December 17, 2009

Quebec Announces All-Out Fight Against Homophobia

From Edge (Boston):

The government of Quebec has studied the problem of homophobia for years and is now poised to implement new policies to move beyond "tolerance" and toward "acceptance."

Quebec Justice Minister Kathleen Weil was cited in a Dec. 11 Montreal Gazette article as saying that the aim of the program was to promote societal, as well as legal, equality. Homosexuality as decriminalized in Canada four decades ago, but homophobic attitudes persist.

Despite decades of gains for GLBT Canadians, "sexual diversity is still widely misunderstood," Quebec Premier Jean Charest writes in his introductory remarks to the newly published Quebec Policy Against Homophobia. "Cultures and mindsets remain marked by homophobic prejudice and sentiment. In families, schools and workplaces, it is not unusual for individuals to face rejection, bullying, and even violent behavior triggered by homophobia. This, in turn, forces them to keep their sexual orientation a secret in order to avoid social disapproval."

Charest’s commentary continues, "An inclusive society such as ours must take the necessary steps to combat homophobic attitudes and behavior patterns, and move towards full acceptance of sexual diversity. By introducing this Qu├ębec policy against homophobia, the government hopes to trigger a firm commitment, by institutions and the general population, to fight all forms of homophobia. The policy sets out the government’s goal of removing all the obstacles to full recognition of the social equality of the sexual minorities, at all levels of society. The message is clear: our society has everything to gain from accepting sexual diversity and fighting intolerance."

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