Archive | On October 27, 1992, the Canadian army stopped discriminating against LGBTQ soldiers.

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Archives | On October 27, 1992, the Canadian army stops discriminating against LGBTQ soldiers

Military police cars, Téléjournal, November 16, 2010

Thirty years ago, on October 27, 1992, a judgment by the Federal Court of Canada forced the Canadian Armed Forces to end their discriminatory policy against homosexuals. For decades, the Canadian army and the RCMP have engaged in a witch hunt against gays and lesbians in their ranks, as evidenced by our archives.

Discrimination against homosexuals in the civil service began in the 1950s, at the time of the Cold War. It is then feared that gays and lesbians pose a risk to national security, as their sexuality could be used as a pretext for blackmail.

A special unit is formed within the police military to protect the Canadian Armed Forces against the presence of possible communist spies. Homosexuals become a target, as they are believed to be more likely to lead double lives.

When she joined the army in the late 1980s, Michelle Douglas decided to stay in the closet to serve her country. At that time, fear reigned among gay and lesbian soldiers who had to hide their sexual orientation at all costs.

Michelle Douglas was interrogated by the military police in 1988 for two days and ends up revealing his secret. In the Canadian military, an avowed member of the LGBTQ community could sometimes keep his job, but was deprived of salary increases, promotions, and advancement throughout his career.

“It was pretty sad, most were in tears because it wasn't accepted. […] We came into their personal life and completely upset it. It was pushed hard.

— Raymond Giguère, former military policeman

Michelle Douglas, she sees herself excluded from the Canadian Armed Forces. At 28, she decided to challenge this decision in Federal Court, citing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was this court case that led to the abolition of discriminatory practices in 1992.

Host Robert Guy Scully chats with Burnaby NDP MP Svend Robinson. It is about the debate around the discrimination practiced in the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP against homosexuals.

Before the Douglas affair, a parliamentary committee unanimously recommended in 1986 that the rejection of homosexuals in the army and within the RCMP be stopped.

January 11, 1986, on the public affairs program Impact, host Robert Guy Scully meets Svend Robinson. This NDP MP in Burnaby, British Columbia then led a campaign against discrimination practiced in the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP. Mentalities are difficult to change.

As Svend Robinson mentioned in 1986, polls across the country show that Canadians are ready to accept the end of discrimination based on orientation employment, housing and access to services.

“In the field of uniforms, if I may say so, that is to say the police forces and the army, it annoys a lot of people and particularly the heads of these institutions. Between 1981 and 1984, about 100 people were fired for this reason alone.

—Robert Guy Scully

During the 1980s, elsewhere in the West, gays and lesbians were also not welcome in the army. In Britain and Spain, it is a crime to be a homosexual in the armed forces. In Germany, a general saw his career ruined because he was seen in a gay bar. The United States is not to be outdone.

In 2010, the debate is still raging in the United States concerning the presence of homosexual people in the army.

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Michelle Douglas fought for the equality of sexual minorities in the army.

On November 16, 2010, journalist Marc-Antoine Ruest presented on Téléjournal a report on the witch hunt of which homosexuals were victims before 1992 in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Until 1992, denunciation was encouraged and even compulsory. If a member of the RCMP or the Armed Forces has suspicions about a colleague, they must report it. The culprit is then interrogated like a criminal.

In the report, ex-soldiers testify.

Darl Wood was aware of the military 1970s. When the investigative unit discovered that she was a lesbian, she was interrogated for a whole day. Even after her confession, the military police continued to question her about her intimate relationships and sexual practices. An event that troubled her forever. The interrogations of persons presumed to be homosexual were often humiliating and traumatizing.

After 1992, once the policy of exclusion was abolished, some members of the Armed Forces who had been dismissed were reinstated, and the salary and promotion restrictions are abolished.

In 2017, the federal government officially apologizes to LGBTQ members discriminated against by the Canadian Armed Forces.

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