After The Apology - A Step Towards Systemic Change

Open Letter to LGBTQ2S Communities in Canada

Dear community members,

As many of you may know, today Prime Minister Trudeau is announcing an apology to members of the LGBTQ2S community who were forced out of the military or public service, or were prosecuted criminally because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The apology is addressed to “individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies, and practices that led to the oppression of and discrimination against LGBTQ2S people in Canada,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

This public apology is an important moment in our queer/trans history as it recognizes systemic injustice that impacted LGBTQ2S community members in public service and beyond. 

Systemic discrimination against members of the queer and trans communities continues to exist today – in many forms, and in many environments. So it is important to remember today that apologies are meaningful only when they lead to lasting and meaningful systemic change.  

As public servants ourselves, The 519 remembers today those who faced discrimination during this time and we reinforce our commitment to continue our work for collective human rights and systemic change. We recognize that the work we do as an organization is even more important moving forward and that we must continue to advance and advocate for all members of our LGBTQ2S communities especially those who remain most severely impacted by racism, transphobia, violence, poverty and other forms of systemic discrimination. 

The 519 stands with and by our LGBTQ2S communities, on this day and always – with those who faced persecution in the past, and those who continue to face it in various forms. We will continue to advocate on the current realities of queer and trans folks and work together to mobilize, organize and respond. We will continue to focus on developing lasting solutions that will address systemic barriers and discrimination, and advance inclusion and full participation of LGBTQ2S communities across Canada. We will also continue to foster strong partnerships in the public sector and beyond to expand our work and amplify its impact. 

This historic day coincides with Giving Tuesday –  a global movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year. It signifies a time when charities, community groups, organizations of all kinds, and individuals join together and rally for the causes they feel passionate about. This Giving Tuesday, let us come together for systemic change in support of LGBTQ2S communities in Canada and beyond. 

On this Giving Tuesday, we would also like to give thanks to all our community members, partners, supporters, donors, volunteers, neighbours and staff who help us carry this important work forward. 


Maura Lawless
Executive Director
The 519

Up Next:

TDoR - Of Remembrance and Resilience

November 28th 2017
LGBTQ2S, inclusion, systemic change, communities, statement, Giving Tuesday