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Canadian Commentative LGBTQ Loonies By R.I. Peters
I did not know what a “loonie” was until I read this story, but now I know just what a loonie is:
“The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a commemorative loonie Tuesday to mark what it called a key milestone for lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and two-spirited people, with the government saying the coin symbolized progress while highlighting the work that still needs to be done to advance equality. Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau was amongst a number of dignitaries who gathered in Toronto to unveil the new one-dollar coin that pays tribute to Parliament's passing of legislation that "initiated the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada" in 1969. The coin, which is now in circulation, combines the words "Equality-Egalite" with the work of Vancouver-based artist Joe Average. "For too long, people didn't listen. They didn't extend compassion or empathy or understanding," Morneau said. "Because of that, years ago, people made it a crime to love in Canada. We made being yourself a punishable offence."
Some historians and advocates attending today's unveiling raised concerns about the message behind the new loonie, saying it mistakenly suggests equality has been achieved and largely as a result of the federal government's actions. The group also held a news conference near the mint's event to challenge myths surrounding the 1969 Criminal Code reform. Discrimination persists today, historian says York University historian Tom Hooper, who is part of the group, says LGTBTQ people faced continued criminalization over the decades that followed the legal changes. He said discrimination against LGBTQ people persists today, noting as examples that trans and queer people of colour still face issues with policing and people with HIV remain subject to criminalization. The mint "could have consulted people who have knowledge of this history but they didn't," Hooper said, adding he hopes the agency will do so in the future. He acknowledged no campaign can compete with roughly three million coins but said the project is at least fuelling a public conversation about LGBTQ history.”
No doubt Australia will be following Canada’s lead here, which cannot be other than a good thing, can it?
Authorised by K. W. Grundy
13 Carsten Court, Happy Valley, SA.