To the editor:
Thunder Pride Association welcomes the mandate letters for Canada's Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu – M.P. for Thunder Bay-Superior North, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, - M.P. Bardish Chagger and Minister of Justice and Attorney General, M.P. David Lametti.
Thunder Pride Association was thrilled to see the federal government's continued support and utmost concern for Canada’s LGBTQ2S+ community by elevating to a full ministerial mandate within the new ministry of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth. In the previous Parliament, a secretariat on LGBTQ2S+ issues was created within the Privy Council Office. Former MP Randy Boissonnault was named the Prime Minister's Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 Issues to head this secretariat in the previous Parliament.
Immediately following the election this fall, Thunder Pride Association wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau to encourage the government to ensure that this role continued to be a defined, appropriately-resourced, and suitably represented role in the government. While much was accomplished for LGBTQ2S+ people in the previous Parliament that all Canadians can be proud of, there is more work to do to secure equal opportunity, safety, and full equity and inclusion for LGBTQ2S+ people and their families – especially for Trans people, Indigenous Two-Spirit people, LGBTQ2S+ youth in rural and remote communities.
The Minister's mandate letters reflects a number of priorities which advance the inclusion, safety, and well-being of LGBTQ2S+ people. We are particularly relived to see this government's commitment amend the Criminal Code to ban the harmful and appalling practice of so-called 'conversion therapy’. We are also very supportive of the mandate to Minister Hajdu to work to finally end the Gay/Bi Men’s Blood Ban once and for all. We encourage her to work with the Canadian Blood Services to move quickly to eliminate the three-month waiting period as soon as possible.
We still see important issues like unrestricted access to preventative sexual health medication – notably PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) and making affordable HIV/AIDS medication, Trans Health and support, international assistance for LGBTQ2S+ people lacking from mandate letters. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure equity and inclusion for LGBTQ2S+ people globally.
The mandate letters also includes several other commitments in support LGBTQ2S issues like: Continue the work of the Secretariat and Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth in promoting LGBTQ2 equality, protecting LGBTQ2S rights, and addressing discrimination against LGBTQ2S communities. Providing additional investments to LGBTQ2S organizations to hire staff, expand services, and reach more people (this includes hotlines and other support services for LGBTQ2S communities, including those that provide sexual health information) like that of Thunder Pride Association. To consult civil society representatives of LGBTQ2S communities to lay the groundwork for an LGBTQ2S action plan that would guide the work of the federal government on issues important to LGBTQ2S Canadians.
As we move forward we are ready to work with the Trudeau Government to move forward LGBTQ2S issues and projects that will foster and build capacity, improved health access, eliminating once and for all “Conversion Therapy” practices in our country and ensure that community has an equal and fair chance to succeed.
Chair – Thunder Pride Association