LGBTQ groups say Quebec action plan against homophobia needs funding
QUEBEC CITY – Quebec’s justice minister is drafting a new government strategy to stamp out discrimination.
Members of the LGBTQ community from around the province had the minister’s ear Tuesday: they proposed talking about trans issues as early as elementary school, as well as providing support to parents and education for employers.
“What we heard today was a case where a young trans was being fired because she works in the public and her employer thought that was unacceptable. We have to fight that. That’s exactly what transphobia is,” said Minister Stéphanie Vallée.
Examples of discrimination against gay and transgender Quebecers are disturbing – and illegal.
“Sometimes a trans person will go into a hospital, maybe they have a knee that is bad, or a cough. And they will be told, ‘I’m sorry, we don’t serve people like you,'” said Mari-Pier Boisvert, Conseil Quebecois LGBT executive director.
“It’s important to talk about these issues, not only when we have tragedies, such as the one that happened in Orlando,” said Vallée.
The recent shooting in a gay night club in Florida caused Quebec singer, Coeur de Pirate, to admit she is queer, something people at the consultation say is an indication of how attitudes are changing in Quebec.
“Queer for me is: ‘Don’t put me in a (box),'” said Alain Levesque, the president of the Association des gais et lesbiennes du Saguenay Lac-St-Jean. “We are and that’s it.”
However, associations say the real issues of intolerance and denied access to health care won’t be fixed by celebrity support – community associations need money.
“The LGBT community is one of the worst financed in all of the community groups that exist in Quebec,” said Boisvert.
“Budget cutbacks and austerity has really been quite hurtful on the community organizations,” said Brian Carey with an LGBT community organization in Gaspesie/Iles-de-la-Madeleine.
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