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, MLA Burrows
May 16, 2013

International Day against Homophobia

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is International Day against Homophobia. First marked in 2006, this rallying event offers an opportunity for everyone to come together in support of the LGBTTQ community.

We are all too familiar with heartbreaking stories of youth suicides due to homophobia. Because of the bravery of community members, major breakthroughs have taken place. However, despite our strides forward, many individuals are still unable to be who they are, or encounter difficulties when they try, or render themselves invisible as protection.

May 17th is a significant day towards the improvement of the status of LGBTTQ people worldwide. On that day in 1990, homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO). By declassifying homosexuality as a mental illness, the WHO ended the institutionalization of homophobia in the medical field.

While protection of LGBTTQ Canadians is rightfully enshrined in the Charter of Human Rights, legal advances will ring quite hollow until complete acceptance of LGBTTQ people is achieved. This is why the Manitoba Government is focusing on tangible solutions. We have extended marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples and included gender identity in the Manitoba Human Rights Code. We will continue to support the Rainbow Resource Centre, OutWords magazine, and Winnipeg Pride. To protect all students, we will pass Bill 18 to address bullying in all of its forms.

In Manitoba, we are continuing to work toward a prejudice-free world. We must keep challenging heterosexism, homophobia, and all other forces of oppression. On behalf of the Province of Manitoba, I pledge my support to the community. Thank you to all of the activists who refuse to stay silent and hidden. As positive role models, supporters, and mentors to LGBTTQ youth, you are making the biggest of differences.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.