a third option for passport identifiers, many Canadians lack access to identification which accurately reflects their identify.1 Though it’s been overthrown in parts of the country, the Canadian Criminal Code retains a discriminatory age of consent for anal sex1.
In Canada, the LGBTQ+ community, or portions of the community, face elevated risks of a variety of mental health challenges, self-harm, substance abuse, PTSD, suicide, physical assault, sexualized/gender based violence, hate crimes, discrimination, homelessness and poverty.2
The only current membership approved policy dealing explicitly with the rights of LGBTQ+ Canadians are resolutions “G06-p39” and “1996 – Same-Sex Marriages.”
Parts of this resolution encompasses positions which the Green Party has already taken, but have not been approved by membership through a policy resolution, while other parts of the resolution bring forward issues that the party has yet to confront.
In addition to calling for specific consideration for Canada’s LGBTQ+ community, this policy also entrenches strong commitments in membership approved policy to a number of social policies of great benefit to all Canadians. Specifically, this policy serves to reinforce the strong existing commitment in membership approved policy on housing, greatly strengthens our policy on addictions and introduces strong progressive commitments on mental health, sexual education and sexualized and gender based violence to membership approved policy.
I believe that this policy is likely to have a positive impact on the electability of Green MPs. In 2012, a Forum Poll showed fertile electoral ground for strong positions on LGBTQ+ rights, especially for the Greens.3
There would likely be some small costs for administering the legislative and bureaucratic changes in the resolution, and more substantive spending increases associated with the commitments on mental health, global advocacy, addictions, sexualized and gender based violence and housing. However, these investments would also serve to generate revenue in the long term by reducing the costs of poverty and increasing productivity.