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Justin Trudeau issues apology to the LGBTQ community

In a bold, historic and heartwarming moment, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered an apology to the LGBTQ community after decades of discrimination. Trudeau made the apology in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov 28.

The chambers held a lot of emotion, as even Trudeau wiped away tears at the end of his speech. Trudeau was able to express the regret, shame, and sorrow the Canadian government has taken responsibility for in the discriminatory treatment of LGBTQ Canadians. The rejection and treatment of the LGBTQ community was a state-sponsored and witch-hunting event to purposely exclude people from society based on their sexual orientation.

“You are professionals. You are patriots, and above all, you are innocent. And for all your suffering, you deserve justice and you deserve peace. He said  ” It is our collective shame that you were so mistreated. And it is our collective shame that this apology took so long— many who suffered are no longer alive to hear these words. And for that we are truly sorry.”

Many LGBTQ Canadians faced such discrimination and harsh treatment from others that were not willing to understand nor accept people with non-conforming sexual orientation and desire. Between the 1950’s to the 1990’s thousands of federal workers were fired based on their sexual orientation. This was part of  a “national security’ purge. In the 1960’s alone, there was a database collected by the RCMP of over 9000 suspected gay and lesbian federal workers and suggestions of demotion and denial of promotion.

In June of 2016, members of the advocacy group Egale Canada released a report on the systematic discrimination members of the LGBT community has faced over the years. This prompted them to issue ways in which the treatment and viewpoint of the LGBTQ community can be changed in Canada. One of the recommendations was a formal apology issued by Ottawa. In May of 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that he will issue a formal apology on Nov 28, and as he promised this was delivered to a packed house.

However, there are still some people who thought the apology was not enough to make up for years of hurt and damage caused in many communities. The fact is, this ‘purge’ was a systematic event that lasted longer than necessary and changed many lives.

In 1969 the House of Commons voted to pass a bill that decriminalized homosexuality and in 1967 the bill was first introduced by the acting Justice Minister at that time, and future Prime Minister, the late Pierre Trudeau, who said, “The view we take here is that there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

Now 50 years later, his son has taken the opportunity to offer an apology for government actions that were truly vile, invasive, discriminatory and un-Canadian.

This is yet another historic moment in the LGBTQ community in Canada. Comment below.

Why is there still a stigma around bare breasts?

As the temperatures continue to rise, women may see more and more guys walking around the streets without their shirts on. It’s a normal thing, right? But, what about when women try to walk down those same streets without their shirts on?

People would probably stare or point. Someone may even ask these women to cover up, saying they are indecent in a public place.

Every year it seems like women get in trouble for baring her breasts in public. Whether it’s two sisters asked to cover up while cycling without a top or an eight-year-old girl told to put her shirt back on in a swimming pool, it’s obvious there is still stigma and misunderstanding over a woman’s right to go topless in public.

Over the last week, the media has reported a woman in Cornwall is making a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, claiming a pool policy that makes it mandatory for girls over the age of 10 to wear a top is discriminatory. City councillors now have to decide whether to fight the complaint or change the policy — a conversation that is bound to turn heads in both the press and in the chamber.

It’s a bit silly toplessness is still a problem in 2017, especially considering Ontario essentially made the act legal in 1991 when Guelph University student Gwen Jacobs won her court case. Municipalities have followed suit, adjusting policies where needed to adapt to this change, but it still isn’t common place. Women still get harassed and told to put more clothes on. Public beaches and pools still don’t understand that it is perfectly acceptable for women to go topless while outdoors. And men use this as an opportunity to make sexual remarks or comment on a woman’s figure.

While I was in Mexico, I went to a beach every day and saw women of all shapes and sizes walking around without a bathing suit top on. And you know what? It wasn’t a big deal! And in Europe families walk down the street or relax in the park wearing nothing but underwear! So, why is it that in North America it’s so taboo?

Personally, I think the sexualization of a woman’s breasts has become so engrained in social culture that it has seeped its way into every day activities. Anatomically, women have breasts in order to breastfeed. They were never “meant” to be sexual objects, and yet the number of brassieres and pasties makes it impossible to think of them as anything else. Even for women it becomes stigmatized. I know that for myself, being in public without something covering my breasts would make me uncomfortable. That’s a shame, but a reality of the kind of society we live in.

For those women who do feel comfortable — rock on! Remember that breasts are a part of the human body. They are not sexual objects, despite what people have been taught, and are no different than the nipples men showcase every day of the summer when they wander around downtown without a top.

So next time the heat becomes too much to stand, remember that baring your breasts is legal and totally okay — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Will toplessness ever be considered a norm for both women and men? Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

Media layoffs indicative of dangerous industry

A few weeks ago, the Toronto Star announced 52 new layoffs, including 26 people who were hired specifically for their tablet edition — a project that was supposed to transform the journalism industry for the better.

This announcement is only one in a series of job cuts that happened this year. It seems that every single media conglomerate — Rogers, TorStar, Bell Media, and PostMedia — has come to a point where they can’t afford to pay their writers. The journalism industry has always been precarious, but with the introduction of digital media, it seems to have lost control. No one knows what to do. The Toronto Star, for example, has said that despite the layoffs, it will continue to focus on maintaining a strong web and mobile service, as it is the future of news consumption. But, what does that mean? And how does this affect hard working journalists?

First of all, it increases the workload for journalists — without increasing the pay. For the same salary, reporters are now expected to do everything from layout to online production, in addition to interviewing and writing content. They are photographers, digital experts, and social media gurus. I saw a job posting the other day that asked candidates looking to apply for an entry-level reporting job if they were well-versed in Indesign and HTML, able to act as photographer and writer, and able to edit other reporter’s copy. Essentially, the candidate should be able to run the newspaper on their own.

With less staff, quality suffers. News is reported before facts are accurately checked, headlines are misspelled, and photos aren’t laid out properly. Things can get messy fast when one person is responsible for that much work.

The problem is that journalism is constantly changing, and instead of trying to deal with it patiently and with care, news publications are making industry-changing decisions based on the most current technologies available. People are consuming much more of their news on their mobile devices or their work computers than their tablets. Podcasts are becoming more popular and information packaging is now just as important as the content itself. But, what will be “in” 10 years from now and how will that affect how the news is consumed?

The solution isn’t simple. In fact, I can’t even begin to imagine what it is. Revenue is plummeting and the news organizations can’t keep up. Publications need to invest in online advertising and sponsorships — all of the things journalists despise — at least for now. As a journalist myself, I personally feel as if good journalism has to be publicly funded (and not just the CBC). By depending on private corporations, whose ultimate goal will always be to create revenue, news organizations will suffer. They will be forever in debt to declining ad spaces and subscription rates. If the public was willing to contribute and help subsidize part of the cost for informed news, then the goal of profit-making is replaced with that of simple story telling. Isn’t that what we want?

I realize that these solutions aren’t permanent, and that it places the onus on non-agencies to fund a whole profession. But at some point, society is going to have to make a choice. Should publications continue to cut staff and hope that the quality of information and news doesn’t decrease, or should we invest in our journalists? These corporations can spend money on good writers, editors, and producers — or they can spend money on new technology that will probably be out of date in a few years.

Which would you rather have?

Top exhibitions to check out at CONTACT photography festival

Do you love photography? Look no further! Women’s Post has found the best venues in the city for the annual CONTACT Photography festival.

CONTACT Photography Festival runs from May 1 to 31 and is the largest photography festival in the world. CONTACT is celebrating its 20th year with 20 primary exhibitions and 20 public installations. Most of the primary exhibitions are free except for the one at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the McMichael Museum, which are providing discounted tickets to exhibitions on certain days. Public installations feature photographic images on walls, billboards and subway platforms for the people of Toronto to enjoy. The festival explores a variety of topics through the lens of photography and is well worth checking out.

Here are some of the best spots for the festival, enjoy yourself and let us know what you think!