Back in the 1980’s, countless Canadian military workers were forced to leave their careers behind or be subject to psychiatric ‘treatment’ for the sole reason of being gay.
One of the most well documented cases is that of naval worker, Simon Thwaites, who in 1986 was forced into a meeting with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) special investigative unit to talk about his asymptomatic positive HIV status, reports the BBC.
In the meeting, Thwaites was forced to tell his interrogators everyone he knew in the navy who was gay before being allowed to leave and having his working day completely diminished to no more than endless menial tasks. Shortly afterwards he was dismissed.
Sadly, Simon Thwaites lost not only his job, but his car, and home. He was also given no pension or medical coverage.
Now, over thirty years after his initial ‘meeting’ with the investigative unit, Thwaites is still incredibly angry over everything that happened to himself and hundreds, if not thousands, of others.
However a wind of change is upon the nation of Canada, with an apology set to be made later this year to Thwaites and his counterparts about the campaign of sexual discrimination from the 1950’s all the way up to the 1990s.
[An apology would] reaffirm the fact that we’re not broken, there’s not something horribly wrong with us. We didn’t do anything wrong by just being ourselves.
Trudeau’s special advisor on LGBTQ2 issues, Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault, believes an apology is ‘critical’.
Specifically, he said:
It’s the right thing to do. People’s lives and careers were turned upside down.
We can’t move forward as a country, we can’t move forward as a community, until this is done.
And it appears that soon it will be done, with Truadeau himself stating that not only will an apology be made but the records of those prosecuted for their sexuality will be erased.
Onwards and upwards we go.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.