Statement marking International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia


May 17, 2023 - Ottawa, Ontario - Government of Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada; and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, today issued the following statement:

“Never before has the global landscape for 2SLGBTQI+ persons been so fluid and rapidly changing. Several countries have made meaningful progress in decriminalizing same-sex relations, prohibiting discrimination, penalizing hate crimes and recognizing transgender persons. However, legislative and policy setbacks have occurred in all regions of the world, and hatred and violence against 2SLGBTQI+ people occur far too often. Worldwide, 11 countries have jurisdictions in which the death penalty can be imposed for same-sex relations, and almost 70 countries criminalize people for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“In this challenging global context, Canada remains determined to work collaboratively with members of civil society at home and abroad to protect and advance 2SLGBTQI+ rights. Canada puts respect for human rights at the heart of its international engagement through the Feminist International Assistance Policy, and last year we launched our first-ever 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan. Among other initiatives, the Action Plan commits us to diplomacy and advocacy through the UN system, regional organizations and international coalitions. Canada is also part of the Equal Rights Coalition and is a member of LGBTI core groups at both the UN and the Organization of American States. We also strongly support the UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Globally, discrimination and violence against 2SLGBTQI+ persons threaten to reverse decades of progress toward inclusive and sustainable development. In response, Canada’s LGBTQ2I International Assistance Program is providing $30 million in funding over 5 years in support of human rights and better socio-economic outcomes for 2SLGBTQI+ persons, and a further $10 million per year thereafter.

“We also believe the benefits of trade must be more widely shared with traditionally under-represented groups. Canada’s trade diversification strategy is informed by gender-based analysis plus, which helps to identify opportunities and ensure that free trade agreements are gender-responsive and inclusive. The Trade Commissioner Service is also working to support 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs in their efforts to access international markets, find global partners and grow their businesses.

“Today, around the world, 2SLGBTQI+ persons, civil society groups, human rights defenders, community members and allies are standing together against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. Canada stands with them. Human rights belong to all people, everywhere, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.”


Adrien Blanchard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Shanti Cosentino
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada

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