Tag Archives: Canada

LGBT Trailblazer Edith Windsor, Whose Same-Sex Marriage Fight Led to Landmark Ruling, Dies at 88

Edith Windsor, the gay-rights activist whose legal battles for same sex marriage rights resulted in the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 88.

Her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, confirmed the death, at a hospital, but did not specify a cause. They were married in 2016.

Windsor first rose to national prominence by suing the federal government for spousal benefits after her first wife, Thea Spyer, whom she’d legally married in Canada – died in 2009.

DOMA, which banned all federal recognition of same sex marriage, barred her from receiving those benefits.

Windsor’s case, United States v. Windsor, made it to the Supreme Court, and in 2013, the Court ruled in her favour.

The Windsor decision, was limited to 13 states and the District of Columbia. However in a more expansive ruling in 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges and three related cases, the Supreme Court held that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry anywhere in the nation, with all the protections and privileges of heterosexual couples.

Its historic significance was likened to that of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, which decriminalized gay sex in the United States.

Born Edith Schlain, Windsor kept her last name after marrying Saul Windsor in a union that lasted just one year.

She met Spyer in 1963. In 1967, Windsor proposed to Spyer. They waited 40 years before they got married in Canada.

Windsor spent decades working tirelessly as an LGBTQ activist in and around New York, including once going to so far to donate her Cadillac to a Village Halloween parade in Manhattan.

Through her tireless efforts, Windsor became a leading star in the world of LGBTQ activism.

Celebrating the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision declaring marriage as a fundamental right for all Americans, Windsor told The New Yorker she was “thrilled with the content of the decision.”

But, despite the monumental victory, Windsor was realistic about how it fit into the larger fight for rights and representation for the LGBTQ community.

I think it’s only the next major step. We have a history: beginning to see each other with Stonewall, when a whole new community began to recognize itself; the AIDS crisis—we’d always been separated! Gays and lesbians, separated! But when lesbians came forward to help with the victims of AIDS, we all saw each other very differently. I see this as another huge step towards equality—I combine, it, obviously, with my case.

Rest in Power, Edith Windsor.



Canada Introduces Gender-Neutral ‘X’ Option On Passports

From Thursday, Canadians will be able to identify as gender neutral on their passports under new changes that have been enthusiastically welcomed by rights campaigners.

Canada becomes the first country in the Americas to allow its citizens to use an “X” category, joining those in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand and Pakistan. India, Ireland and Nepal are among the countries that provide various third-options.

Immigration minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement,

All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choos.

By introducing an ‘X’ gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression.”

Advocacy groups in Canada welcomed the change.

Helen Kennedy – executive director of Egale, a Canadian organisation that promotes LGBT human rights – said

Canada is taking an important and positive first step by acknowledging the challenges faced by non-binary, intersex and trans individuals. Many people will benefit from having the option of choosing ‘X’ as their gender when they go to file for their passport. However, it is not the ultimate solution and the addition of a gender-neutral option, as Canada is implementing it, does not address many of the underlying issues being faced by these folks.”

Kennedy stressed that the introduction of the “X” designation was no panacea for the ID-related barriers non-binary, trans and intersex people face when travelling by air. She also questioned the need for gender markers on passports in the first place.

In order to successfully increase the safety of non-binary, intersex and trans folks, Canada needs to do more work to lobby internationally to remove gender markers on passports, as well as break down existing barriers that are preventing access to gender autonomy in our country.”

For the time being at least, sex fields are mandatory on all travel documents under International Civil Aviation Organization rules.

There are fears that those who identity as “X” may encounter issues when trying to enter other countries.

Adrienne Smith, a Toronto immigration lawyer who specialises in transgender legal issues, told Global News.

I’m really worried that in countries like Uganda and Jamaica, where being LGBT is illegal and there’s laws on the books that prosecute people for identifying as trans, that this could leave people open to arbitrary detention, it could leave them open to scrutiny at airports, degrading treatment.”

Groups in the UK have long called for the introduction of a similar policy.

Rebecca Stinson, head of trans inclusion at Stonewall, which campaigns for LGBT equality in the UK, said:

It’s great to see Canada introduce a gender-neutral option on passports and we would like this approach to be adopted by the UK.”

She described how trans and non-binary people faced unnecessary obstacles and questions because of the way gender is recorded on official documents, such as passports.

“This leaves many trans people feeling afraid to travel for fear of intrusive questioning. We need this to change. We want everyone to be recognised for who they are and for national and local government documents and procedures to accurately reflect gender identity.”

Documentary ‘in particular, barbara findlay’ Details Vancouver LGBT Activist’s Fight for Equality

For the past 30 years, lawyer barbara findlay Q.C has been fighting for the rights and the freedoms of LGBT Canadians.

Not only was barbara findlay one of the first lawyers to practice openly as a lesbian, but she has also broken ground by taking on cases regarding gay adoption, family law, discrimination and in 1995 she represented Kimberley Nixon who was asked to leave the Vancouver Rape Relief organisation because she is trans.

So important has barbara findlay’s work been to Canada’s LGBT community that it has now been presented in a documentary called in particular, barbara findlay.

Directed by Becca Plucer, the documentary also features the likes of Kimberly Nixon, as well as 13-year-old Tru Wilson (who got a Catholic school board to change its policy regarding the gender expression of students) and other activists and writers who are working to fight against oppression.

Moreover, the documentary looks at some of the low points barbara findlay’s life. For example, in the late 1960s, a time when people didn’t necessarily know what a lesbian was, barbara findlay was locked up in a psychiatric ward for admitting her attraction to women.

The lawyer also faced sexism as one of few women who were in law school.

And there are high points as well, including barbara findlay’s meeting of her partner Sheila Gilhooly, who features in the documentary as an interviewee, meeting her thesis advisor Dorothy Smyth and in 1982 when she discovered that LGBT people had been left out of the human rights code.

In particular, barbara findlay aired late last month at The Rio for Queer History Month, and some of those lucky enough to be in attendance called it an ‘important story to tell,’ massively praising the documentary. For those who were unable to attend the showing of the film, however, a post on barbara findlay’s website explains that the documentary will be available online after June 3 via OUTtv.

Canadian Goalkeeper Erin McLeod Shuts Down Hateful Comments With One Perfect Post

Over the weekend, Women’s World Cup playing, goalkeeper Erin McLeod from Canadian, tied the knot with her girlfriend and fellow footballer Ella Masar.

Erin McLeod

Masar came out publicly ealier this year in an article focusing on her Christian faith, after receiving homophobic comments on a personal family photo.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that I am deeply in love with Erin Katrina McLeod. Yes, I know she is a woman. Yes, I hear you, it is wrong. Yes, I know I am sinning. Yet, please tell me who can throw the first stone? Wether you believe it is a sin or not, I will never apologize for loving someone, faithfully, with everything that I am, and honoring them daily.”

Again, Masar has had to respond to hateful comments on her wedding. She posted this response:

For all the congratulations, love, and support thank you. Erin and I feel overwhelmed and blessed with everyone that has reached out… Also, to the “other” messages, thank you. Thank you for praying for me and reinforcing my own prayers because as you pray, “Lord please help Ella, allow her to see her sin for loving that woman, for respecting her, being faithful, honoring her, etc …” Know I am saying the same thing, “My Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me find my better half, for finding someone that strengthens my faith and allows me to be the person I always imagined. Thank you for teaching me what truly loving someone and others is all about, amen.


Awwww, Abby Wambach Celebrates US World Cup Victory With A Loving Kiss With Her Wife

What a perfect way to celebrate the U.S. win over Japan, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalising gay marriage.

Abby Wamback, who has been called the “soul” of the U.S. team, celebrated her countries World Cup win by rushing to her wife, Sarah Huffman, to share a loving embrace.

Wambach told the Daily Mail:

To be quite honest, I felt like I was in a dream sitting there on the bench watching Carli Lloyd go off and I’m so proud to be on this team and proud to be a part of something that in my opinion is really special.”

She embraced her wife last night in front of the sold-out crowd in the BC Place stadium.

In October 2013, Wambach married Sarah Huffman – former midfielder for the Portland Thorns and United States national team – in Hawaii.

Huffman came out that year on the LGBT non-profit organization website, Athlete Ally.

The two were teammates on the Western New York Flash.

This was Wambach’s last chance at earning the title of World Champion, she entered her final international game in the 79th minute as a substitute, with fans chanting her name.

I would give up all my individual awards for what we just did tonight and it’s the truth. It’s the wholehearted truth.”

She claims two Olympic Gold medals, a record of most international goals scored in the sport’s history and the 2012 title of FIFA World Player of the Year.

Wambach was presented the captain’s armband by team-mate Carli Lloyd, before both Wambach and Christie Rampone raised the championship trophy- the first Americans to do so since 1999.

Congrats to Abby and the entire U.S. Team!


Swiss World Cup Striker Opens Up About Her Relationship

Swiss striker Ramona Bachmann, who was harrowed by many as one of the breakout stars in the Women’s World Cup in Canada, didn’t disappoint in her World Cup debut.

Her team are now currently riding high after a strong 10-1 victory against Ecuador, with Bachmann scoring three goals in the latter half of the game.

She also wasn’t disappointing off the pitch when she revealed is in a committed relationship with Camille Lara, a 21-year-old student based in Sweden.


A photo posted by Ramona Bachmann (@bachmannr10) on


hahahaha #1 😍❤️


A photo posted by Ramona Bachmann (@bachmannr10) on

In the interview with Sonntagsblick she stated that she is pleased that Camille could accompany her to Canada for the World Cup. The couple have been together for nearly a year; although they both live in different countries, one in Switzerland and one in Sweden (Ramona plays for FC Rosengård since 2012).

Our long distance relationship works very well. It’s harder for me to go back and to Switzerland because of the games, it’s possible that when I several consecutive days rest, which is rare. So she comes to Sweden. “

Camille is a student, with a schedule more manageable, said Ramona.


Fotbollsgalan 2014 @camille_lara ❤️😘


A photo posted by Ramona Bachmann (@bachmannr10) on

The footballer also compares how her marriage is seen as it is in Switzerland or Sweden.

In Sweden, it is quite normal to ask” Do you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend? “In Switzerland, it is accepted, but not as much as in Sweden. When I walk hand in hand with Camille, people turn in Switzerland. This does not happen in Sweden, not here in Canada. “

Unlike in men’s football, there are a number of openly gay and bisexual female footballers at this years world cup.

Biggest Women’s World Cup in History to Kick Off, but Who Will Win?

This Saturday, the largest and longest Women’s World Cup in history kicks off in Edmonton, Canada.

With 24 teams and 52 games, this year’s tournament — which will be played in six cities, from Vancouver in the west, to tiny Moncton in the Maritime Provinces — will be the biggest as well as the most competitive in Women’s World Cup history.

And in another break from tradition, for the first time, the U.S. does not go into the tournament as the No. 1 team in FIFA world rankings.

This year, that honour goes to Germany.

However, it’s a crown the Germans are wearing lightly, because as many as half a dozen other teams can be considered serious contenders.

In addition to Germany and USA; France, Brazil, host Canada, Sweden and defending champion Japan all have a realistic shot at winning the title.

Women's World Cup 02

Then just behind them, are England, Norway and Switzerland, who is playing in their first Women’s World Cup, could surprise.

Former sweeper Doris Fitschen, and now manager of the two-time champion Germans.

International women’s football has developed enormously. The group of favourites used to be small at World Cups. Now eight teams are in the running.

The overall level of performance has improved, and the differences in quality between teams have continuously gotten smaller.”

And that growth has led many federations to increase the amount of money and resources they are devoting to women’s football.

Also read: Finding ‘Out’ footballers at the World Cup maybe a challenge, but not in Women’s Football

Brazil, for example, has established a residency program that allows its players to train year-round, and Germany has 18 full-time employees — more than the U.S. — as well as an excellent youth-development program.

Mia Hamm, who played in four World Cups for the U.S. said

They’ve set up an environment where they’re able to continue even their young players training with their staff coaches. Japan has put an investment on that. And we have too. But we’ve probably done it about four or five years later.”

So whoever wins this summer in Canada will have certainly earned it.


Watch | Out US Soccer Stars, Megan Rapinoe and Abby Wambach Share Their Stories of Success

This year the women’s world cup comes to Canada, and we can’t wait to see the superb female athletes do their thing.

To gear up for the massive event, the U.S. Women’s National Team have created some great videos for fans to learn more about them.

The series is called “One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories.”, and features out US athletes Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe.

Both women discuss their families and the influence they have had on their careers.

Sad, Powerful Ad for Same-Sex Marriage Shows You Wedding Memories That Were Never Made

For most, a wedding day is among the happiest moments in a person’s life, a milestone to look back on for years to come, which makes it all the more strange that people are still denied the right just because they love someone of the same sex.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Canada, as well as 36 states in the U.S., Washington, D.C., and some 15 other countries around the world. But with the U.S. Supreme Court currently hearing arguments on the constitutionality of other states’ bans on the right, the spot certainly makes for a timely reminder of what’s at stake.

Nobody’s Memories is a new ad from FCB for LGBT advocacy group PFLAG Canada, which imagines the joys missed by couples unable to legally marry in years past.

This is our tribute to all those in the past who were never allowed to marry by law – and to everyone who is still denied the right today. Share your love stories, wedding photos and videos on Instagram and Twitter with #lovemadelegal and let’s make gay marriage legal everywhere.”

They’re seen walking down the church steps to applause, piling into the wedding car, sharing a bite of cake at the reception, and the myriad other little images and traditions associated with the big day.

It’s a simple, powerful illustration of why the right to same-sex matters in societies that purport to pride themselves on ideals like freedom, equality and the pursuit of happiness.


Tegan and Sara to Open Women’s World Cup

As if the soccer itself wasn’t enough, now there’s another reason to watch Canada’s opening match of the Women’s World Cup

Grammy Award winning artist Sarah McLachlan and Juno Award winning duo Tegan and Sara have been announced as featured artists for the opening ceremony of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 taking place directly before the opening match featuring Canada against China.

The duo, originally from Calgary, said they are “looking forward to being there in Edmonton, in our home province of Alberta, to take part in such an exciting event.” Watch the video here.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup runs June 6 to July 5 in several Canadian cities.

The pair also featured on the hit show This Just Out with Liz Feldman.


Canada’s First Lesbian Premier, Kathleen Wynne, Speaks Up About Discrimination

In politics, the topic of LGBT rights is a contentious issue as legislators decide whether to appease conservatives and deny those rights or to support LGBT rights in the name of creating a fairer, more equal society. Off the back of that, the topic of LGBT politicians is also a thorny subject as while LGBT people want to be represented in government, others accused LGBT politicians of having an agenda.

It was a pleasant surprise back in 2013 when Kathleen Wynne was sworn in as the Premier of Ontario, Canada. Not only is the she the first female premier of Ontario but she is also the first openly gay head of government in the English-speaking world. At the time, Wynne came under for saying that she’s “not a gay activist” as that’s not how she got into politics, but she explained that it would be a “wonderful, wonderful thing” if she could help gay people “be less frightened”.

Two years on and Wynne has again spoken about her duties as a premier but also as a lesbian. She gave a speech to students at the Agincourt Collegiate Institute, in commemoration of the ‘Day of Pink’, which came about when two teenage boys from Nova Scotia brought pink shirts to wear to school after they saw a classmate being bullied for doing the same.

Wynne told the Agincourt students that:

People come up to me all the time and they say ‘I am so glad you are there because my daughter can see that she can be anything, she can do anything’ (and) there are people who come up to me often and say ‘you have made a difference in my son’s life or my daughter’s life — they’re gay — and they see your presence there as an important signal that our society is changing,’ and that we are a safer and more inclusive place”

She also explained that she feels that it’s her responsibility to “make our society safer and more inclusive” and that the Day of Pink “is a day to stand up against homophobia, it’s a day to stand up against transphobia and all those forms of discrimination”. Wynne also defended the government’s controversial new education curriculum, which plans to teach children about same-sex relationships, gender expression, the dangers of sexting and online bullying, saying that it “is about giving kids the information that they need in order to be able to be safe.”

‘Kids Help Phone’ Provides New Site for Canada’s LGBTQ Youth

Although exploring one’s sexual identity can be an ongoing process, it can be particularly complex for LGBTQ youth, as they realise they may have to cope with stigma, discrimination, and social intolerance.

LGBTQ youth often face many challenges that contribute to putting them at greater risk for violence, abuse, isolation, mental illness, homelessness, and suicide. As a frequent first-point of contact for these young people, Kids Help Phone – a Toronto based charity – is enhancing its support for LGBTQ youth with the launch of new site to provide information, tips and tools to support.

Kids Help Phone known for its expertise in providing vital, innovative counselling services to children and youth in communities across Canada. Since 1989 it has offered children, teens and young adults a critical lifeline of hope and support, through its free, anonymous and confidential service.

Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young people ages five to 20, in urban, rural, and remote communities, by providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources online and by phone, in English and French.

“Questioning and exploring sexual identity can be complex for young people. LGBTQ youth can experience confusion, anger, be scared, feel alone or even isolated and have low self-esteem; it’s crucial that they have a range of resources, some safe space, to help them feel supported and help them find the answers they are looking for. In some communities in Canada, Kids Help Phone is the only professional counselling service available 24/7 to LGBTQ youth. No matter what they are struggling with, we want them to know that Kids Help Phone is there, on the phone and online.”

Alain Johnson, Clinical Director, French Language Services.


Did you know:

  • 16% of Kids Help Phone clients self-identify as LGBQ
  • 4% of Kids Help Phone clients self-identify as transgender
  • LGBTQ youth are approximately three times more likely to attempt suicide than other youth
  • Studies show that 10% of secondary school adolescents reported being unsure of their sexual orientation (Williams et al., 2004)


Watch FÉMININ/FÉMININ – New Lesbian Web Series from Canada

FÉMININ/FÉMININ (or WOMEN’S / WOMEN) the brain child of writer and director, Chloé Robichaud and produced for Lez Spread The Word. It is a new lesbian web series, which is a docu-dramatic / comedy, and delves into the lives of six 20-something friends – lesbian, bisexual, and straight, who “live and love” in Montreal.

The pilot episode of Féminin/Féminin, (which you can watch in full with subtitles), below, has been released on Vimeo as a part of Lez Spread The Word’s fundraising campaign to finance the remainder of the series, which will total eight episodes and begin airing in June