Pride Day in Vancouver

The Canadian government has been keeping its nose out of people’s bedrooms since 1969. Since then, any consenting adults could have any sex they like, provided the participants were of legal age, not dead, and not an animal. Basically.

From the Canadian Encyclopedia:

From Confederation to 1969, under Canada’s criminal law, homosexuality was punishable by up to 14 years in prison. In 1969 the law was amended by exempting from prosecution 2 consenting adults of at least 21 years of age who engaged in these “indecent acts” in private. Since then, the speed of social change in attitudes toward homosexuality has accelerated because of general tolerance (eg, for common-law couples and single parents) and organized gay liberation campaigns.

Many Canadians no longer consider homosexual acts “indecent.” At the time of the 1985 edition of this encyclopedia, one province and several cities had enacted laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. By 1996 the majority of Canadian provinces had legislated against discrimination, as is also the case in the internal rules of numerous public and private institutions ranging from churches to universities to Canada Post to major banks. The Canadian military have gone much further than the American military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy by banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. When the age of consent for vaginal and oral sex was lowered to 14 in the criminal code, consent for anal sex remained at 18, until a high court decided in 1995 that this distinction unlawfully discriminated against homosexuals.

Gay rights have taken a long time to evolve, despite that forward-thinking law. Vancouver, however, has been considered a very “pro-gay” city for a long, long time.

Some could argue there are aspects of the “noses out” policy that are lip-service more than reality, and cite examples like Little Sisters’ Bookstore’s epic legal battles to get materials across the border without being tapped with some vague obscenity legalities.

They’d be right, too.

But today we celebrate how far we’ve come, and we’ve come a long way, baby.

My best friend’s been out for 10 years now. Mostly out, anyhow. Mostly’s pretty good, when it involves his career and community services. The only people who don’t know would seem to be choosing ignorance, at this point.

And that still happens.

Tomorrow, we worry about that.

Tomorrow, we remember that there are places gays don’t marry, don’t get accepted, can’t live out loud, and have to fear repercussions for being themselves.

Tomorrow, we acknowledge the idiocy that is religious sanctimony that believes “gay” can be doctrined out of ungodly homosexuals.

Tomorrow, we remind ourselves that even in forward-living towns like Vancouver, gay-bashings happen, discrimination continues, and education needs improving.

Today’s about it being today. It’s about the fact a gay female judge can flirt with the girl contestants on a mainstream show like American Idol and it not won’t be a controversy. It’s about gay marriages gaining steam in America. It’s about men holding hands in the streets without being worried about the average person attacking or slandering them.

Today, it’s about the change we’ve seen, so that, tomorrow, when we’re daunted by how far is left to go, we can know it’s less a journey than it once was, and that’s something to take pride in.

Today, it’s also about being proud to be a Canadian, and living in a country that said, 41 years ago, that governments had no right to tell anyone who they could love.

That’s what today’s about.

Pride, baby.

Happy 10th, M, and anyone else who’s come out at work, with friends, or with family. Way to represent.