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LGBTQ Canadians facing a rising tide of hatred, Trudeau says

Trudeau warns of increase in anti-LGBTQ activity at Pride flag-raising ceremony on Parliament Hill

Justin Trudeau.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a Pride flag-raising event on Parliament Hill on Thursday, June 8, 2023.

Photo: La Presse canadienne / Sean Kilpatrick


In a speech at a Pride flag-raising ceremony on Parliament Hill Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that hatred of LGBTQ people is on the rise in Canada.

The rainbow-coloured flag is now flying in front of the Parliament Buildings to mark Pride Month. The Liberal government started the annual tradition in 2016. In his speech, Trudeau warned that the climate for LGBTQ people has worsened since then.

When we first raised the Pride flag on Parliament Hill seven years ago, I think we all thought it would get easier from that moment, Trudeau said.

Transphobia, biphobia, homophobia, they're all on the rise. It's been difficult to watch people and institutions still continue to reject who you are, to try to deny members of our communities the rights to be seen and heard and celebrated.

The federal government announced $1.7 million in funding for six LGBTQ rights groups (new window) in conjunction with the ceremony. Women, Gender Equality and Youth Minister Marci Ien announced emergency funding earlier this week (new window) to help cover rising security and insurance costs for Pride festivals.

The number of police-reported hate crimes related to sexual orientation rose 64 per cent in 2021 over the previous year, says Statistics Canada (new window).

Trudeau said anti-LGBTQ hatred is spreading from the United States into Canada. He cited several recent controversies, including attempts to disrupt Pride celebrations (new window) and remove books on sexual orientation and identity (new window) from school libraries, and some schools refusing to raise the Pride flag (new window).

In too many places, it's kids who have to fight to have the Pride flag raised, and in some places it's been denied, Trudeau said.

And to those kids I'm here to say, even though the Pride flag may not fly at your school, know that it proudly flies here in your seat of government.

Trudeau added that most Canadians support the LGBTQ community.

We are reminded all too often … whether it's online or celebrating Pride or [in] our daily lives, that hatred still has a very loud voice, he said.

But I think we also need to be reminded that those loud voices do not represent the vast, vast majority of Canadians.

Richard Raycraft (new window) · CBC News