Sexual orientation and the Canadian military

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LGBT policy in the Canadian military has changed in the course of the 20th century from being socially repressive to being socially accepted.

CFAO 19-20[edit]

In May 1967, due to the passing of the CF Reorganization Act (C-90) the Canadian Forces issued Canadian Forces Administrative Order (CFAO) 19-20, Sexual Deviation - Investigation, Medical Investigation and Disposal, which required members of the military suspected of being homosexual to be investigated and then subsequently released.[1]

Effect of social liberalization[edit]

This order was repealed in 1992, after a challenge by then CF Member Michelle Douglas, thereby allowing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to serve in the Canadian Forces free from harassment and discrimination.[2][3]

A series of provincial and territorial court decisions beginning in 2003 ruled in favour of the legality of gay marriage, and a national law to that effect was passed by Canada's parliament in 2005 by the Paul Martin Liberal government.

Same-sex unions in the military[edit]

In 2004, Jason Stewart was the first member of Canada's military to marry a same-sex partner.[4] In May 2005, Canada's first military gay wedding took place at Nova Scotia's Canadian Forces Base Greenwood. Officials described the ceremony as low-key but touching. A similar wedding has since taken place between two male Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers. Today, the Canadian Forces recognizes same-sex marital and common-law unions, and affords them the same benefits offered to all married or common-law serving members.[5][6]

Participation in Pride parades[edit]

During the Divers-Cité Pride parades 1999–2002 in Montreal, a military member and an ex-military member held the banner of the informal grouping MGL, dissolved in 2004 due to the lack of participation of the military community LGBT. During the 2006 Halifax Pride parade, one member of the Canadian Forces marched in the parade, helping to carry the large pride flag. In the 2008 Toronto Pride parade, ten members of the Canadian Forces marched for the first time as a group. One month later, twelve gay and straight members of the Canadian Forces marched in the Vancouver Pride parade. Lt(N) Steven Churm said, "The message to the public is that the Canadian Forces is an employer of choice."[6] For Moncton River of Pride in 2010 Ruben Avila, a former officer candidate, was noted saying that it was "a social milestone, for both the gay and lesbian communities, as well as the armed forces".[7] A Facebook group[8] exists where CF LGBT members network and organise as a support group, do socials, as well as plan for various Canadian Pride events dating back to his initial collaboration with Lt (N) Churm at Toronto Pride 2009.[9]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Goldberg, Suzanne B. "Open Service and Our Allies: A Report on the Inclusion of Openly Gay and Lesbian Servicemembers in U.S. Allies' Armed Forces," William & Mary Journal of Women & Law (2011) v 17 pp 547-90 online

External links[edit]