Every November 11, we honour those who risked or lost their lives defending their country. Rarely acknowledged in these annual commemorations are those who served honourably but were nevertheless dishonoured because of their sexuality.
At a time when LGBT communities face frightening and growing prejudice from governments overseas, Canada's Bill C-279 serves as a stark moral contrast with the likes of Uganda, Russia, and numerous undemocratic regimes across the Middle East. It is often overlooked that the "T" in LGBT refers to the transgender community, members of which continue to face serious discrimination in some quarters. In supporting C-279 and calling on Parliament to enshrine greater protection for transgender Canadians, I am proud that we continue the legacy today.
A couple of years ago, the Learning Coordinator for Safe Schools asked me if I would be a keynote speaker at their annual Gay Straight Alliance Conference under the theme: It Gets Better. Here's what I said.
In cottage country, and even on Toronto's beaches up to the mid 1950s, it was common to see signs that read "No Dogs or Jews Allowed." Though we, as a nation, have made great strides in the name of human rights for all, we cannot be complacent. There cannot be justice for Jews if there is not justice for everyone.