Canadian Queer History

Rights & Freedoms

While today we enjoy more rights and freedoms since the 60’s, the road to achieving these rights has been hard fought and the battle continues even today to ensure that all members of the LGBT2Q+ community can enjoy equal protections and rights in our country.

Many of the elders in our community can still remember a time in which you could lose your job for being openly homosexual, denied services in multiple sectors and businesses and in which harassment was commonplace yet there was no one to turn to for recourse.

Our community has been resilient throughout the decades and this lesson is one that should always be remembered. Explore the timeline and learn about the challenges on the road to achieving a end to legalized discrimination.

Queer History: Rights & Freedoms Timeline

History Timeline: LGBT2Q+ Rights & Freedoms

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Politics & Politicians

Decriminalization of homosexuality

On May 14, 1969 Canada decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults with the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act first introduced in December 1968. It receives royal assent on June 27. One day before the Stonewall Riots took place in New York.

Grassroots / Protest, Riots & Raids

1971 First Gay Rights Protest - queer hisotry - gay rights protest ottawa 1971
Media Credit: Ottawa Journal

On August 28, 1971, roughly 100 people from Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and the surrounding areas gathered in the pouring rain at Parliament Hill for Canada’s First Gay Liberation Protest and March. They presented a petition to the government with a list of ten demands for equal rights and protections.

Simultaneously, another much smaller group of roughly twenty gay activists demonstrated at Robson Square in Vancouver.

Science & Health

Homosexuality no longer considered a ‘disorder’

Homosexuality is removed as a "disorder' from the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders.

Politics & Politicians

Quebec adds Sexual Orientation to the Human Rights Code

Signed in law on December 16, 1977 - Quebec includes sexual orientation in its Human Rights Code, making it the first province in Canada to pass a gay civil rights law. The law makes it illegal to discriminate against gays in housing, public accommodation and employment. The amendment was in response to an especially brutal police raid on the Montreal gay bathhouse called Truxx. The raid was widely publicized and threatened the newly elected Parti Québécois’s image as a progressive party.

By 2001, all provinces and territories took this step except Alberta, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories.

Politics & Politicians

Immigration Act no longer prohibits homosexuals

The Immigration Act of 1976 came into effect on 1 April 1978. This new amended Act lifted a ban prohibiting homosexuals from immigration. There was a shift in language in this particular legislative act, this was created to state who was welcome in Canada instead of who should be prevented from immigrating. The Act was positively regarded as a progressive piece of legislation and received broad support from the parliamentary parties.

Science & Health / Politics & Politicians

Moving towards equality

The Parliamentary Committee on Equality Rights released a report titled "Equality for All" on October 16, 1985. The committee writes that it is shocked by the high level of discriminatory treatment of homosexuals in Canada. The report discusses the harassment, violence, physical abuse, psychological oppression and hate propaganda that homosexuals live with on a daily basis.

The committee recommends that the Canadian Human Rights Act be changed to make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. It would take another ten (10) years before this is achieved.

Official Pride

Winnipeg’s First Official Pride Week - queer history - winnipeg pride march 1987

The first recognized Gay Pride March took place later on August 2nd, 1987 with approximately 250 attendees when they gathered at the Manitoba Legislative Building to await the results of the provincial government's decision to include sexual orientation in the Manitoba Human Rights Code. The consensus was that if the government voted in favor of including sexual orientation in the code they would march in celebration, if the government voted against including sexual orientation in the code they would march in protest.

The provincial government voted in favor of adding sexual orientation to the Manitoba Human Rights Code, which sparked the first 'Pride Parade' in Winnipeg as the 250 people marched in the streets of downtown Winnipeg in celebration.

Some of the first participants of this event actually wore paper bags over their heads out of fear of rallying in public.

Previously, From October 1st to 6th, 1973 Gays For Equality sponsored Winnipeg’s first Gay Pride Week. Events were scheduled around panel discussions, films, coffee house gatherings, musical performances and dancing. However, this Pride event was not officially recognized by the city.

Science & Health

WHO remove homosexualityfrom disorder list

May 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) voted to remove 'homosexuality' from being designated a mental disorder in the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10).

Politics & Politicians

City of Toronto Officially Endorses Pride

City of Toronto officially endorses the Lesbian and Gay Pride Day in Toronto.

Politics & Politicians

Sexual Orientation ‘read into’ Canada Human Rights Act

Captain Joshua Birch launched a human rights complaint after being discharged from the Canadian Forces for disclosing he was gay. He successfully argued that the omission of sexual orientation from the Canadian Human Rights Act constituted discrimination under the equality rights guarantee set out in section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

To remedy this under-inclusive piece of legislation, on August 6, 1992 the Ontario Court of Appeal "read" the term sexual orientation into the Canadian Human Rights Act. This meant that whenever someone read the section, they had to understand that "sexual orientation" was also covered under the Act. [Haig and Birch v. Can., (1992)]

Federal Justice Minister Kim Campbell responds to the decision by announcing the government would take the necessary steps to include sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Politics & Politicians

Federal court lifts ban against gays and lesbians in the military

In January 1990, Michelle Douglas, a lesbian woman who had been dismissed from the armed forces launched a lawsuit against the military for compensation for her dismissal and to challenge its discriminatory policy against gay and lesbian service members. On 27 October 1992, the day the trial of her case was to begin, the armed forces agreed to settle and as part of the settlement the Federal Court signed a judgment granting declarations that Douglas’s section 15(1) rights had been violated and that "the Defendant's poli[cies] ... regarding the service of homosexuals in the Canadian Armed Forces are contrary to the Charter."

Later that day, the Chief of Defence Staff issued a statement that "Canadians, regardless of their sexual orientation, will now be able to serve their country ... without restriction".

Politics & Politicians

Supreme Court Ruling: Refugees can Apply Based on Sexual Orientation

On June 30, 1993 the Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians could apply for refugee status on the basis of facing persecution in their countries of origin.

In a ruling regarding an unrelated LGBT2Q+ case, the Supreme Court of Canada, in a landmark (and precedent-setting) decision, declared that sexual orientation should be seen as a “social group” within the context of determining convention refugee status. This ruling opened up the way for LGBTQ+ refugees to seek protection in Canada.

Politics & Politicians

OHRC rules that City of Hamilton actions were discriminatory

A landmark Ontario Human Rights decision on March 6, 1995 found that Hamilton Mayor Bob Morrow discriminated against homosexuals by refusing to proclaim Gay Pride Week in Hamilton in 1991. Morrow was ordered to pay $5,000 to the complainant in the case, Joe Oliver.

The 26-page decision released on March 2, 1995, said Morrow contravened the Ontario Human Rights Act by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Morrow was ordered to proclaim Gay Pride Week the following year if it was requested, but instead council passed a ban of all proclamations to avoid issuing the Gay Pride edict.

Politics & Politicians

Same-sex couples gain legal adoption rights in Ontario

An Ontario Court judge finds that the Child and Family Services Act of Ontario infringes Section 15 of the Charter by not allowing same-sex couples to bring a joint application for adoption. Concluding that “I cannot imagine a more blatant example of discrimination,”

Justice Nevins ruled that the definition of “spouse” should be amended to include partners of the same sex and that the four lesbians have the right to adopt their partner’s children.

On May 24, 1995 Ontario becomes the first province to make it legal for same-sex couples to adopt. British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia follow suit, also allowing adoption by same-sex couples. Other provinces are looking into the issue.

Politics & Politicians

Sexual orientation included in Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Supreme Court rules on 25 May, 1995 on the case involving Jim Egan and Jack Nesbit, two gay men who sued Ottawa for the right to claim a spousal pension under the Old Age Security Act. The court rules against Egan and Nesbit. However, the Court ruled that Section 15 of the Charter — which guarantees the "right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination" — should include sexual orientation, even though it is not specifically named in the section.

Politics & Politicians

City of London Refuses Pride Request

In 1995, City of London mayor, Dianne Haskett refused requests by HALO (London gay rights group) to officially recognize Pride weekend.

As a result the Halo’s president, Richard Hudler, filed a human rights complaint where the Ontario Human Rights Commission ruled that Haskett’s actions had been discriminatory, and ordered London to officially proclaim a Pride weekend, which it eventually did in 1998. The City of London and Mayor Diane Haskett are fined $10,000.

Politics & Politicians

Bill C-33: Sexual Orientation included in Canadian Human Rights Act

Receiving royal assent on June 20, 1996, the federal government passed Bill C-33, adding "sexual orientation" to the Canadian Human Rights Act which covers federally-regulated activities. Parliament enacted Bill C-33, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, to include sexual orientation among the Act’s prohibited grounds of discrimination.

Bill C-33 had the effect of codifying the law as stated in the Ontario Court of Appeal’s Haig (1992) decision and since practised by the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

This inclusion was a clear declaration by Parliament that gay, lesbian and bisexual Canadians are entitled to "an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives they are able and wish to have [...]"

Politics & Politicians

Supreme Court of Canada rules that provinces cannot discriminate

In 1991, Delvin Vriend, a lab instructor at King's University College in Edmonton, Alberta, who was open about being in a same-sex relationship, was fired because his sexual orientation was deemed incompatible with a newly created statement of religious belief adopted by The King's College. He attempted to file a discrimination complaint, however the Alberta Human Rights Commission refuses to investigate the case because the Alberta Individual Rights Protection Act does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Vriend subsequently sued the Government of Alberta and its Human Rights Commission and, in 1994, an Alberta court ruled that sexual orientation must be treated as a protected class under human rights legislation. The provincial government subsequently appealed and in 1996 the decision was overruled by the Alberta Court of Appeal. This decision was then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Vriend v. Alberta, who finally ruled on April 2, 1998 that provincial governments could not exclude protection of individuals from human rights legislation on the basis of sexual orientation.

Politics & Politicians

Supreme Court Rules Same-sex Couples Have Rights to Equal Treatment

On May 19, 1999 the Supreme Court rules that the Ontario Family Law Act's definition of "spouse" as a person of the opposite sex is unconstitutional as was any provincial law that denies equal benefits to same-sex couples. Ontario is given six months to amend the act.

The ruling centred on the "M v. H" case which involved two Toronto women who had lived together for more than a decade. When the couple broke up in 1992, "M" sued "H" for spousal support under Ontario's Family Law Act. The problem was that the act defined "spouse" as either a married couple or "a man and woman" who are unmarried and have lived together for no less than three years.

The judge rules that the definition violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and declares that the words "a man and woman" should be replaced with "two persons." "H" appeals the decision. The Court of Appeal upholds the decision but gives Ontario one year to amend its Family Law Act. Although neither "M" nor "H" chooses to take the case any further, Ontario's attorney general is granted leave to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal, which brought the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Politics & Politicians

Government votes to preserve the definition of ‘'Marriage'

Although many laws will have to be revised to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling in May, the federal government votes 216 to 55 in favour of preserving the definition of "marriage" as the union of a man and a woman. Justice Minister Anne McLellan says the definition of marriage is already clear in law and the federal government has "no intention of changing the definition of marriage or legislating same-sex marriage."

Politics & Politicians

Bill 5 - Provincial Act to Include Same-Sex Couples

Attorney General Jim Flaherty introduced Bill 5 in the Ontario legislature on Oct 25, 1999, an act to amend certain statutes because of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the M. v. H. case.

Instead of changing Ontario's definition of spouse, which the Supreme Court essentially struck down, the government creates a new same-sex category, changing the province's Family Law Act to read "spouse or same-sex partner" wherever it had read only "spouse" before. Bill 5 also amends more than 60 other provincial laws, making the rights and responsibilities of same-sex couples mirror those of common-law couples.

Politics & Politicians

Bill 202: Alberta refuses to allow same-sex marriage

Alberta passes Bill 202 which says that the province will use the notwithstanding clause if a court redefines marriage to include anything other than a man and a woman.

Politics & Politicians

Passing Bill C-23: Including same-sex couples

In February, the Liberal party introduced Bill C-23, the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act, in response to the Supreme Court's May 1999 ruling. The act would give same-sex couples who have lived together for more than a year the same benefits and obligations as common-law couples.

In March, Justice Minister Anne McLellan announces the bill will include a definition of marriage as "the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others."

On April 11, 2000, Parliament passes Bill C-23, with a vote of 174 to 72. The legislation gives same-sex couples the same social and tax benefits as heterosexuals in common-law relationships.

In total, the bill affects 68 federal statutes relating to a wide range of issues such as pension benefits, old age security, income tax deductions, bankruptcy protection and the Criminal Code. The definitions of "marriage" and "spouse" are left untouched but the definition of "common-law relationship" is expanded to include same-sex couples.

Politics & Politicians

Little Sisters’ Win for Freedom of Expression

Little Sisters Bookstore in Vancouver launched a constitutional challenge over its treatment at the hands of Canada Customs, which had been delaying and holding shipments from the US. The Book and Art Emporium claimed Customs was purposefully targeting them.

The Supreme Court agreed in a ruling on December 15, 2000 that the actions by Canada Customs were targeting Little Sisters and Justice Ian Binnie stated "when Customs officials prohibit and thereby censor lawful gay and lesbian erotica, they are making a statement about gay and lesbian culture, and the statement was reasonably interpreted by the appellants as demeaning gay and lesbian values".

The problem persists, however, with gay bookstores alleging that Customs guards disproportionately cite the Supreme Court's 1992 Butler decision against gay and lesbian publications which ruled that material containing scenes of sex mixed with violence and cruelty could be seized.

Politics & Politicians

NWT Includes Gender Identity in Human Rights Act

The Northwest Territories became the first jurisdiction in Canada to explicitly add "gender identity" to its human rights legislation as a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Politics & Politicians

Ontario Superior Court sides with Marc Hall

On May 10th, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert McKinnon rules that a gay student has the right to take his boyfriend to the prom. This legal case was a result of the Durham Catholic District School Board trying to restrict a student, Marc Hall from bringing his boyfriend to the dance at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic high school in Oshawa.

School officials acknowledge that Hall has the right to be gay, but said permitting the date would send a message that the Church supports his "homosexual lifestyle.". The courts issued an injunction against the Durham Catholic District School Board, allowing Hall to attend the prom with his boyfriend on May 10, 2002. Hall would eventually withdraw his lawsuit in June 2005, after multiple delays.

Politics & Politicians

Canada Extends Immigration Rights to Same-Sex Partners

For the first time in Canadian immigration history, gay men and lesbians are able to formally sponsor their partners. On 28 June 2002, the IRPA and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations came into effect.

The new law and regulations have expanded the family class to incorporate common law and conjugal partners, in addition to married spouses. The new legislative and regulatory scheme sets out the rules concerning the sponsorship of same-sex partners. In changing its immigration policy to include same-sex couples, Canada joined several other countries in extending immigration rights to prospective gay and lesbian immigrants.

Politics & Politicians

Steps to Marriage Equality Begins

The road to Marriage equality began on July 12, 2002, when Justice LaForme, for a unanimous Ontario Superior Court of Justice, released a landmark decision that would pave the way towards gay marriage in Ontario and across North America. The Ontario Superior Court ruled that prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying is unconstitutional and violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court gave Ontario two years to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

As a result of the Ontario ruling, the Alberta government passes a bill banning same-sex marriages and defines marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. The province says it will use the notwithstanding clause to avoid recognizing same-sex marriages if Ottawa amends the Marriage Act.

Trailblazers, Activists

Same-sex Couple Marry in Ontario - queer history - same sex marriage ontario 2003

Michael Leshner and Michael Stark became the first same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license and marry in Toronto, Ontario after the ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeals.

The unanimous Court found that the exclusion of same-sex couples was a clear violation of the Charter of Rights & Freedoms, the court ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry would take effect immediately.

In the next two years, seven provinces and one territories also legalized same-sex marriage B.C (2003) Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, Quebec, Yukon (2004), and New Brunswick (2005).

Politics & Politicians

Bill C-38: Civil Marriage Act

Bill C-38 bill became federal law which gave same-sex couples the legal right to marry. This made Canada the fourth country in the world to allow same-sex marriage. Official Legislative summary:

'This enactment extends the legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes to same-sex couples in order to reflect values of tolerance, respect and equality, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It also makes consequential amendments to other Acts to ensure equal access for same-sex couples to the civil effects of marriage and divorce'

Politics & Politicians

Conservatives attempt to re-open same sex marriage debate

A motion tabled by the ruling Conservatives on Dec 7, 2006 to reopen the same-sex marriage debate is defeated in the House of Commons by a vote of 175-123. Twelve Tories — including five cabinet ministers — broke from party lines and voted against the motion.

Politics & Politicians

Supreme Courts Rules in Nixon Case

The facts from this case and the court decisions have been the cause of much debate regarding transgender rights. Kimberly Nixon is a transgender woman who filed a human rights complaint against Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter Society (VRRS) for discrimination. VRRS argued that Nixon, a transgender individual, did not have the proper life experiences as a woman from birth would, and could not volunteer as a peer rape counselor.

Although Nixon won the Human Rights Tribunal on the grounds that the society discriminated against her, subsequent appeals decided that the VRRS was not guilty of discrimination based on the group’s right of freedom of association. This meant that the group had the right to organize as a women-only space, irrespective of gender identity. On February 1, 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Nixon’s request to appeal the decision.

The City of Vancouver stops municipal funding to VRRC as the organization does not meet its trans equality and inclusion criteria.

Politics & Politicians

Government Discriminating Against Same-Sex Couples

An Ontario court ruled on Mar 1, 2007 in response to a class-action challenge to Ottawa's policy of denying same-sex survivors benefits to people whose partners died before 1998.That date was set when Parliament passed legislation in 2000 that broadened benefit rights for same-sex couples. The court ruled that benefits will be retroactive to April 17, 1985, when equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect.

Politics & Politicians

Saskatchewan courts reinforce our rights

Court of Appeal rules that marriage officers can’t refuse permits to same-sex couples on religious grounds. The decision by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal rejects two proposals from the provincial government that would allow some or all marriage commissioners to refuse to perform a service involving gay or lesbian partners if it offended their religious beliefs.

The government proposed that marriage commissioners who were employed before the law changed in 2004 could refuse to perform the services. It also proposed a second option where all marriage commissioners could refuse.

Politics & Politicians

Bill C-32: An Act to Amend the Civil Marriage Act

The federal government introduced Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Civil Marriage Act (otherwise known as the Civil Marriage of Non-residents Act), in February 2012. The bill allows for people who married in Canada because same-sex marriage isn’t allowed where they live, to get a divorce from a Canadian court. Bill C-32 received Royal Assent on 26 June 2013.

Science & Health

Canadian Government Lowers Blood Donation Deferral Period

Since 2013, Canada has had a 5-year deferral period for MSM donors – meaning they were unable to donate blood if they have had sexual relationships with men during the past five years. On June 20, 2016 Health Canada approved a request from the two blood agencies, Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec to reduce this period to one year.

The ban remains in place for MSM who are sexually active.

Politics & Politicians

Bill C-16: Canadian Human Rights Act expanded to Gender Identity & Expression

On June 19, Bill C-16 was passed by the federal government and received Royal Assent. The bill updated the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression." The legislation also makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression.

It also extends hate speech laws to include the two terms, and makes it a hate crime to target someone for being transgender. The bill also amends the sentencing principles section of the code so that a person's gender identity or expression can be considered an aggravating circumstance by a judge during sentencing.

Politics & Politicians

Bill 74 - Ontario Government Marks TDoR

This bill marks November 20th as the official Trans Day of Remembrance and requires the legislature to hold a minute of silence at 10:29 am each year in honour of trans people who have died as a result of anti-trans violence.

Ontario's government is the first to legislate recognition of the day.

Politics & Politicians

Bill C-66: An Apology and Erasure of Unjust Criminal Records

Historically, Canada unjustly convicted and imposed criminal records on individuals for engaging in consensual sexual activity between same-sex partners that would be lawful today. On November 28, 2017, the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an official apology for Canada’s role in the criminalization, oppression and violence towards the LGBT2Q+ community and introduced legislation – Bill C-66, the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act– to put into place an expungement process to permanently destroy the records of these convictions.The bill received royal assent on June 21, 2018.

Bill C-66:An Act to establish a procedure for expunging certain historically unjust convictions and to make related amendments to other Acts

Science & Health

Challenging stigma and the blood ban

An electronic petition filed with the House of Commons, E-1589, calls on the Liberal government to stop a practice it says imposes a stigma on gay and bisexual men. Petitioners say the policy also bars Canadian Blood Services — which routinely faces donor shortages — from a potential pool of healthy, safe donations. It was presented to the House of Commons on Dec 10, 2018.

Science & Health

W.H.O declares transgender is not a mental disorder

On May 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) voted to remove 'transgender' from being designated a mental disorder.

The W.H.O will now use the term 'gender incongruence' to describe people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth. This term has been added to the sexual health category of the 11th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11).

Politics & Politicians

Bill C-75: Consistent Age of Consent

The Canadian Government repeals Section 159 of the Criminal Code, which prohibited anal intercourse except by a husband and a wife or two persons who are both 18 years or older, provided that the act was consensual and took place in private. The repeal of Section 159 eliminates the disparity in the age of consent for anal intercourse versus other sexual acts; the age of consent is now 16 for all sexual acts.

Politics & Politicians

B.C. rules on Rights to Treatment for Gender Dysphoria

The B.C. Court of Appeal reaffirms a 15-year-old's right to undergo hormone treatment even without their parents’ consent, as long as they have been assessed by a health care provider to understand the nature, consequences, benefits and risks of the proposed treatment, and as long as the health care provider opines that the treatment is in the teenager’s best interests.

But the ruling also throws out part of a lower court order that said the father's misgendering of his son constituted "family violence" under the Family Law Act. A previous ruling by the B.C. The Supreme Court judge declared that identifying the teen as a girl would be considered family violence under the Family Law Act, given the harm it had caused him. That has been struck down by the new ruling.

Politics & Politicians

Bill C-8 is inroduced to criminalize conversion therapy

Federal Government introduces Bill C-8: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy) which proposes legislative amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada that will make providing, forcing, profiting from or advertising conversion therapy a criminal act. The changes would also authorize courts to order the seizure and removal of advertisements for conversion therapy.

The bill died on the Order Paper when Parliament was prorogued on 18 August 2020. The Bill was reintroduced as Bill C-6 on October 1, 2020 by the Attorney General of Canada, David Lametti.

Conversion Therapy is already banned to different degrees in Ontario, Manitoba, Vancouver, Quebec, Yukon, Nova Scotia and PEI. This bill will ensure it is banned nationwide. As of July 2021, the bill is currently under referral for consideration in Senate Committee after it's second reading in the Senate.

Politics & Politicians

Quebec Civil Code declared discriminatory against Trans community

On January 28th, Justice Gregory Moore of the Superior Court of Quebec declared six (6) provisions of the province's Civil Code unconstitutional.

Filed initially in 2014, the Centre for Gender Advocacy at Concordia University sought to invalidate 11 articles of the Quebec Civil Code, arguing that they violated rights under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Court deemed unconstitutional that the requirement that people can only be designated as either male or female. It also declared that trans parents have a right to change their designation on their children’s birth certificate and to be recognized as “parent” and not just “mother” or “father”.  It struck down the requirement to be a Canadian citizen in order to change one’s name or gender.  The Court also struck down the requirement for a medical evaluation for trans youth; however the Court unfortunately did not strike down the parental veto over name changes. Disappointingly, the Court did not strike down the requirement to designate a sex at birth without exception, including for intersex individuals.

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