Canada’s Progress Toward Acknowledgment of Queer (LGBTQ) Rights


In recent decades, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals have risen to prominence in Canadian and international politics and legislation. Whereas the prejudice against LGBT persons exists in numerous places, significant progress toward conventional social approval and systematic legal equality has happened recently. Indeed, ‘gay rights’ is now a globally recognized symbol of Canada’s tolerance and diversity. As a result, Canada is widely considered a leading country in this area. Nonetheless, this essay demonstrates that Canada’s progress toward formal acknowledgment of LGBTQ rights has been followed by homophobic attitudes and legislation that encourages the symbolic and real dehumanization of specific acts of sex associated with gay people.

Social Injustice

Social injustice arises when one person or group unjustly treats another person or group in a community, culminating in challenges for that person or group. Social justice as a notion emerged in the beginning of the nineteenth century amid the Industrial Revolution and following European civil wars, which sought to build more equitable society and end capitalist oppression of unskilled work (Frederickson, 2015). Classical social justice champions concentrated largely on capital, ownership, and wealth distribution given the apparent societal inequalities between the rich and the poor.

By the mid-twentieth century, social justice was no longer limited to economic issues, but also included environmental issues, racial and gender issues, and other forms of inequity. Additionally, the concept of social justice was enlarged from a national perspective to incorporate a global human perspective. According to Levy and McStowe (2019), social injustice may lead to lost opportunities in school, employment, shelter, health care, and other areas. Furthermore, an individual who has uneven access to only one of these categories may face a series of challenges in the others. For example, LGBT persons are often subjected to discrimination outside of employment, resulting in the loss of their property, education opportunities, as well as the freedom to participate in public life.

There are several sources of social injustice that show bias against specific populations. Most of the leading causes of social injustice include racial prejudice, economic disparity, and caste prejudice (Mosse, 2018). Homophobia, racism, and sexism, among other types of injustice, may sometimes assume such plain and apparent manifestations. At times, they appear in a far more nuanced and oblique manner. Individuals from the LGBTQ are frequent victims of social injustice, which underscores the importance of understanding their experiences and providing solutions to some of their challenges.

LGBTQ Discrimination

Many countries are beginning to accept civil unions and same-sex marriage. In June 2017, the Canadian government revised the Human Rights Act to prohibit workplace abuse on the basis of gender orientation or expression (Government of Canada, 2022). Thus, although significant progress has been achieved in acknowledging LGBTQ concerns, many LGBTQ professionals conceal their identity in the workplace. This identity conflict has a harmful impact on their wellbeing, satisfaction, performance, and the retention and advancement of entrepreneurial expertise. According to the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion research, 30% of LGBTQ workers in Canada claim to encounter workplace intolerance (CCDI, 2015). In comparison, non-LGBTQ workers make up barely 3% of the workforce, while 33% of LGBTQ workers and 21% of non-LGBTQ professionals report having observed occupational mistreatment (CCDI, 2015). These experiences are compounded by discriminatory policies that target LGBTQ individuals.

On the contrary, all people’s human rights are indivisible and universal. Regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, or assertion, everybody ought to have equal basic human rights. According to Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (Global Citizenship Commission et al., 2016). Article 2 states that “everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms enshrined in this Declaration” (Government of Canada, 2016). All persons, including LGBTQ people, have the right to be protected by international human rights laws founded on inclusivity and non-discrimination. Nonetheless, discrimination against LGBTQ individuals is still prevalent. It hurts the LGBTQ community and society as a whole. It reduces human resource development as a result of school bullying and leads to decreased educational rewards in the labor market. It lowers economic production by eliminating or underestimating LGBTQ potential from the labor market, harming their psychological and physiological health and, thus, their performance.

In light of this, section 159 of the Criminal Code forbids anal sex. According to the law, “anal sex” is punished by ten years in prison unless it occurs “between husband and wife, or any two individuals who are each 18 years of age or older” (Government of Canada, 2016). The Criminal Code’s anal sex clause targeted homosexual men explicitly since anal intercourse was a primary mode of sexual manifestation. Thus, they were targeted for differential treatment, which violates the Charter. The government’s incapacity and reluctance to amend the legislation results in continuous stigma, with homosexual sex being specifically called out for penal control, although the statute has been routinely declared illegal (Smith, 2020). This demonstrates that, even in areas thought to be classic examples of LGBTQ advancement, homophobia persists.

Furthermore, harassment and discrimination by police officers based on gender identity and sexual orientation is a persistent and widespread issue among LGBT populations. Prejudice like this obstructs efficient policing in these populations by destroying confidence, stifling cooperation, and hindering officers from successfully serving and protecting the communities they patrol. Police bosses in Canada apologized to LGBTQ groups in 2020 for their resistance to outlawing homosexuality in the late 1960s (Global News, 2020). The Canadian government has issued a similar apology in the past yet discrimination against LGBTQ individuals persists.

Interpersonal Acceptance-Rejection Theory (IPARTheory)

Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual must go through the process of coming out or telling people about their sexual orientation. Theorists of coming out argue that revealing one’s sexual orientation is a critical step in developing a good sense of self (Rohner, 2016). Interpersonal acceptance-rejection theory (IPARTheory) forecasts and interprets the outcomes and characteristics of interpersonal approval and exclusion. The first four decades of research on the idea only looked at how children felt about their parents’ approval or rejection (Fuller, 2017). Kids may be unable to recognize instances when their parent is loving or helpful, and they may not emotionally connect to them.

If the parent or caregiver fails to participate in a discussion or ask questions regarding the LGBTQ individual’s life or association, the child may undergo detachment. Additionally, parents or caregivers may fail to respond to their kid’s allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination, portraying themselves as ambivalent and unsupportive of their child’s safety needs. Accordingly, youngsters who believe they are unappreciated or even abandoned are more likely to develop mental health issues. Parental abandonment is linked to adolescent and adult drug misuse and the genesis of many major depression symptoms such as low self-esteem and erratic behavior during moments of stress (Fuller, 2017). Rejection’s aftereffects may even alter a person’s personality formation, making them more vulnerable to exclusion in adulthood.

Rejection Sensitivity

When individual experiences repeated rejection signals from early bonding symbols like parents or adult carers, rejection sensitivity develops. Rejection causes a loss of self-esteem, feelings of failure, and a disillusioned perspective on life, interactions, and existence in general (Fuller, 2017). When a child is repeatedly rejected in this manner, they are more likely to expect abandonment in the long term from those in their circles. Because of this, other social connections (such as friendship bonds, associations), regardless of the lack of any occurrences of rejection in those interactions, are at risk of being interpreted as abandoning and hurtful despite their apparent lack (Rohner, 2016). This can lead to a mindset of hate, preventing a person from being able to offer new interactions the faith and openness they need. A pessimistic mindset impacts both current and future aspirations for social ties, which eventually hinders the establishment and maintenance of prospective social connections.

LGBTQ persons regularly internalize the adverse social, oral, and symbolic habits associated with rejection and commonly mistake them to portray their value and worth, much like rejection sensitivity emerges as a result of internalized rejection. Other detrimental wellbeing habits like suicidal thoughts, drug use, and unsafe sex rise in tandem with rejection. Rejection sensitivity can help explain how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals develop and encounter intrapersonal homophobia (Fuller, 2017). Intrapersonal homophobia is the self-directed manifestation of sexual identity stereotyping.

As a result of experiencing parental rejection of their kid’s sexual orientation or gender identity, it is typical for LGBTQ youngsters to interpret their parents’ behavior as an indicator of their worth and value. Even if parents are not actively seen as disapproving, an individual’s self or ability to recognize as LGBTQ can deteriorate. If there is no proof of rejection, individuals with internalized homophobia may have a hard time coming out and revealing their identity to someone else due to concern of being rejected (Fuller, 2017). This may result in the internalization of heterosexist viewpoints, leading to disunity and discontent in romantic relationships.

Policy Proposal

If curriculum illuminates individuals and their interactions, it functions as a mirror. Likewise, the curriculum acts as a window, allowing students to see and learn from the viewpoints and encounters of those who have diverse identities. Students need a variety of perspectives represented in their education, which can only be achieved through a well-balanced coursework (Snapp et al., 2015). Incorporating LGBTQ-inclusive windows and mirrors into the school curriculum may assist to foster a positive atmosphere and higher self-awareness among LGBTQ kids while promoting awareness. At least five states in the United States have previously passed legislation mandating LGBTQ+ individuals and identities to be included and represented in K-12 educational resources. California, Colorado, Oregon, and Illinois are among them, with Nevada being the most recent addition (Garg & Volerman, 2021). In contrast to other states, Nevada’s statute raises fresh challenges concerning how integrated content should be defined and implemented.

The new Nevada legislation makes a significant distinction by requiring inclusive content commencing in kindergarten. Since healthcare and education in Canada are the responsibility of the individual provinces, each province has its own unique educational system and sex instruction program (Robson, 2019). Thus, instead of each province enacting its own version of LGBTQ inclusive curriculum, the government of Canada can introduce a bill that resembles that adopted by the state of Nevada. This law must provide that the accomplishments of LGBTQ people are included in curricula and history courses. Nevada’s legislation mandates the teaching of inclusive history starting in kindergarten—a significant breakthrough on a subject that is frequently the source of contention in early and primary education.

The Ontario government announced a revamped sex education curriculum in 2015, marking its first revision since its implementation. Included in this new curriculum were themes such as sharing adult information online, sexual preference, and gender affirmation. Nevertheless, demonstrations over the new curriculum erupted. Three years after its introduction, the newly elected provincial government declared that it would repeal the reforms and restore the previous curriculum (Bialystok et al., 2015). This decision sparked another round of demonstrations, this time led by advocates of the updated syllabus. In 2019, the government released another version that included the majority of the 2015 curriculum’s revisions (Bialystok et al., 2015). As it can be seen, introducing an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum will be politicized. In this case, if each province is allowed to develop its version of the bill, there is likely to be high resistance.

Likely Reception of the Proposed Policy

Public health specialists are likely to respond positively to the revised curriculum. These folks would advocate for the inclusion of consent and online security education. Similarly, the LGBTQ community may see the curriculum favorably for bringing conversations about gender and sexual diversity, particularly as it relates to prejudice against minority groups in Canada. Additionally, evidence suggests that inclusive sex education has beneficial results and does not produce most of the detrimental consequences asserted by curriculum critics.

On the other hand, the proposed curriculum may face strong pushback from some segments of the Canadian public, particularly conservative and right-wing religious organizations. Some opponents will argue that the curriculum presents “a lot, too early.” Thus, some conservative parents may withdraw their children from public schools in protest of the curriculum. There is a good chance that public participation or public engagement in policy creation may generate disagreements. For instance, some parents may claim that they were not properly consulted or engaged in the policy’s creation. In the event of widespread protests, the government may be forced to scrap the whole proposal. Similarly, some jurisdictions may choose to establish their curriculum or modify the existing one. This might create a misunderstanding about how various versions of LGBTQ-inclusive education should be interpreted.


This essay includes research demonstrating that LGBTQ persons and groups continuously endure profiling, harassment, and mistreatment in Canada. Although broad anti-discrimination regulations will not eliminate all discriminatory practices, they are an essential tool for holding people responsible. Furthermore, they convey the notion that all levels of society welcome and appreciate LGBTQ individuals. LGBTQ individuals deserve the chance to lead healthy, equitable, and true lives. This will not be attainable as long as prejudice against LGBTQ individuals and their relatives continues to be a lurking concern.


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Snapp, S. D., Burdge, H., Licona, A. C., Moody, R. L., & Russell, S. T. (2015). Students’ perspectives on LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum. Equity & Excellence in Education, 48(2), 249–265. Web.

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