Bruce Arthur: Iran’s players were put in an impossible situation at World Cup, unlike 7 European nations in armband standoff

Good pointed commentary regarding the “snowflakes:”

Fights take courage. Before England and Iran’s second-day matchat the World Cup the talk was all about the pro-LGBTQ armbands England and six other European nations wanted to wear, and FIFA’s ruthless power play to stop them. It mattered, all that. It was telling in several ways.

On this day, though, bravery belonged to Iranians. When Iran’s anthem was played, the Iranian players stood arm in arm and did not sing. Their faces were portraits of gravity: you could watch again and again and see seriousness, determination, maybe even apprehension, weight. “The National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran” was only adopted in 1989; it is not recognized by many opponents of the current regime. As it played, many of the Iranian fans in the building appeared to boo and jeer, as if to drown it out.

You could have written a novel about those faces of those men, and the silence they chose. Iran has been crushing a popular, women-led uprising for weeks now, ever since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody in September after being arrested and accused of breaking strict hijab rules. Iran’s theocratic government has unleashed a bloody campaign of repression, and it hasn’t stopped. The day before the match, Iranian captain Ehsan Hajsafi said something extraordinary.

“We have to accept the conditions in our country are not right, and our people are not happy,” Hajsafi said in a team press conference. “Whatever we have is from them. We have to fight. We have to perform and score some goals to present the brave people of Iran with a result. I hope conditions change as to the expectations of the people.”

Then Iran was crushed. Its goalkeeper was concussed in the first few minutes, and England roared to a 6-2 victory. It must have been bitter. Iran’s longtime coach, Carlos Queiroz, said his team was under enormous pressure, and he blamed the fans for being, essentially, a distraction.

“All Iranians are welcome in the stadium,” said Queiroz. “They have the right to criticize the team, but those that come to disturb the team with issues not just about football are not welcome … Everybody knows the circumstances, the environment of my players, is not ideal in terms of commitment and concentration, and they are affected by the issue. They are human beings.

“You don’t know what these kids have been living the last days, just because they want to express themselves as players. Whatever they do or say, they want to kill them. Let them represent the country and play for the people.”

But when Iran scored its first goal to make it 5-1, those Iranian fans summoned the loudest cheer in the stadium all day. They were there to support the players. Iranian players, and Queiroz, are just in a near-impossible situation. That the players didn’t sing was almost all they could do.

If that was impossible, though, the armband situation wasn’t. Seven European nations — England, Wales, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands — had pledged to have their captains wear rainbow-heart One Love armbands in support of the LGBTQ community, during a World Cup in a nation that criminalizes homosexuality. They tried to do a small moral thing, the decent thing.

FIFA crushed it. At the last moment, after discussions that had included fines to the respective soccer associations, they threatened yellow cards, which would have put the captains of all seven teams in a position where one bad decision could mean missing a World Cup match. More, the Belgian newspaper Nieuwsblad reportedthat FIFA forced Belgium to remove the word Love from its rainbow-accented away kits.

The seven nations folded, and too easily. The captains instead wore FIFA armbands that read: No Discrimination. It was terribly weak.

Everything is a choice. Homosexuality is officially criminalized in Qatar, as well as in countries throughout Africa, the Middle East — including, of course, Iran — and Southeast Asia; Russia and China harshened anti-LGBTQ laws in the last decade, and American conservatives are pushing hard in the same direction. The mass shooting at a Colorado Springs drag show on the weekend was a clear symptom of that recent push.

And despite the fact that the nations had alerted FIFA to this in September, FIFA pushed hardest at the end, and it felt very much of a piece with the defining divide at this World Cup. FIFA had already pleaded for teams to “focus on the football,” and FIFA president Gianni Infantino took an explicitly anti-Europe stance to defend Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, and human rights policies. Infantino had said that the criticism of the World Cup and Qatar had him feeling like a marginalized group — among other things, Infantino said, “Today I feel gay.” It must have been a passing feeling.

English players did take a knee before kickoff as a general gesture of anti-discrimination, which has become relatively common in English soccer, and in the face of racism against some of the team’s players, it matters. But at a World Cup where the emir of Qatar praised diversity and one of FIFA’s official shoulder patches says Football Unites the World, it didn’t land the same. To England and those six other nations, clearly the matches mattered most.

And then the Iranians didn’t sing, despite their impossible situation, and that was courage. It’s not that this World Cup is a clash between Middle East and the West, precisely; it’s that there are constant struggles between visions regarding rights and freedoms and equality, and international sports is used as a tool in that struggle.

The Europeans did what they decided they could do, and the Iranians did what they decided they could do. You could see which one was harder, and which one cost. And you could see which one mattered more.

Source: Bruce Arthur: Iran’s players were put in an impossible situation at World Cup, unlike 7 European nations in armband standoff

J.K. Rowling backlash shows how progressives are turning on their own kind

Good commentary on the risks of being dogmatic (although written as a critique of progressives, warning equally applies to conservatives):

When author J.K. Rowling recently voiced her concerns around transgender activism, the criticisms and pile-ons quickly reached a fever pitch. Ms. Rowling is on trial because she thinks that sex and gender ought not to be entirely decoupled. The attempt to limit debate and the vilification of the debater is yet more worrisome evidence of the problematic culture among too many on my side of the political spectrum.

I’m a boomer, and the circles I travel in lean pretty heavily social democratic. A lot of us are Canadians-for-Bernie types, readers of The Guardian and Vox, a bit ashamed about our fossil fuel consumption, enthused about long-overdue reckonings with racism, appalled by police brutality. Some of us march in Pride parades and donate to Médecins sans frontières. We are progressives, but I suspect that some would dispute that claim because our brand is insufficiently pure.

I’ve about had it with the way too many progressives go about their business. Liberal democracies are admirable precisely because they are liberal, in the classic sense. Freedom matters, especially freedom of expression. I am a John Stuart Mill liberal: the silencing of an opinion – even and especially one without much merit – robs humanity of “the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error.”

A sign that a movement has become sclerotic and dangerous is when it stifles debate and turns on its own. Totalitarians such as Stalin and Mao wrote the manual on silencing dissent and dissenters. The progressives have not sent Ms. Rowling to the gulag or Margaret Atwood to a re-education camp, but their hegemonic impulses flow from the same well.

Ms. Rowling’s view that sex and gender should not to be entirely decoupled is not an issue about which there is settled science (and there may never be). It is not like climate change or Confederate statues. It is emergent, fluid and intellectually contested; some impeccably credentialed feminists argue that de-linking gender from sex is dangerous ground for women. Ms. Rowling is obviously and famously progressive, and her views are informed by both her politics and her own experience.

Ms. Atwood was pilloried for daring to state the obvious: that the University of British Columbia prematurely and improperly fired Steven Galloway on the basis of sexual-assault allegations that have proved unsubstantiated, in a deeply flawed process that equated being heard with being uncritically believed. It doesn’t matter that Ms. Atwood was right; what matters is that too many progressives turned on her because she refused to overlook a travesty of procedural justice.

Not every opinion deserves a hearing and not every proponent deserves respect. Some want to limit immigration because they are racists; others want to limit immigration because they don’t want to deprive developing nations of their best and the brightest. Such differences matter, and motive and past behaviours are often critical to understanding the argument being made and its subtexts. But excommunicating or censoring thoroughly decent people for raising perfectly legitimate questions sends an ominous signal.

Truth emerges from relentless scrutiny – exactly the kind of questioning and challenges to orthodoxies that have fuelled so many progressive causes. Churches are exempt from taxation. Can I create my own church and declare my house a tax-exempt temple? Surely it’s right for someone to question the legitimacy of my claim even if it offends my sensibilities – just as it is reasonable to ask why churches are tax-exempt, period. There is nothing unfair or disrespectful about probing discussions of gender and sex, or the presumption of innocence or guilt.

One cause of much of this piling on is humourlessness. Tyrants don’t laugh, but the tyrannized use humour to sustain hope and show their contempt for their oppressors and the lies of their regimes. It is possible to be committed and serious without being dour and dogmatic. We are all inconsequential specks in an absurdly vast universe. Our very existence is cosmically laughable, and amusement is an essential coping mechanism. I am much more inclined to trust leaders and fellow adherents who laugh – especially at themselves.

When your cause becomes your dogma, you have entered dangerous psychological territory. What drives the search for truth is curiosity and doubt. Shouting down speakers, stifling classroom discussions and having a black-and-white view of the moral universe are wrong, unnecessary and fatal to the prospects for building a progressive majority.

Political correctness is a mocking term; the irony is that its substance is indeed (mostly) politically correct. It is correct to acknowledge and try to redress historical wrongs. It is important to broaden representation in the halls of political and economic power. It is just to remind all of us that life’s playing field is disturbingly uneven. The comportment of many – by no means all – progressives is a gift to opponents, who can make the politics about the behaviour rather than the substance.

I don’t want to choose between my substantive politics and my even more fundamental beliefs. If I have to, I will. And I’m not alone. Enough scolding, enough censorship, enough dogma and enough beating up on good people. Cannibalism is a lousy recruitment strategy. Progressives everywhere need a lesson in the importance of not being so angrily earnest.

Source:   Opinion J.K. Rowling backlash shows how progressives are turning on their own kind Steven Lewis    

The covenant and the courts: Inside a Christian university’s law school crusade

Interesting good long read about Trinity Western, including the policies of its covenant and the realities of student life:

…After so many years of debate, members of the tight-knit Trinity Western community are used to hearing arguments that bear little relationship to their daily lives.

“Academic staff are required to teach students that the Bible is the ultimate, final, and authoritative guide by which ethical decisions are to be made,” Elaine Craig, a Dalhousie University law professor who is widely cited among those opposed to accreditation, wrote in a 2013 paper.

“This compulsory ideological conformity effectively excludes students on the basis of their sexual orientation or marital status,” the United Church of Canada argued in its factum to the Supreme Court. “It is also demeaning and degrading of these individuals, explicitly characterizing them as immoral outcasts, who are worthy of being shunned, or excluded by being pitied.”

“The Covenant is a binding contract. It governs conduct both on and off campus,” intervenors Start Proud and Outlaws intoned in their factum.

But as anyone who has signed a code of conduct or even scanned a list of institutional policies knows, rules are rarely followed to the letter, and recriminations are anything but guaranteed. It is just so at Trinity. Last year the campus newspaper, Mars’ Hill, conducted a survey of covenant compliance. While unscientific, the results were nevertheless revealing: 28 per cent of respondents said they had used marijuana or other non-medical drugs; 55 per cent admitted to drinking to excess; 32 per cent admitted to sex outside marriage; four per cent admitted to having an abortion.

There are also LGBTQ students at Trinity, as media have reported. Yet the suggestion they might feel welcome despite the covenant “defies logic,” Craig argued in another paper in 2014. “Not only are prospective students required … not to engage in same-sex sexual intimacy under any circumstances, but they are also required to police each other for any breaches of this promise.” (The covenant says it “may at times” be necessary for students “to hold one another accountable,” as most honour codes do.)

Lawyers are naturally going to argue from written policies. But such sweeping statements are simply irreconcilable with the observable reality on campus. And that gets up a lot of noses in the Trinity Western community, including those who would very much like the university to change.

Trinity was first founded as a two-year college on a dairy farm. Today there are all manner of degree options, including education and nursing.(Ben Nelms for National Post)

There is no shortage of such people: In a recent open letter to the community bearing 287 signatures, an LGBTQ-affirming group of Trinity students, faculty and staff, alumni and parents called OneTWU argued “that homophobia and transphobia are affronts to our Creator God,” and that “reconciliation and healing is needed to bridge the gap between the Christian church and the LGBTQ+ community at large.”

Two hundred and eighty-seven signatures is a fair haul in such a small community. And the letter’s language reflects conflicted attitudes about the prospective law school: some strongly believe in Trinity’s right to hold its religious views, even while teaching law, but are also weary of the endless battle and the toll it takes on students.

Bryan Sandberg, who graduated in 2014 and has spoken before about his mostly positive experiences as a gay student at Trinity, says that most in the community are “not rampaging bigots” — “they’re just people” — but the community covenant “explicitly creates this space where homophobia is allowed to exist, where LGBTQ people are viewed as lesser.”

In a word, he says, it is “uncomfortable.”

“These are people who are growing up in churches, who are born into Christian families, and there’s nothing they can do about that. Their faith becomes an extremely important part of who they are,” Cam Thiessen, a graduate student in biblical studies who signed the OneTWU letter as an “ally,” says of Trinity students. Coming to grips with their sexuality in such an environment can obviously be terribly difficult.

“This could have been an opportunity for Trinity to begin making steps toward a more ecumenical approach to this issue — recognizing that there are Christians who are affirming of LGBTQ people and there are entire denominations that are very affirming,” including some evangelical groups, he argues.

“Instead it’s a ton of money and a ton of time going towards fighting for the right to exercise some sort of authority over this group of people” — time and money that Thiessen wishes could go toward “hiring more faculty, or bringing in more guest speakers, or bringing in better resources for people in the LGBTQ community to understand what their place is in this type of religious society.”

In the meantime, however, many students say Trinity is a far more welcoming, tolerant and diverse campus than outsiders realize. Many, including LGTBQ community members and their allies, believe a place they love and where they have felt loved has been unfairly caricatured….

Source: The covenant and the courts: Inside a Christian university’s law school crusade

For LGBTQ People Of Color, Discrimination Compounds : NPR

More on challenges among visible minority LGBTQ, both internal and external:

Nancy Haque’s parents understood discrimination — after moving to the U.S. from Bangladesh, they endured threats, even glass under the tires of the family car. But Haque says the discrimination she faces as a queer woman is different.

“As the child of immigrant parents, it’s not like I had to come out as being South Asian,” Haque laughs. “But I think that we didn’t talk about discrimination.”

She talks about it now. Haque is co-director of Basic Rights Oregon, an LGBTQ advocacy group based in Portland. She is committed to bringing civil rights issues to the forefront of LGBTQ organizing.

In 2017, Haque says, “if you’re an LGBTQ organization that hasn’t taken on racial justice as a key part of who you are and what you do, then you’re irrelevant.” That is because the discrimination that LGBTQ people of color experience and the resources they have to combat it are compounded by their intersecting identities.

According to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, LGBTQ people of color are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to say they’ve been discriminated against because they are LGBTQ in applying for jobs and interacting with police.

The National Black Justice Coalition focuses on the intersection of racial justice and LGBTQ rights. Isaiah Wilson, the coalition’s director of external affairs, says LGBTQ people of color are “the most impacted communities” when it comes to discrimination, “be it trans military service, be it access to health care, or if you look at employment.”

And according to demographic data collected by the Williams Institute, black LGBTQ people are more likely to live where other black folks live — many of them in the South, says Wilson, “where we don’t have state and local protections to be out.”

Wilson says given this compounded discrimination, LGBTQ people of color need support. But they don’t always get it — because the LGBTQ movement at large has had different priorities. Namely, organizing around the fight for marriage equality that culminated with the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

“When you’re continuing as a community to face discrimination, harassment, even violence,” Wilson explains, “marriage is a luxury. Surviving, being able to participate in community, being able to provide for our families — if I can’t do that, who’s thinking about a marriage certificate?”

And while communities of color come together around the discrimination and harassment they face, they may not always see LGBTQ issues as part of the same struggle.

In the Latino community, for example, “the perception … is that it’s always been a conservative community,” says Ingrid Duran, founder of Familia Es Familia, a group that aims to increase LGBTQ acceptance among Latinos.

And, she adds, “that conservative element comes along with religious beliefs” — primarily those of the Catholic Church, which regards homosexuality as a sin.

But Duran says that is changing. The U.S. Latino population is very young, and young people are increasingly moving away from organized religion — and the Catholic Church itself is changing. And, Duran says, the Latino community is changing on queer issues, especially when there has been outreach and education from groups like Familia es Familia, because of the cultural priority on family.

“Nine times out of 10, a grandparent or a parent is going to accept their child. Because it is their family,” Duran says. “And they still hold the same values that they held five minutes before they came out to you.”

via For LGBTQ People Of Color, Discrimination Compounds : NPR

Poll: Majority of LGBTQ Americans Report Harassment, Violence Based On Identity : NPR

Not too surprising:Poll__Majority_of_LGBTQ_Americans_Report_Harassment__Violence_Based_On_Identity___NPR

More than half of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans say they have experienced violence, threats or harassment because of their sexuality or gender identity, according to new poll results being released Tuesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“There are very few nationally representative polls of LGBTQ people, and even fewer that ask about LGBTQ people’s personal experiences of discrimination,” says Logan Casey, deputy director of the survey and research associate in public opinion at the Harvard Chan School. “This report confirms the extraordinarily high levels of violence and harassment in LGBTQ people’s lives.”

Majorities also say they have personally experienced slurs or insensitive or offensive comments or negative assumptions about their sexual orientation. And 34 percent say they or an LGBTQ friend or family member has been verbally harassed in the bathroom when entering or while using a bathroom — or has been told or asked if they were using the wrong bathroom.

The poll, conducted earlier this year, looked not only at violence and harassment but also at a wide range of discrimination experiences. We asked about discrimination in employment, education, in their interactions with police and the courts and in their everyday lives in their own neighborhoods. We’re breaking out the results by race, ethnicity and identity. You can find what we’ve released so far on our series page “You, Me and Them: Experiencing Discrimination in America.”

via Poll: Majority of LGBTQ Americans Report Harassment, Violence Based On Identity : NPR

ICYMI: How Canada has been secretly giving asylum to gay people in Chechnya fleeing persecution

Good long read on the Government’s program to give asylum to Chechnyan gays (the Conservative government was similarly supportive of Iranian LGBTQ asylum seekers: Canada a haven for persecuted gay Iranians: Kenney |

For three months, the federal government has been secretly spiriting gay Chechen men from Russia to Canada, under a clandestine program unique in the world.

The evacuations, spearheaded by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, fall outside the conventions of international law and could further impair already tense relations between Russia and Canada. But the Liberal government decided to act regardless.

As of this week, 22 people – about a third of those who were being sheltered in Russian safe houses – are now in Toronto and other Canadian cities. Several others are expected to arrive in the coming days or weeks.

“Canada accepted a large number of people who are in great danger, and that is wonderful,” said Tanya Lokshina, Russian program director for Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organization, in a telephone interview. “The Canadian government deserves much praise for showing such openness and goodwill to provide sanctuary for these people. They did the right thing.”

“It’s important that our community, who are concerned about them, know that they’re here, that they’re safe” – Kimahli Powell, executive director of Rainbow Railroad

The decision may be seen as controversial. Homosexuals in many parts of the world are harassed, imprisoned, even – as happened recently in Indonesia – publicly flogged.

And the government is struggling to accommodate thousands of mostly Haitian asylum-seekers flooding into Canada from the United States, even as opposition politicians demand that Ottawa find a way to plug the loophole that lets them in.

But the Liberals decided the situation was unique: Chechen security forces were rounding up gay men in a program, placing them in need of immediate rescue.

Source: How Canada has been secretly giving asylum to gay people in Chechnya fleeing persecution – The Globe and Mail

LGBTQ activists in Halifax need to learn to love corporate Pride: Teitel | Toronto Star

Teitel’s commentary, while made in relation to LGBTQ activists, is also more broadly to activists in general.

Her comment about the importance of symbols and recognition to the more vulnerable compared to the privileged worthy of note:

Or, if like a number of LGBTQ activists in this country you’re determined to be miserable until the day you die, you can lament Trudeau’s presence at Pride instead, and label it “pinkwashing” — the LGBTQ equivalent of “whitewashing.”

Not everybody thinks Trudeau’s planned attendance at the Halifax parade this Saturday is a wholly positive thing. Some, such as Kehisha Wilmot, head of Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University Queer Collective, believe Trudeau’s participation is a distraction from the event’s more marginalized participants.

“We have people of colour doing things in this parade,” Wilmot told Halifax magazine The Coast this week, in a story headlined “Trudeau Pinkwashing Pride parade.” “And the big thing we’re currently now looking at is we brought down a white guy in a high-position role to be our focus.”

I don’t want to diminish the work done by groups such as Wilmot’s because it is important work. Yet a reminder is in order that a world leader’s presence at an event does not impede activists from making their voices heard.

Trudeau was in attendance at Toronto’s pride parade in 2016, where Black Lives Matter Toronto managed not only to stage a successful protest that effected tangible change, but to dominate media coverage in the event’s aftermath.

But Trudeau’s presence isn’t the only thing irking some of Halifax’s LGBTQ groups, and similar groups across the country, several of which have boycotted official pride events in their respective cities in recent years.

The corporatization of pride is perceived as a big problem, too: corporate sponsors preaching equality atop enormous company floats, cheesy guys in logo-embroidered thongs handing out coupons for various discounts. “Happy Pride! Here’s five dollars off your next souvlaki platter!”

The corporatization of pride is a fact lamented by many queer activists in the west who appear to yearn for the good old days when the businesses we frequented and services we used didn’t want anything to do with us.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that corporate interests should share the stage with grassroots organizations, but the refusal by some in my community to see the upside of corporate involvement in pride leads me to believe that a number of LGBTQ activists are completely out of touch with reality.

Moreover, these activists are ever eager to identify privilege in other people but they are utterly blind to the privilege they enjoy themselves: they have integrated into a community of like-minded people. Yes, they are marginalized in society at large, but they have found a place where they belong.

Not everyone enjoys this privilege. Take, for example, my friend Yvonne Jele, a gay refugee from Uganda, who is practically brand new to Canada (she fled her native country last year). Jele, who lives in Toronto, was overjoyed when she learned that the leader of her new home was marching in her city’s pride parade.

“People who are mad (that Trudeau participates in pride events) don’t know what it’s like to not be accepted by your leaders and government,” she told me recently.

Jele has some thoughts about corporate interests in Pride, too: “I think everyone can show support during pride,” she said. “It’s important for businesses to do so because it shows that the business is inclusive.”

These broad gestures of support by politicians and businesses matter a great amount to people who aren’t yet integrated into a tight-knit queer community, and they matter to closeted kids who are watching and reading about Pride from a distance, absent the support of such a community.

It’s a very good thing for these kids to know that their banks, hardware stores, coffee shops, internet providers and, yes, their leaders, take a public stance in favour of their rights.

No, these businesses and politicians aren’t by any means perfect. Yes, some of them make errors and false promises. But their participation in pride parades across the country is a gesture of goodwill felt deeply by those who have not yet found their home away from home.

The Prime Minister’s presence at Halifax pride this Saturday will not matter most to the out and proud, but to LGBTQ people who are neither. And the activism of the former should not extinguish the hopes of the latter.

Source: LGBTQ activists in Halifax need to learn to love corporate Pride: Teitel | Toronto Star

It’s time for Canada to right historic wrongs against LGBTQ community: John Ibbitson

While the focus of Ibbitson’s article is with respect to LGBTQ issues, the broader discussion of apologies was the aspect I found most interesting.

When we were implementing the Conservative government’s historical recognition program for wartime internment and immigration restrictions, the legal aspects of apologies was raised regularly, and appropriately, by Justice Canada officials given fears over liability. At one point in time, we considered doing a policy paper on the question of apologies, their typology, and delivery. In the end, other priorities emerged, but good to see the work that has been done elsewhere:

The Government of Canada should also apologize to the thousands in the public service and military who were dismissed or otherwise discriminated against because they were homosexual, a practice that continued right up until the late 1980s.

The Liberals have been studying both questions for months. Justice Department lawyers often warn that political apologies can expose governments to expensive lawsuits from victims, with the apology serving as proof of guilt.

But as a leading authority in the field points out, not only are such fears overblown, “a meaningful, effective apology can have the opposite effect. Rather than encourage litigation, it can cause people to accept the past more easily.”

Leslie Macleod, a former assistant deputy attorney-general of Ontario, teaches dispute resolution at York University’s Osgoode Hall law school and is a leading authority in mediating and resolving disputes.

“The kind of apology that could be made here would address not only the emotional and psychological interests of those who suffered very dire consequences, it would also address the concerns that we as a society have about how people were treated in the past,” she says.

In that sense, people who see no reason for governments to apologize for acts that no one alive today committed miss the point: We apologize to remind each other of when we fell short in the past, so that we do not fall short in some other way going forward.

A meaningful, effective apology conforms to what could be called the Seven Rs. As described by Ms. Macleod, it involves the specific recognition of the harm caused; expresses remorse for that harm; takes responsibility and repents for the transgression; gives reasons for how the situation came about; offers reparation by way of making amends; and promises reform so nothing similar happens again.

The legislation to prevent discrimination against transgender people could be seen as in the spirit of fulfilling the seventh, and most important, of the seven Rs.

As for reparations, public servants I have talked to who lost their jobs because of their sexuality have, for the most part, gone on with their lives. They do not want money; they just want to be told that, on the terrible day when they were brought into a room, accused of being a homosexual and fired, the person on the other side of the table was in the wrong, not them.

Lawyer Dale Barrett has written about the apology laws on the books in most provinces, which make it easier for governments to apologize by reducing their liability. “It’s very important for government and society to reflect upon the changes in law and changes in sentiment and changes in attitude,” he says, “to acknowledge that society has changed, and to consider what changes we should be making in the future.”

With this new law protecting the rights of transgender people, Mr. Trudeau has advanced the cause of equality for Canada’s LGBTQ community. He should also acknowledge, on behalf of all Canadians, our collective responsibility for those in this community who suffered in the past at the hand of their own government.

Source: It’s time for Canada to right historic wrongs against LGBTQ community – The Globe and Mail