Far too many LGBT people around the world live life in the shadows, fearful of being punished for simply being who they are. Canada, to rectify this injustice, must show that acceptance, not rejection, and that respect, not hatred, makes a country stronger.
In South America a dramatic shift in LGBT equality has occurred. Uruguay approved civil unions in 2008, Ecuador followed suit the next year, Argentina and Brazil did so in 2010, and Chile recognized rights of the LGBT community in 2015. In addition, sex reassignment surgery is covered by health insurance in Cuba and Argentina.
Unfortunately this positive change has not had the domino affect on the rest of the world many have hoped for. Of the 55 states in Africa, being gay is outlawed in 34 of them. In some African nations being gay remains punishable by death or life imprisonment.
Canada should, and must, export its values to countries Africa. Canada, through its diplomatic missions, but also through Canadian charities and non-government development agencies must demonstrate that a country is more invulnerable and more cohesive when all citizens are treated equally and with respect. Canada has a global duty to show the power of good will over hatred, and generosity over malevolence and division.
In Asia, Israel, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, and Cyprus are the most open to LGBT rights, while the Philippines ranks as the 9th friendliest country in the world to the LGBT community. Sadly, when the UN General Assembly sought a resolution on LGBT rights, only 10 states in Asia expressed support.
Countries in Asia are places where Canada can lead the way and demonstrate the power of harmony over discord, and show the strengths we as Canadians hold dear towards minorities.
Europe has been at the center of LGBT rights. On May 22, 2015 the citizens of Ireland approved same-sex marriage, in 2014 Scotland legalized same-sex marriage, while France did so in May 2013, as did Malta in 2014. Despite the fact that Slovakia and Macedonia have banned same-sex marriage, Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Finland, and Luxembourg have all legalized it.
Canada is a credible country that is respected by people from around the world. We should take advantage of this position and show leadership by demonstrating that a country is greater when all people are welcomed, when all people are respected, and when all people are treated equally. Canada as a country, and Canadians as its citizens, must be willing, if not eager, to relay these values to countries so that the rights of all LGBT people are respected. In this way the entire world will move towards a more harmonious and peaceful place.
Are we up to the task? Are you up to the task?
All of this information was attained from the United Nations Human Right High Commissioner.