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Homosexual Rights: The Evolution And Causes

967 words - 4 pages

“...There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. I think that what's done in private between adults doesn't concern the Criminal Code.”1 These famous words were spoken by Pierre Trudeau in December of 1967, after he proposed that homosexuality be decriminalized. He was one of the first heterosexual persons to suggest such a thing. Those words empowered homosexuals to fight back against the unfair treatment they were enduring, and to fight for their rights as human beings. It was also a wake-up call of sorts to Canadians that there were problems with their justice system. In today’s society, Canadian laws that previously discriminated against homosexuals have now been amended as a result of societal pressure, Jim Egan’s never ending contributions, and the efforts of Brent Hawkes.
Gay men were previously considered to be of an unstable mindset because of society’s views of them. In 1948, Canadian parliament mimicked the Americans and made the criminal sexual psychopath legislation, and in 1961, that was changed to the dangerous sexual offenders law. 2 For a man to be found guilty of breaking one of these laws, he only had to admit that he was gay. He would then be charged and have a trial, and if he was found guilty, he would be put in jail for an indeterminate sentence. Discrimination based on sexual orientation was a common occurrence in Canada in the 1900s. Many people were speculative and considered homosexuals to be a threat, therefore in the eyes of the law, they were culpable of many crimes. By way of contrast, in the early 1970s it became clear that there had been inaccurate psychological investigation into the psyche of homosexuals. 3 It was shown that a large part of the investigations done had been inconclusive and there was no scientific proof that homosexuality was a mental illness, as it was previously believed to be. 4 There were many factors that had led psychologists to believe that homosexuality was a mental disorder, but the main reason was that when homosexuality was first classified, it was a social normality to believe that there was something wrong with homosexuals. People grew up believing homosexuality was wrong, and that discriminating against them was right. Before homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses in 1982, there had been more acceptance and support of homosexuality. 5 Moreover, homosexuality was becoming the new social norm, and as a result of that, people began to question if it was truly a mental illness, which led to the removal of homosexuality from the list of known mental illnesses.
James Egan was salient towards gaining equal rights for homosexuals. After World War II, the degradation of homosexuals was a common topic in the media. 6 When James read the derogatory things being said about homosexuals he was outraged, and immediately began writing letters of complaint...

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