History in the making: Canada’s first Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan
October 04, 2022 - Defence Stories
2S at the front, recognizes Two-Spirit people as the first 2SLGBTQI+ communities
L - Lesbian
G - Gay
B - Bisexual
T - Transgender
Q - Queer
I - Intersex, considers sex characteristics beyond sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression
+ - is inclusive of people who identify as part of sexual and gender diverse communities, who use additional terminologies.
LGBT History Month, which is marked around the world each October, was established to recognize important moments in the history of Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and other sexual- and gender-diverse people (2SLGBTQI+). In Canada, October is also the month when we mark the end of state-sponsored discrimination of 2SLGBTQI+ military personnel and federal public servants by the Canadian federal government between the 1950s and mid-1990s—which came to be known as the “LBGT Purge”. In fact, this year is the 30th anniversary of CAF veteran Michelle Douglas’ successful legal challenge against the Canadian military’s discriminatory policies towards LGBT service members that led to the end of Canada’s discriminatory policies in 1992. (Visit the LGBT Purge Fund to learn more!)(you are now leaving the Government of Canada website)
Since then, activism and legal actions led by 2SLGBTQI+ members have advanced the communities’ rights across the federal government. Building on these actions, as well as recommendations from stakeholders and 2SLGBTQI+ communities, the Government of Canada recently launched Canada’s first Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan. The Action Plan represents an important step forward for the Government of Canada and the 2SLGBTQI+ communities across the country. The Action Plan will support the promotion of equality for 2SLGBTQI+ people, the protection of their rights, and community action. It includes several new initiatives to be implemented over the next five years in a coordinated whole-of-government approach. As noted in the plan, the Government of Canada has also adopted, and will be encouraging the use of, 2SLGBTQI+ as a more inclusive term.
What does the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan mean for the Defence Team?
The plan calls on all departments to strengthen 2SLGBTQI+ inclusion in federal workplaces and take action to ensure that nothing akin to the LGBT Purge happens again. The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) has been designated as one of the departments that will lead initiatives as part of the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan. In support of the plan, we will:
- Continue our work to implement recommendations from the LGBT Purge Class Action Settlement Agreement.
- Ensure that any initiatives we undertake are informed by federal employee networks, stakeholders and by the 2021 LGBT Purge Report “Emerging from the Purge: The State of LGBTQI2S Inclusion in the Federal Workplace and Recommendations for Improvement "(you are now leaving the Government of Canada website); and
- Continue to support and encourage employee-led Pride initiatives, such as the Positive Space Initiative and the Public Service Pride Network.
While the Federal Action Plan is new, DND/CAF has already taken many positive steps that address or lay the foundation for actions identified in the plan.
- As part of the response to the LGBT Purge Class Action Settlement Agreement (you are now leaving the Government of Canada website), we are reviewing and updating training resources, increasing awareness and understanding of inclusive language, continuing to define departmental benchmarks, supporting the monitoring of activities, and working in collaboration with 2SLGBTQI+ communities to support 2SLGBTQI+ inclusion.
- The Defence Team Positive Space Program has played a major role in advancing awareness and acknowledging and respecting diversity. We will be taking steps this fall to reinvigorate and expand this program into a full-fledged program, ensuring that it has the necessary resources and support to meet the need.
- In 2020, DND/CAF officially recognized the Defence Team Pride Advisory Organization (DTPAO) as a Defence Advisory Group (DAG). This organization has had an incredibly positive impact on our workplace by providing advice, guidance and recommendations to Defence Team leadership on systemic challenges and issues affecting the 2SLGBTQI+ communities. Recognizing the value of the DTPAO and the other DAGs, the Defence Team is investing additional resources, including establishing dedicated secretariat support through the Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture. The secretariat will help decrease administrative workload for all the DAGs and ensure they can fully engage in their critical advisory functions.
We are proud of the important steps we have taken to foster a more respectful and inclusive Defence Team but we know there is much more work to do. The Action Plan will help us strengthen our efforts.
During this month, as we reflect on LGBT History, let’s also look towards a better future we can all be proud of. Take time to read the Action Plan, consult resources related to the Government of Canada’s work to improve equality for 2SLGBTQI+ communities, and consider how you can advance equality for all in your everyday work.
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