Is Canada Getting a Gay Loonie?
There are many instances where our money has been used to commemorate or recognize a significant historical event in Canada.
We have seen the recent recognition of the 75th anniversary of D-Day in World War II, as well as a new $10 bill with the face of Viola Desmond, a prominent advocate for racial equality.
Going along with that trend, there is another change to currency coming.
According to what is known as an Order in Council approved by the federal cabinet in December, there is a new design for the loonie ($1 dollar coin) on the way to recognize an important period in Canada’s history: the legalization of homosexuality in Canada.
Here’s the proposed description of the loonie based on the OIC:
“The reverse impression is to depict a stylized rendering of two overlapping human faces within a large circle, the left half of the left face in front view and the right face in profile facing left, the two faces forming one whole face in front view composed of two eyes with eyebrows, a nose, a mouth and two ears with a small hoop earring on the left ear, seven wavy lines and six semi-circular lines emanating from the left and right side of the whole face, respectively, the inscriptions, inset between two semi-circular lines.
“Equality” to the lower left of the whole face and “EGALITE” covering the bottom right and neck of that face, above the left eye of the whole face, a security mark consisting of a maple leaf within a maple leaf, within a double circle, and on the outside of the large circle the inscriptions “Canada”, “2019”, “Dollar” and “1969” to the top, right, bottom and left of the coin, respectively and the artist's initials “JA”, between the inscriptions “2019” and “DOLLAR.”
This year will mark the 50th anniversary when that legalization took place in 1969, brought in by then Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau, the current Prime Minister’s father.
The creation of the loonie makes sense, as Canada has been encouragingly progressive when it comes to LGBTQ rights.
Canada legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, following in the footsteps of the Netherlands (2001) and Belgium (2003). It’s also currently known as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly countries in the world, famous for a number of gay-friendly communities, including Toronto’s Church and Wellesley neighbourhood, Montreal’s Gay Village commercial district, Vancouver’s Davie Village and Ottawa’s Bank Street Gay Village.
Toronto Pride is one of the largest annual Pride celebrations in the world, tyically attracting over 1 million people.
However, not everyone is happy. An online petition opposing to the loonie commemoration has so far garnered over 28,000 signatures out of the goal of 50,000. The petition argues that just because something is legal doesn’t make it moral.
“Most Canadians are not homosexual and find the idea of homosexual sex to be unappealing or even repulsive. They respect people’s choices, but they would never choose homosexuality for themselves. So why should this divergent and unpopular sexual practice be highlighted on our circulation coinage?”
While the allusion to sex is strange (the loonie is commemorating the rights of individuals, not any particular sex acts), it does look like most of Canada is supportive of LGBTQ rights and relationships.
A 2013 Pew Research study found that 80 per cent of Canada’s general population (87 per cent among Canadians aged between 18 and 29) favoured social acceptance of homosexuality.
What do you think of the idea of the loonie recognizing LGBTQ people in Canada?
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